Anything but Textbook
Speeches (aren't nearly as interesting as their audience)
Her classic style wasn't Rarity's personal preference, but she had to admit that Celestia had good taste. Her white dress with gold accents perfectly complemented her tanned skin, and she obviously kept herself in shape. She wasn't sure of the university president's age (and to ask would be beyond impolite) but she'd heard whispers that, while Celestia didn't look a day over forty, she was really fifty, maybe even fifty-two.
Looking fabulous anyway, regardless of age.
Whoever had been doing Celestia's introduction finally stopped talking. (“and now allow me to present President Celestia Diarch!”) Rarity hadn't paid much attention. People who were on stage for the sole purpose of introducing someone more important than themselves weren't really the kind of people she was interested in.
Then Celestia stood up so Rarity could finally attain a proper perspective on her outfit. The dress hung even better while she was standing, and she could now clearly see there were some nice turquoise accents that worked perfectly with the gold.
“I would like to welcome you all to Opening Convocation,” Celestia began. Rarity tuned out the introduction about the history of the university, focusing on a far more interesting question than how the school's Latin motto applied to the modern student..
There was something familiar about the way Celestia carried herself and her patterns of speech. Rarity wasn't entirely certain what was setting off bells. Her eyes wandered through the crowd. The chapel was fairly crowded for Opening Convocation, but several people caught her eye as she glanced around.
A pale woman down the row from Rarity was wearing an absolutely gorgeous midnight blue dress. The DJ with the blue hair from next door had her feet propped on the pew in front of her to Rarity's left. One row forward and a bit to her right, she could see her RAs, Pinkie and Twilight, sitting together. Twilight was hunched over somewhat and seemed to be writing and— that was the connection!
Rarity had heard gossip that her RA had actually been (and possibly still was!) President Celestia's personal protégée. She hadn't been certain whether or not to believe it, but, now that she'd made the connection, it made sense. Rarity could tell from the way Celestia held herself on stage and spoke to the audience that she was who Twilight had been attempting to imitate during her (excessively) thorough lecture on the finer points of abiding by the student handbook during that meeting.
“This university is not just a place for a liberal arts education, but an education for life. That is what our motto is about, and that education for life is what I'm speaking of today. This may sound radical, coming from the university's president, but the most important part about college is not the accumulation of credits and class attendance.”
Quiet murmurs broke out across the chapel. A surprised (and... vaguely offended?) gasp sounded out from in front of Rarity and a little to her right. She glanced left to gauge Fleur and Sapphire's reactions.
Her friends both seemed mostly bored, through Sapphire was at least looking at the president while Fleur was filing her nails.
"The most important thing about college is learning interdependence and synergy. For all your lives, my young students, you have been on a journey from dependence to independence.”
Fleur glanced back at Rarity with a long-suffering expression of complete disinterest. Rarity matched it with an eye roll and half-shrug, returning her attentions to the speech once Fleur resumed her nail care.
“This transition is important, and you all will continue to develop your independence, encouraged by all the professors, and myself, here at—”
“Euh, are you actually listening to zis nonsense, Rarity?”
Rarity nearly jumped when Fleur whispered to her. The speech was actually somewhat interesting, but she didn't want to seem particularly invested since Fleur obviously didn't care for it.
“A-ah, no,” she whispered back, resisting the urge to nervously twirl a lock of her hair, “I'm simply curious as to the, ah, mode of interaction the president seems to favor with the campus community?”
The excuse sounded flimsy even to Rarity's own ears, but Fleur just shrugged.
“If zat is what you want, I suppose,” she said before returning to her nails.
Rarity made sure to adopt a suitably bored expression before she returned her attention to the speech.
"—next stage of your lives is the growth from mere independence to interdependence, learning that, while you are a strong individual on your own, you are stronger when you work together. In essence, the most important lesson you will learn here at college is friendship.”
Celestia paused, for effect, and Rarity had to commend her on her timing. The entire audience, minus those who hadn't been paying attention to begin with, was leaning forward slightly. A twitch caught her attention at the corner of her eye, and Rarity glanced over to see Twilight Sparkle sitting with the most dumbfounded expression.
“You see, my students, here at—” Rarity noticed Twilight lurch forward once more to resume writing (taking notes or a transcription? She was writing so fast) “you will come into your own as intellectually independent women. As children, you were dependent on others for your thoughts and opinions. As young adults now, you are growing, and will continue to grow, independent. It is my most fervent hope —and that of our esteemed faculty— that you will take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, both in and out of class, to develop into intellectually interdependent women.”
Rarity could definitely see merit in the president's viewpoint, now that she'd reached the obvious crux of her speech. One could accomplish so much more with the proper companions- something she'd been sorely lacking for so many years.
“College is also about realms beyond the classroom and academic pursuits. You will find, as you seek interdependence in one arena of your lives, that the principle applies in many others.”
Now that Celestia had stated her “twist,” as it were, some of the audience had lost interest, while the rest seemed more intrigued than before. Rarity glanced over and noted that Twilight was (still) taking notes (or writing a novel or writing every word Celestia said three times or something). Next to her, Pinkie was spinning a pen in her fingers, but seemed to be paying attention. A quick glance to Rarity's left confirmed that Fleur and Sapphire were in the same mode as she'd last noted them.
“In your personal lives, you may find yourself desiring a level of friendship you were unable to comprehend before. This is completely natural.”
The feuding musicians from the hall were (intentionally?) sitting on opposite ends of the chapel. Rarity couldnt' ascertain whether or not they were paying attention from where she was sitting. Vinyl still had her feet propped up, and Octavia had perfect posture Rarity envied... but they seemed about the same as they usually were, whenever she happened to see them.
“You will encounter obstacles that, dependent, you would expect someone else to take care of. Independent, you would face them alone. Interdependent, you will face the obstacles that life will present you with determination and friendship.”
Rarity's eyes passed over Applejack and she frowned. So far, everything she'd planned about college had gone splendidly. Everything except her roommate. She had no appreciation for the finer details and had no interest whatsoever in learning to do so.
Their very first afternoon as roommates had confirmed that.
“An' just what is the purpose of that there miniature ficus?”
Rarity paused examining the window sill and glanced over at her roommate. The blonde girl was sorting through some pictures in rustic wooden frames. She hadn't expected the cowgirl to recognize what kind of tree she had, but it was a pleasant sort of surprise. Maybe they had more in common than she'd thought.
“This is my bonsai ficus,” she said, turning so Applejack could see the small tree better. “And he doesn't necessarily serve a purpose, darling.” Rarity turned back to reevaluate the best angle for her ficus to sit by the south-facing window. “The art of bonsai is aesthetic, for the pleasure of the viewer, and an exercise in ingenuity for the grower.” Her eyes wandered over the other side of the room. Her roommate was almost entirely moved in, a mere two hours after they'd started settling their things.
Maybe she'd be surprised. Maybe the tan girl with the plaid shirt tied around her waist wouldn't be exactly what Rarity had hoped she wouldn't end up with.
"So...” Applejack trailed off a moment, looking skeptical, “You brought that 'lil tree along to look pretty? It ain't gonna serve no real purpose, like a tree ought?”
Rarity sighed and turned around. Applejack looked skeptical, and was nearly done hanging her simple picture frames. “Not just to 'look pretty,' Applejack,” she replied, “though that, in it of itself, is a noble purpose. Cultivating bonsai is a hobby of mine.” She avoided looking at the frames again. At least their rustic... charm matched the rest of her belongings. Look for positives.
"Why d'you keep movin' it 'round like that? Jus' set it by the window and be done with it, woman,” Applejack said. She wasn't even checking the spacing between the picture frames before putting them up on the wall. Dreadful.
Rarity sniffed. “It requires attention to detail to keep a bonsai tree healthy and happy. A bonsai ficus happens to be very light-sensitive, so perfect placement is important. I will probably want to move him once a day.” She moved the pot again, examining how the afternoon sun struck the leaves. “Fern here means so much more to me than mere decoration. He was my very first bonsai tree, and I've been taking care of him for years.”
"Fern? I'm not much familiar with tropical trees, but that there decorative weed yer growin' is a ficus. You jus' said so.”
Rarity blushed. Thank goodness she was facing the window and not her roommate. “He's a ficus named Fern.”
"Say what now?"
She moved the pot over an inch and pretended to very closely examine a leaf. “I was young when I started bonsai and named Fern,” she defended, feeling the blush in her cheeks burn hotter.
She could practically hear Applejack shrug. “Do whatever you want with yer ficus bonsai fern whatever.” Rarity turned around just in time to see Applejack hang her last picture frame. “Jus' don't bother me with yer detail-y nitpickin'.”
Rarity bit back pointing out that several of her picture frames were crooked. Applejack obviously wouldn't appreciate the help, and she was almost done deciding the best afternoon positioning for Fern.
“... and throughout your journey here, always make certain that the friends you make are the right friends for you.” The president was wrapping her speech up. “The choices you make in regards to your company will have further reaching impacts than you could possibly imagine.”
Rarity looked away from the blonde girl in her cowboy hat and glanced at Fleur and Sapphire out of the corner of her eye. They both seemed slightly less bored now that the speech was obviously almost over.
“Some people say that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.”
Fleur noticed Rarity looking at her and rolled her eyes with a smirk. Rarity mimicked the gesture.
“I wouldn't necessarily say that statement is correct, but it contains an important grain of truth. Those closest to you can raise you up or tear you down. Interdependence hinges not only on your own openness to the possibility, but also in finding the right friends.”
Rarity nodded. That was a fact of life she knew well. It wasn't about what you knew, it was about who you knew. The fashion industry was just like that, and she hadn't expected college to be any different.
“Step out of your comfort zone. Make friends, good friends. Look for them in places you might not have considered before, and never forget that friendship is magic.”
Rarity applauded along with the crowd as Celestia inclined her head gracefully and took a seat. Fleur and Sapphire were clapping along and seemed pleased that Opening Convocation was over. The same man who'd introduced the president said a few brief words to conclude (something about the president's eternal wisdom), but Celestia had been the last proper speaker, and, as the crowd started to stand up to leave, Fleur leaned over.
“Come now, Rarity,” she said, beckoning with a hand, “we must be certain to get to our usual table together at dinner, no?”
Rarity answered some hopefully graceful affirmative as they exited, glancing around the chapel one last time. Twilight's brow was furrowed as she re-read what she'd written earlier, not moving from her seat. Octavia was examining the organ in the corner. Rainbow Dash was sauntering towards Twilight with an odd smile, and Applejack was making her way out of the chapel, hands stuffed in her pockets as she chatted with Pinkie.
She hurried after Sapphire and Fleur. After escaping her small town prison, Rarity wasn't about to let another close-minded redneck cut her off from the social life and friends she'd waited her whole life for. Classes started tomorrow, and she was ready for anything her new life might throw at her.
Anything but this. He had no fashion sense. In fact, his fashion sense was so terrible as to be better defined by his dearth thereof.
The class murmured as he walked through the doorway to the studio, and Rarity felt her hands fly to her mouth in horror. He was so ill dressed and intentionally (such a look had to be intentional, nobody was that blind) mismatched that she couldn't constrain a gasp. Never in her entire life had she ever seen such an atrocity against fashion.
His wooden leg, painted with green scales, clunked on the floor as he strode confidently to the head of the table.
“Welcome to Drawing I,” he said, with an odd, mad smile, “I am Professor Draconequus, but if you ever call me 'Professor' anything, I'll probably fail you. Call me Discord.”
Around Rarity, several of her classmates were smiling and nodding, obviously forming a favorable impression of the professor's informality. Then again, most of them looked like the usual artist types, with odd hair styles and piercings in excess. The man in a brown faux fur vest over a gray and yellow plaid shirt probably seemed like just the professor they were looking for.
“If you weren't able to register for Art 100 and are here to see if there are open slots, just see me after class and I'll sign the paper thing.” Discord shrugged as several girls sat up a little and smiled. “A few extra students here to learn to express their inner chaos is fine with me.”
This was not the drawing class Rarity had wanted.
The professor... Oh goodness. She felt herself growing lightheaded as he went over the syllabus (of which he had only two copies, scribbled out in crayon) as the full impact of his outfit struck her. She'd thought the hicks from her hometown were bad, but they had nothing on Discord, whose purple artists' smock (purple with turquoise polka dots!) was stained with years' worth various inks and dried clay.
The thought that it had never been cleaned, ever, crossed her mind and she bit down nausea.
“I think that just about wraps up the syllabus,” he said, stroking his (uneven) goatee absently, “Now it's time to go through supplies!” He clapped his hands excitedly as he jumped up and down, his wooden leg clunking on the floor as he did. “This is great, kids! You all get new art supplies. If your parents are paying for your studio fee, it's like Christmas come early!”
Rarity perked up at that. It had been difficult to acquire decent art supplies back home, and her parents had never really understood her bent for drawing (or fashion, or anything really). New supplies would be wonderful!
The professor —Discord, she reminded herself— retrieved several armfuls of supplies from a nearby closet and dumped them on the table. Somehow, the supplies seemed to get divided up evenly. During that time, Rarity noticed that there were sloppily sewn denim patches on Discord's plaid shirt and had to look away, embarrassed on his behalf because somebody had to be.
Eventually, they were done distributing supplies, and Rarity found herself with two new pads of paper (large and small), some vine charcoal, a set of pencils, a kneaded eraser, and several other items.
“Everyone have their presents?” Discord asked. A few murmurs of assent and some nods were the class' reply. Discord jumped up and clapped again, and Rarity winced as she caught a glimpse of his red corduroy shorts. “Wonderful!” he declared upon landing. “Now we can draw! Ladies! To the easels! Bring charcoal, an eraser, your inner artist, and your large sketchpad!”
Insane or not, she would learn all she could from Discord while looking at him as little as possible.
The de Lancie Center for Creative Arts wasn't far from the cafeteria, so Rarity found herself at lunch earlier than most students, with plenty of time to touch up her makeup before Fleur and Sapphire arrived. She got some food and made her way towards the table the three of them had taken to eating at over the past few days.
Finally, people she actually wanted to sit with who weren't embarrassing or badly dressed or simply poor company.
She noticed her roommate grab a seat by the window and looked away. They'd taken to just avoiding each other as of late. Honestly, it seemed to be for the best. The cowgirl obviously didn't appreciate her company, and Rarity was not one to throw pearls before swine, as the saying went.
No matter. She glanced towards the entrance, trying to see if she could spot Fleur and Sapphire. Not that she was worried they would find somebody else to sit with or anything, of course.
Her heart nearly stopped when her gaze met Pinkie's and the older girl grinned before bouncing over, pink curls springing around her head in an strange halo.
“Hi there, Rarity!”
She quickly glanced around. Nobody seemed to be looking, and Rarity had gathered that Pinkie was well-liked (in an odd sort of way) on campus, but that didn't mean Rarity wanted people to associate her with the over-eager RA. Especially when she was dressed in what looked like neon fuschia eighties workout clothes. Leggings and leg warmers were never meant to leave that decade.
Was nobody but her capable of dressing well for the first day of class?
“Ah, hello there, Pinkie,” she said, once the girl had made her way close enough that Rarity wouldn't have to raise her voice.
“How's your first day of classes going?”
Rarity kept her eyes trained on Pinkie's face. “It's been... interesting. At the very least.” If she kept her eyes below the headband and above the off-the-shoulder top, she wouldn't have to see them. “I had drawing with Prof— I mean, um, Discord, this morning.”
Pinkie jumped and clapped her hands. “Discord? I love that guy!”
Rarity couldn't find it within herself to act surprised. “I... I should have known,” she responded, awkwardly.
“I won't be taking any more art classes with him though, don't have much time between my other classes. I could probably fit some if I dropped my dance minor, but I just love it too much. I actually had dance this morning, it was great!”
Pinkie finally stopped to take a breath, and Rarity quickly interjected. “That sounds lovely, but, um, I'm certain you're busy and have lots of other people to see.” To Pinkie's right, she could see Fleur and Sapphire walking over. “And, um, I'm sure that Applejack would love your company. She's sitting over there.” She gestured towards the window where her roommate was sitting.
“Okie dokie lokie!” Pinkie piped, skipping off just before Fleur and Sapphire arrived.
Rarity allowed herself half a sigh of relief before her friends sat down.
“Hello Fleur, hello Sapphire. How are you both doing?” She forced her voice as casual as possible. Maybe they'd just forget Pinkie had been talking with her.
Sapphire smiled widely. “I am loving my musical genres class!” A dramatic hand gesture accompanied her declaration, which (like everything she said) had a musical lilt to it. “That DJ from down the hall is in it too, along with the uptight cello girl. They started going at it, and it was actually relevant to the discussion, so the professor didn't stop them. This semester is gonna be great!”
Fleur gave a noncommittal shrug. “I am fine, I suppose. I did not particularly enjoy my first class. I wish I had tested out of mathematics. Yourself?”
Rarity smiled awkwardly. “I'm quite fine, darling.” Was she supposed to say she suspected her art professor was high? “My first class was drawing, and it went well. It was... um, interesting.” Her pitch jumped a bit at the end, and she hoped it wasn't noticeable.
No such luck. Sapphire raised an eyebrow in a perfect image of skepticism. “Girl, that didn’t sound fine.”
Fleur snorted, but managed to make even that seem graceful and French. “You do not seem particularly thrilled with your class. I thought you were looking forward to ze art.”
Rarity sighed. Was she really that obvious? “Oh, the class was fine. It's just... the professor!” She threw a hand up in exasperation. “He was so badly dressed... Simply having to look at him sometimes was The Worst Possible Thing! His entire ensemble was a war crime against fabulosity.”
Her friends were silent a moment, eyes wide. Then, as one, they started their sympathetic remarks.
“Oh, baby, that's just terrible—”
“I cannot stand zat sort of zing either—”
“No, no, just stop,” Rarity interjected. “I don't want to dwell on it anymore.” She shuddered. “Just remembering his appearance makes me feel ill, and I would like to be able to eat my lunch.” She took a delicate bite of her salad. Please let it be delicate.
Sapphire patted her shoulder. Fleur shrugged again. It seemed to be her default response to most things.
“Even if he's a little crazy, I'm sure it'll get better,” Sapphire offered.
“Speaking of ze crazies, what did zat Pinkie girl want?” Fleur looked uninterested as she picked at her lunch, but Rarity thought she caught an undercurrent of genuine curiosity in her question.
So she made extra certain to be dismissive as she answered. “Oh, just dropping by to ask about my first day. Probably just doing her RA stuff.”
“Awww, she was probably just asking 'cause she wanted to know how you were doin’, Rarity,” Sapphire said, “I think she's actually pretty sweet, even if she is a little weird sometimes. She gave fresh baked cupcakes to our entire half of the hall the other morning.”
“I would prefer to be left alone in ze mornings, personally,” Fleur said, “I'm happy to be living on Twilight's ‘alf of ze hall. She hasn't been ze least bit bothersome.”
Rarity nodded. She had to confess herself pleased that the bookish RA had kept to herself. She seemed nice enough, but was obviously not the kind of friend Rarity was looking for.
“My roommate, on ze other hand...” Fleur's lips curled in distaste, and her eyes flickered towards the blonde girl sitting across the cafeteria. “Is a complete idiot. She is always rambling about muffins whenever she isn't pushing on doors zat say 'pull.'”
Sapphire laughed, and Rarity followed along with her.
“Maybe she should hang with my roomie,” the dark-skinned girl said. “She likes to make candy and bake stuff in the kitchen. She gets along with Pinkie great.”
“Zat would get her out of my hair,” Fleur contemplated. Then she snapped a finger and grinned. “I have a story to tell! Ze other day, I arrived at ze room a little early, and one of Derpy's shoes was on my side of our room. So I kicked it back to her side, and it went under her bed.
“I thought nothing of it, and she arrived several minutes later. Zen she said she was going to go jogging and started getting ready to go. She put on one of her shoes, but couldn't find ze other. I realized it was ze pair of ze shoe I had kicked under her bed.”
Rarity kept her smile fixed, though she had a bad feeling about where the story was going. She let her eyes drift and tried to focus on something else. Twilight was reading alone at a corner table by a window. Maybe her friends were still in class and would take lunch later.
“She finally asked, 'Hey, Fleur, have you seen my left shoe?'”
Pinkie was sitting with Applejack and that Rainbow Dash girl. They seemed to be laughing uproariously at whatever Pinkie was saying with sweeping hand gestures.
“I glanced at her feet. She was actually missing her right shoe, not her left one, so I replied, 'Your left shoe is on your foot, Derpy.’ She didn't even look down! She looked confused for a moment, zen thanked me with zis stupid smile and walked right out ze door to go jogging. She didn't even notice that she was still missing a shoe.”
This was obviously the punchline of the joke, and Rarity laughed appropriately with Fleur and Sapphire.
When she'd finished laughing, Fleur rolled her eyes and flicked pink hair out of her face. “She returned a few minutes later, embarrassed. She was able to see her shoe under her bed from ze doorway, and she didn’t say anything as she put it on and left.”
They all laughed again, and as Sapphire started into a funny story about Bonbon, her roommate, Rarity let her attention wander a bit.
Twilight was still eating alone, book propped against the napkin holder. Her food was gone, but she was still reading. Waiting for her friends, maybe? Or perhaps just passing time before her next class. Maybe her friends’ class schedules prevented them from eating with her today.
Maybe she didn’t have any friends. Maybe Derpy had been hurt by Fleur’s prank. Maybe it was wrong to laugh.
No time for those thoughts. The social climate had to be evaluated! Rarity returned her attention to the room and did her best to determine who were the kind of girls she would want to know here. Getting anywhere in life was always about who, not what, one knew. She was going to get that right this time, now that there were people worth knowing, she was going to be popular, she was going—
Sapphire’s voice called her back. She felt a faint blush crawl up her cheeks. She hadn’t meant to completely lose focus.
“Ah, yes, Sapphire? What was that, darling?”
“You were off in your own world there, girl, don’t leave us like that” Sapphire admonished with a smile. Her blue curls bounced as she shook her head.
“We were simply wondering if you had any stories about your uncultured, cowgirl roommate,” Fleur said.
“Oh,” she said, “but of course. Applejack’s company has been... challenging, to say the least.” Her eyes darted over to the windows. Applejack looked happy sitting with Pinkie. Rainbow seemed to have wandered off somewhere.
“She lacks any concern for the finer things in life. The details are always the most important thing. It’s so frustrating when she disregards small things that are important to me, like the placement of Fer— my bonsai tree, or that she not leave her clothes on the floor. She couldn’t pay attention to anything smaller than an apple tree if her life depended on it.”
Rarity sniffed indignantly, but neither Fleur nor Sapphire seemed sympathetic.
“Zat is all, Rarity? I don’t think zat was even a story. Simply ignore her, zen.” Fleur shrugged. “Hasn’t she done something stupid or funny?”
She wasn’t stupid, just frustrating and different.
“Well, um, not exactly...”
She could see their attention waning. Memory suddenly struck.
“Wait! I remember now! She made the most amusing faux pas when Pinkie dropped by the other night to say hello or something. I asked Pinkie when was best to go off-campus, and she was explaining the shuttles when Applejack asked if there were rides to the local market.”
Rarity laughed lightly, and Fleur and Sapphire (thankfully) joined in.
“Pinkie asked what she was talking about and said no. Then Applejack looked so sad about the lack of a market that Pinkie ran off to get her a ‘Comfort Cupcake.’”
They all shook their heads and smiled. Pinkie wasn’t unlikable so much as eccentric. Amusing to talk about, and even to speak with sometimes(but not too often!), but nobody with whom any of them wanted to associate.
Rarity sighed in relief. She’d told a story, it hadn’t been too bad, and she could relax a little bit more. Acceptance with the right people would be worth its weight in gold if it were tangible, and the social finesse the game required stressed her sometimes.
“It sounds like she doesn’t know how things work outside of her little farm,” Fleur sneered, “Zey must not have grocery stores where she comes from.”
“Oh, I’m sure they do,” Rarity said absently, “but most farmers like to go to a local co-op or farmer’s market for produce to help support each other and make business connections.”
“How do you know that?” Sapphire asked, curious. She and Fleur looked surprised. The latter looked disdainful of anything that wasn’t urban.
How could she have made such a stupid slip. Girls pretending they were from cosmopolitan cities did not randomly know those sorts of things.
She’d grown up at approximately the same level of rural nowhere that Applejack had?
“Well, you see...”
They would just have to stop being her friend once she revealed her redneck origins.
“It was Applejack!”
Or she could metaphorically throw her roommate under the bus and deal with the guilt later.
“After the market thing, she started rambling about ‘how things were back in the country’ and how homesick she was. I, ah, felt so bad for her, I couldn’t help but just sit and listen to all of it.”
Rarity did her best to impersonate a sad smile. Maybe they would buy it. She’d done drama club in high school. Maybe it would pay off.
“Aww, that was sweet of you, Rarity,” Sapphire said with a genuine smile.
Fleur’s smile was a small twitch of her lips. “It really was. I would have ignored her, personally. I am an ocean from France and I am not homesick for her. She hasn’t even left zis country, and yet she cries for her home.”
“I’m sure she’s fine now,” Rarity said, hoping they never brought this up again, especially in front of Applejack herself. “Anyway, um, have you two thought about joining any clubs?” The sooner this topic changed, the better.
“I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for clubs with choir practice,” said Sapphire, “but I’ve thought about getting involved with theater or something. How about you, Fleur?”
“I have already spoken with some members of ze French club here.” she answered, “It would be nice to spend time with ladies who appreciate my native tongue, and zey are very excited to be graced with the presence of a native Parisian.”
Rarity nodded. “Oh, certainly. I’ve thought about joining the French club myself, but I’m not sure if I’ll even have time to continue French with all the classes I want to take. Other than that, I’ve thought about maybe joining the community service club. I think that Fluttershy girl next door is joining too.”
Fleur looked skeptical. “You don’t have time for French, but you have time to get dirty and serve with ze poor people?”
Rarity frowned. “Community service is something I’ve always been involved in. I try to avoid the tasks that require getting dirty, but I’ve always enjoyed helping out. I believe it is the calling of a true lady to be of a kind and generous character.”
The French girl shrugged. “I suppose. If zat is what you want to do, I do not particularly care. Zat sort of zing always seemed silly and petty to me.”
“To each their own, I suppose,” Rarity said. Her voice felt far away.
The train of conversation moved on, but Rarity felt like she never boarded. When most of the lunch room started to empty to make it to the next class block, she left with the throng and went back to her empty room.
She adjusted Fern’s placement on the windowsill to catch the afternoon sun. When Fleur and Sapphire had come over to admire her tree the other day, she hadn’t told them his name, and that bothered her for some reason now that she couldn’t explain.
The room was quiet, and her bedsprings creaked slightly when she lay down. She’d looked forward to this post-lunch alone time. Fleur, Sapphire, and Applejack all had class. Barring a surprise visit, nobody was going to come by and bother her.
Rarity glanced at her sewing machine. Even with this uninterrupted block of time, she didn’t feel like working. Maybe she was sick. It was good she had this time off to lie down.
The warm colors from the other side of the room drew her eye. Who decorated with that much orange, red, and yellow? Maybe Discord, except that he’d probably add cyan to the mix.
The picture frames begged for examination now, though she’d avoided looking at them since her roommate first hung them up. Despite their rustic appearance (and uneven spacing), each one was sturdy and well made. Every frame, barring one or two that featured nothing but apple trees, held photographs of happy people with smiling faces. Lots of family and friends. Or maybe just more family. It was hard to tell.
Rarity rolled over so she wouldn’t have to look at them.
She was making a mistake. She didn’t know what the mistake was, or how to fix it, but the discomfort lingered. The feeling churned under her fingernails and in her chest.
Her French book was on the bookshelf; she’d brought it on a whim. She could get out of bed and take it down to review. Even if she didn’t have time for French class, she could at least maintain her current level and go to French club with Fleur... But if she sat at her desk, she would be facing the picture frames on the other side of the room, and they bothered her for some reason. Maybe because she hadn’t brought any.