>Yo it’s Vinyl, how are we gonna do this?
Octavia sighed and reluctantly added the number to her contacts, having forgotten to do so the day before.
>Pistols at dawn?
The cellist smirked at her own joke.
>Name a bar and a time, smartass.
Rolling her eyes, she replied quickly.
>Blues’ Tavern, 7 PM
And so, as the Manehattan bell rang for the seventh time, Octavia found herself sitting in a corner booth watching the unicorn she despised approach wearing an equally disgusted expression behind dark purple shades.
The sounds of a lively bar wafted around them, but the two mares were cold to the happiness of others. Both were expecting nothing more than a few hours of tiring arguments that gradually grew less intelligible as the drinks piled up.
But of course, nothing turns out the way we expect.
“So,” said Vinyl as she sat on the opposite side of the booth, putting the table between them. The situation was more than a bit awkward so she defaulted to her typical conversation starter. “What’s up?”
“Absolutely nothing of concern to you,” was the short reply.
Rolling her eyes behind her glasses, the DJ floated an untouched drink over from a table with a stallion passed out on it. “Drink this. Maybe it will help you pull that stick out your flank.”
Octavia shook her head and didn’t touch it. “I have yet to reach the legal drinking age.”
“You’re joking, right? How did you get in here?”
“They didn’t ask, I didn’t tell. Besides,” she folded her hooves, “You can’t be much older than me. We both came to university straight from high school, yes?”
“Actually… I kinda dropped out a year early.” Vinyl seemed oddly reluctant to reveal that information.
“That makes sense,” smirked the cellist.
“Hey! I didn’t insult you when you refused a drink because you’re underage, which is incredibly lame by the way, so why don’t you try to be less of a snob in return?”
“Very well,” she conceded. “How did you get into university if you didn’t complete the last year of high school then?”
“I spent all of last year doing this scholarship program thingy. I don’t regret dropping out, but I knew I had to do something else or I would just become one of those ponies who waste their lives living off welfare.”
Octavia raised an eyebrow. “Why drop out in the first place if you knew it could jeopardise your future?”
Shifting uncomfortably, Vinyl looked away. “It was just… stuff, okay? Let’s talk about something else.”
“So when’s your birthday?”
“In a couple of weeks.”
An awkward silence arose like a brick wall between them. DJ’s were made to smash awkward silences.
“This is such a stupid homework assignment,” muttered Vinyl. To her surprise, Octavia giggled in agreement. “Hey, I didn’t know you could laugh!”
“Oh, how funny. I’m not as boring as you seem to think.”
“Oh yeah?” Vinyl grinned, “Prove it. Take the drink.”
“I… No, I can’t.”
“Go on! Don’t be such a… you!”
“Vinyl, I am not joking around.”
The DJ sighed. “Of course you aren’t. Fine, be antisocial. See how much I care.”
Octavia gave her a flat look. “I find it a bit silly that you seem to think I can’t be social without alcohol.”
“In your case? Damn straight.” Vinyl eyed the drink mournfully and floated it back over to the other table. She turned back to see Octavia looking at her questioningly. “What?”
“Why didn’t you drink it? You’re old enough.”
“It’s not fun drinking alone, trust me.”
“Don’t abstain on my account. I was hoping your sanity would be linked with your blood alcohol level.”
“I’m not that crazy… am I?” the unicorn seemed so surprisingly unguarded that Octavia decided to respond truthfully.
“No, I suppose you’re not. I admit I made many assumptions about you based on our… rather heated discussion in class. Not many of them were positive.” She hesitated for a second before continuing. “But since we seem to be mending bridges, I must ask… am I truly a boring pony? Be honest.”
“Not really, at least not anymore. If nothing else, you’re at least fun to argue with,” grinned Vinyl.
The cellist returned it, chuckling a little. “And what an argument it was.”
“That ‘loose’ comeback was brutal, but awesome.”
“Thank you. I liked how you used the fact that your music is more technologically advanced to nullify my comment about how primitive it was.”
“I have no idea how I did that.”
The two mares laughed, the tension finally broken and replaced by a much more comfortable atmosphere.
“Hey, if it’s alright with you, can we pretend we had an awful time tonight?” asked Vinyl, leaning back in her seat to get comfortable.
“I kinda don’t want Psych to think he was right when he said this wouldn’t be that bad. He just strikes me as the kind to say ‘I told you so’, you know?”
“I must agree with you there. Very well, during class we shall bicker as if nothing has changed. Agreed?”
“Agreed. And what about outside of class?” A faint blush graced Vinyl’s cheeks. “Cause I don’t really know anypony else yet and it would be cool to have somepony to chill with.”
Octavia smiled warmly. “Then I’m glad Psych isn’t here right now, because that’s another thing we have in common.”
“What about all your highschool friends? Didn’t any come to university?”
It was the grey mare’s turn to shift uncomfortably. “No.” was all she said.
“Oh. That sucks. So do you live on campus?”
“Yes, in the student village. And yourself?”
“Nah, I’ve got a crappy apartment not far from here.”
“It must be annoying having to travel to the university every time you have a class.”
“Yeah, I’ve only done it for one week and I’m sick of it.”
“Well?” Octavia asked expectantly.
“Well what?” replied the confused DJ.
“What are you going to do about it?”
Her companion shrugged. “I dunno. I could try to get a place closer to uni, but I’m pretty sure they’ve all been taken.”
“The answer seems obvious to me. Just get a campus flat like I did.”
Vinyl scratched her chin. “You think I should?”
“Definitely. In fact, I think if you got in contact with whoever is paying your scholarship they could probably help you find the best option.”
“Really? I’ll call ‘em tomorrow.” She laughed. “You give some good advice, Octavia.”
The cellist laughed with her. “It seems reading thousands of university pamphlets has finally paid off.”
“You must have been pretty damn excited for it.”
“What can I say? I had imagined it for so long. Every single class and pony I would meet, all the friends I would have, and how everypony would be nice and respectful because it’s a grown-up environment. Silly stuff like that.”
“Nice and respectful, eh? I guess I kinda ruined your first week then, huh.”
With a chuckle, Octavia shook her head. “Don’t worry, you’ve made up for it already.”
“I have? All we’ve done is sit here and chat.” Vinyl frowned.
“Yes, well… I’ll tell you another time. It’s boring anyway.” The cellist brushed a few strands of dark hair out of her eyes and looked away.
“I’m seriously doubting my idea of what ‘boring’ means, so why not tell me?”
“It’s sort of… personal.”
“Oh.” A brief pause followed, yet it was understanding rather than awkward. “It’s alright, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“No, you should probably hear it. I can’t just say something like that and then not explain.”
“Yes.” She took a deep breath. “Before uni, before our class, I was quite… lonely.”
“Everypony gets lonely once in a while.”
“I don’t think you understand the unprecedented level of loneliness that I was experiencing.”
“Okay, okay. So why were you lonely? A mare like you must have tons of high-class friends to hang with.”
Octavia reddened and turned her eyes down. “Not really.”
“Oh.” Vinyl wasn’t sure what to say in the wake of that revelation.
After a few moments, Octavia continued quietly. “I didn’t have tons of friends. Or just a small amount of friends. Or… any friends at all.” Her eyes remained lowered in embarrassment.
“That’s…” The DJ fumbled for the right thing to say.
“Yes.” Sucking in a deep breath, the grey mare rubbed her face with her hooves, as if to scrub away the last few seconds. “Sorry,” she forced a laugh. “That was completely out of place to say. I wish I hadn’t said anything now.”
“No, it’s fine. N-not the ‘no friends’ part, I mean… uh…”
“Please, just forget it. Let’s talk about something else.”
“Alright...” Vinyl looked thoughtful for a moment before continuing. “Well, you shared something personal, so I should as well. That way you won’t have to worry about me backstabbing you and telling everypony.”
A small, sincere smile graced the cellist’s lips. “Thank you.”
“You might not be saying that when I’m done.” She took a moment to gather her thoughts. “Okay, this is a little pathetic, but I wasn’t that great at school. I sorta failed… everything. That’s why I took it so badly when you made fun of how I’m a dropout.” The unicorn leaned on the table and rested her chin on her hooves. “I spent every year trying so hard to do well, but I got nowhere. I was like the class idiot in every class. The only thing that kept me going was my music.” Her eyes were hidden behind tinted glass, but the rest of her body lit up suddenly, bursting with life. “I couldn’t analyse texts or solve equations, but when I got behind the mixing table nopony could keep up with me. I was the god of my music class, and every bass wobble was my gospel.” She grinned and raised her head from the table. “I played everywhere I could for as long as I could. The other fillies and colts could have their test scores and good grades, all I wanted, all I needed, was my music.”
Octavia held back a chuckle at the DJ’s enthusiasm. She too had felt the warmth of music in an otherwise cold world. But she held her tongue, for the story was not over.
“But…” the smile slipped away from Vinyl. “Nopony else thought the same thing. I needed a good report to go on to study music at uni, and that just wasn’t going to happen. At the end of the year, they told me they needed to keep me down a grade because I wasn’t passing anything except music. My only other choice was to drop out and try to find my own way to uni. So I did.”
Reaching across the table, Octavia touched the DJ’s hoof with her own. “Thank you for telling me. Considering I’ve been nothing but rude to you since we met, I’m surprised you trust me with all of that.”
“Like I said, it’s your insurance against me ever telling anypony what you told me. Or… yeah, trust sounds a lot better.”
“But my story wasn’t even a story. It was just a sad little fact. You… There is so much more to you than I imagined.”
Her stare was so intense that Vinyl blushed and looked away. “Well, er, thanks.”
The cellist realised how she was behaving and retreated to her side of the table, also blushing. “Please excuse that. I was caught up in your story.”
“It’s fine, really. Totally fine.”
“Nevertheless, it was inappropriate, and I’m sorry.”
Vinyl giggled at that. “We’re in the corner booth of a bar. This place has seen way worse stuff than just touching hooves.”
“What?!” The mortified expression worn by Octavia as she took a second look at the seats and table made the DJ laugh harder.
“Relax, this place gets cleaned every night. Probably.” Vinyl liked watching her squirm in discomfort.
“Still, I think it’s time for me to head back to the campus. I can’t risk messing up my sleeping pattern.” She slipped off the chair and gingerly put her hooves on the ground.
“Aww,” whined the DJ before she could think.
The cellist gave her an amused smirk. “I didn’t realise you were enjoying my company so much.”
“Let’s pretend I didn’t do that. So I’ll see you on Monday then?”
“Definitely.” Octavia hesitated, biting her lip in contemplation, but did nothing and simply trotted away.
Vinyl watched her go, even going so far as to half-climb onto the table to see the dark mane vanish out the door. When it did so, she sunk back down into her chair.
“Definitely,” she muttered.
There's an obscure Avatar: The Last Airbender reference in this one, let me know if you saw it!
Or just let me know what you think of the story as a whole. That's cool too.