“Come on Wingsley, let’s see it,” you call to your shuddering brother.
“No! I’m not doing it. Period,” he shouts back, uneasy.
“You said yourself that if I helped you with your bloody homework, you would go and practice flying.”
“Um... I take it back, you don’t have to help me with my homework ever again as long as you don’t make me fly.”
“Nope, no way you can worm your way out this time,” you chuckle. “Just flap your wings once or twice to get yourself off the ground.”
“But what if I fall?” Wingsley asks, concerned.
“If you fall, you have the enormous cloud I brought down to catch you.” Since most foals learn how to fly in Cloudsdale, they always have a city size safety net to catch them when they inevitably fall. Unfortunately, Wingsley never had that opportunity to learn how to fly there and you are starting to regret that you never forced him into trying to at least hover. And now his wings are abnormally small for a colt of his age since the muscles that operate the wings have atrophied, building up the muscles will be a chore. “Come on, flap! Flap like your life depends on it!”
Lines of strain appeared on his face as he furiously started flapping his wings like a mad-pony, praying for at least some amount of success. Unfortunately it was a prayer that would go unanswered. Thinking that he could achieve lift off by jumping straight up into the air on flimsy wings, Wingsley put all of his strength into his legs, he achieved one large jump. There was a chance that with a little more control he might have been able to slow down his ‘fall’ for a few feet back down to the cloud, sadly this was not the case. Somehow, Wingsley managed to do a flip in the air as he fell at a perplexing trajectory and accelerating his decent until he face-planted, with quite a strong amount of force, into the cloud.
Sighing, you fly up to the cloud. Pulling him out of the soft white matter and back onto his hooves, you scold him, “Now somehow you managed to almost injure yourself on the softest, safest material known to pegasi. Do you see now how much you need to practice? Your wings aren’t as strong as they need to be. You should have been practicing some flapping exercises for a long time before this.”
There has always been natural flow of flight training, almost culture if you will, of the teacher yelling at the student and then the student yelling at the teacher for teaching poorly while stalking off. This is then followed shortly by the teacher yelling obscenities at the student, and the student returns obscenities back at the teacher. The student will then mock the teacher, making a failed impersonation of their lectures causing an uproar in the teacher. Needless to say, your conversation with Wingsley roughly followed these same lines.
As both of you went your separate ways, only now did you realize what time it was. It was about 4:30 and your date with Ditzy was at 7, you go through your mental checklist:
Dinner Reservations set for 8: check;
Satisfied that you were not missing anything, you run to take care of these last minute details. Being the stallion you are, you would normally take a few minutes to shower, comb, and make yourself presentable. But not today, today you are going out on the first date in about a year that was not because one party lost a bet. Tonight will be perfect, you think to yourself.
“Well fine, don’t get so saddle-sore! I’ll get out of here.” Rolling your eyes, you open the door letting Wingsley into the room while excusing yourself. Moving to your room, your check off the two other items on your checklist while looking for your formal clothes. Upon finding them, you struggle to put them on being careful to not rip them. A little snug, but hey whatever, I’ve pulled off worse, you think as your mind goes back to the Cloudsdale Senior Prom. I will arrive sharply at 7 o’clock and drop of Wingsley. Then we will have a pleasant dinner and she will see that I am a pony that is worth getting to know. We will then have a nice walk after dinner and I will walk her home. The thought is concluded by two words that leave your heart beating a little faster with worry: I hope...
“Oi!” calling up to Wingsley, “You ready?”
“Yeah, I’m here,” he exhales, “I still can’t believe you are going out with my best friend’s mom. Do you know how weird that is?”
“I don’t seem to have the slightest idea,” giving a laugh while Wingsley follows behind you.
Locking the door, you and Wingsley begin the walk to Ditzy’s house a few blocks away; a short distance as the pegasus flies, but a little longer on hoof. Walking with your head held up high and a glowing confident smile on your face, causes Wingsley to roll his eyes at you, still uncomfortable with the situation. The short walk ended as you walked up the pathway to Ditzy’s house. Gently, you knock on the door and wait for a response. While still outside, you hear some commotion inside the house. You hear ponies shuffling around and talking in rush. Listening intently, you are able to make out some of the words.
“Is he here?”
“Yeah, I think that’s him.”
“Are you absolutely positive?”
“Who else could be knocking on our door this late?”
Another voice pops in, “Who is it Mommy?”
“It’s your friend, he’s coming over for a while.”
“And it’s her date,” some snickering is heard after this. While you and Wingsley stand patiently outside, you exchange glances while overhearing this conversation.
“Sparkler,” said presumably Ditzy in a warning tone, “I just need two minutes, TWO MINUTES! Keep him busy until I’m ready!”
The door opens and you are greeted by a purple unicorn, “Hi you must be my mom’s date,” she says suppressing a chuckle, “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Sparkler.”
“It’s nice to meet you too Sparkler, and I don’t know if you have met my brother yet,” bringing Wingsley into the conversation.
“Oh, you must be Wingsley, my sister talks about you all the time.”
“No I don’t!” a small voice interjects from a distance.
Sparkler suppresses a chuckle and adds, “My mom will be down in a little while.” Looking at Wingsley she asks him, “You want to come in? We have some snacks if you want some.”
“Sure, that sounds good,” Wingsley says as he walks into the house. Some time ago, you and Wingsley became good at looking at each other and understanding exactly what the other was thinking through facial expressions and body language. He looks at you, giving you a telepathic message emphasising the fact that he can’t believe you are going on a date with his friend’s mom.
You respond in turn sending him a message conveying that you were allowed to have friends as well. This just caused him to sigh and roll his eyes for the hundredth time today.
As he walked away, you turned to see Ditzy coming down the stairs, looking very pretty in her dress. Obviously she had taken this date very seriously, as it appeared that she had spent a good portion of the day getting ready. At this point you begin to feel that you may have needed to get dressed up more. It was a passing thought as Ditzy gave you a warm smile from where she stood. Not able to stop yourself, you respond with a warm smile in turn. This causes Sparkler to look at both of you with raised eyebrows.
“So, um Ditzy, should we head down to the restaurant?” you ask her shyly.
“That sounds great,” she said, then turning to Sparkler adds, “So you have the house all under control? You know where all the food is? You know who to call if there is trouble?”
“Yes Mom,” Sparkler says exasperated, “Now get out of here and have fun, everything’s going to be fine.”
“I love you honey,” Ditzy leaned over and kissed her eldest daughter on the head, “Don’t let the kids get in too much trouble.”
Ditzy finished her goodbyes and met you on the edge of the path where you both stopped and shared a quiet moment together. Concluding the moment, you blush telling Ditzy, “You look really pretty tonight.”
“Thanks,” she takes her turn at blushing, “You don’t look so bad yourself.”
After a moment of blushing and giggling, you ask Ditzy, trying to get to the restaurant before your reservation, “Should I call a cab?”
“Actually I’ve been stuck around the house all day, feel like flying?” rebutted Ditzy, surprising you.
“Sure,” was the only thing you could say.
A nice refreshing glide with Ditzy lifted your spirits even higher, a passing feeling caused you to regret that it had to end. In what seemed like the passing of seconds, you landed at the restaurant. Unruffling your feathers after the flight, you both make your way to the counter to confirm your reservation. Telling the pony behind the counter your name and the number of ponies in your party, he calls a waiter over to seat you.
At this establishment there are two areas of seating, inside and outside. Inside there is a live band, an open bar, seating enough for a wedding reception, and bright yellow lighting. As good as this sounded, you prefer a more open setting. In your opinion outside had something better, a full view of Luna’s night, candlelit tables, and a quiet romantic setting. Needless to say, you were able to reserve a table on the fringes to give enough privacy and a clear unobstructed view of the night sky. Pegasi, being from a culture that has a large affinity for the open sky have tended to feel more comfortable in open rather than confined spaces.
The waiter lead you across the stone patio to your table, delivered the menus, and glided off while you and Ditzy make your decisions. “Wow, you sure picked a great place for dinner,” Ditzy said as she looked around.
“Thanks, I thought you might like it here.”
“The night sky, the candlelight dinner, pretty romantic for a first date, don’t you think?” Ditzy says in her usual playful tone.
“Well...” you stammer, “I just wanted it to be nice, if you think I’m doing too much-”
“Don’t worry about it,” she interrupts you to alleviate your consciousness. “I really like it, to be honest,” giving you a wink and a smirk.
Okay, there is no way I’m mistaking it, she has to be flirting with me. Thankfully I still haven’t made an ass of myself yet today. Its kinda sad that I need to keep reminding myself of that. A question appears in your mind, Also, why is this mare even giving me a chance, whereas a few weeks ago she was screaming at me to leave her alone? What changed? Your mind reels as you think a horrifying thought, What if she is just letting me think that she likes me where she will then put me in the friend-zone. Oh Celestia, why am I so nervous?
Interrupting your train of thought and breaking you out of your self-destructive mindset as of current, Ditzy, with her classic cute, flirtatious smile she uses whenever she tries to make you squirm inside your own skin, asks you, “Since this is the first date, I think we should learn a little bit more about each other; that is, if we plan on doing something like this again.”
Not used to mares openly flirting with you, but not disliking the attention either, with a charming smile you tell her, “Ladies first, what would you like to know?”
“So, what’s it like living in Cloudsdale? I’ve never lived there, or any of the other cloud cities for that matter.”
“Well it’s a lot different from living on the ground, everywhere you go it’s like walking an enormous pillow. That’s one of the reasons some pegasi enjoy sleeping under the stars instead of in their own homes.”
“How do they sleep? It gets just above freezing at that altitude,” Ditzy interjects, curious.
“Well the cold is something you just get used to when you live there for your entire life. Although, you can always pick out the newcomers to Cloudsdale, between the visiting pegasi and the occasional unicorn cloud-walker.” Continuing on you sigh, “Well it’s good to have a change of scenery, let’s just say I have had my share of embarrassing moments, enough to last me a lifetime...”
“Oh?” Curious, Ditzy asks, “What kind of embarrassing moments?”
“Hey, only one question at a time,” you chuckle.
“Fine,” Ditzy says with an exhale. “Ask away.”
“So what about you? Why don’t you have stallions breaking down the doors after you?” you say, attempting to flirt back.
“Well I have you? Don’t I?” giving a cute giggle causing you to blush a deep shade of crimson. Not entirely sure how to respond, you reach back around and scratch the back of your head while looking at a non-existent point in the distance. Thankfully, the waiter decided to come around to take your order.
“Hmm,” Ditzy pondered for a few moments, “I’ll have the lotus soup.”
“A fine choice,” says the waiter.
Realizing that you haven’t actually looked at the menu yet, you scan it quickly for an item you are familiar with. After an almost uncomfortable amount of time and giving up, you quickly say, “I’ll have the special.”
The waiter left to deliver the orders to the chef, and almost immediately Ditzy picks the conversation back up, “So, about those embarrassing moments.”
With a very audible sigh, you explain, “Back in Cloudsdale, I wasn’t always the charming stalion that you see today. Let’s just say I was not a ladies-guy...” You go on to go into detail about comical stories of failed romance attempts in Cloudsdale, which incited a few laughs from Ditzy. The conversations after this point became more lighthearted as you began to share stories with each other of your past experiences, mostly funny, and more often than not about either Wingsley or Dinky.
“And then the boss-guy said to me and my assistant,” her voice shifts into a gruff mockery of a stallion, “Now I want you to unload everything from this truck, don’t break anything this time.” Her voice went back to normal, “First off, I’m just a little clumsy when it comes to handling packages, I blame these eyes. Second, why the buck to we have to unload mail while in the air? I mean it would be safer on the ground I always say, but no,” going back to the gruff impersonation, “Protocol is protocol.”
“Anyway,” she continues, “There were a lot of, well, unusual items in the truck.”
“Like what?” you ask, fascinated with the story.
“Unusual like: a flower pot; an anvil; a wagon, full of hay I might add; and to top it off, a piano. I mean seriously, who’s brilliant idea was it to store those things at the back of the truck anyway? But, I’m getting ahead of myself,” she pauses for a moment, “So as we started taking the items out one at a time, we realized that the bottom of the truck was greased and slanted at an angle towards the ground,” her voice trailed off.
“Mmhmm,” she says with a nod, “We reach in to grab the first item when we realize that they are just sliding right out of the truck,” she says with dramatic arm motions. “Whoosh, goes the flower pot. Whoosh, goes the anvil. Whoosh, goes the wagon. And last but not least, whoosh goes the piano!” Pausing again for dramatic effect, “And it all fell directly on to the head of Twilight Sparkle.”
You laugh a worried kind of laugh, worried for the pony in question, but laughing at the sheer unbelievable nature of the story. Opening your eyes wide you feel a need to ask, “Was she okay?”
“After a few minutes, yes she was; I still have no idea how she did it.” Chuckling a little, she adds, “It was kinda awkward to then turn around and look at the boss guy with a sheepish expression saying, ‘Whoops!’”
Now as Ditzy said this, it frightened the new waiter as he was carrying the hot soup for the table next to yours. You turn your head sharply and the world seems to go in slow motion. You saw the waiter, eyes wide, face stuck in a terrified expression as gravity and the floor embraced him. You saw the table next to you, staring at the airborne soup as it approached its highest peak. You saw Ditzy, both eyes focused on the falling soup and then on you, her hooves covered her mouth in shock as she let out an audible yelp. And then you saw the soup, hanging there as it eclipsed the moon, giving it an awe inspiring appeal to it. You then noticed that the bowl was becoming larger and larger with each passing moment and you realized that the trajectory of the bowl would have it land directly on your face. While most ponies minds would be screaming at them to move and scream, surprisingly, the only thing that passed through your mind was, Well buck...
The soup landed directly onto your face as well as splattering onto your clothes. Needless to say your face did not appreciate getting covered in scalding hot soup. You ripped the bowl from your face and began to furiously rubbing your face and eyes, only spreading the painful substance and harming yourself further. You whip your head around, somehow trying to end your blindness by thrashing about. You can hear ponies moving about, calling out to each other to try to get help, you hear Ditzy call for a wet towel. After what seemed to be an hour, you feel a hoof on your shoulder and a calming voice saying, “Don’t worry, just close your eyes and let me get the soup out.”
Slightly ashamed that Ditzy had to take care of you, but not complaining outright as the soup is starting to sting. After the soup was cleaned out of your eyes, Ditzy hands you the towel and you proceed to try to rub out some of the substance on your suit. Getting the majority of the soup off and hearing the waiter’s incessant apologies, you sigh as you think to yourself that the date couldn’t get any worse.
The date was quieter after that ordeal, and you were thankful when the waiter appeared with your meals. Although this did not stop you from watching the waiter intently, cautious to see if there would be a repeat incident. The waiter, unnerved at your steady unblinking sideways stare, matched your eyes and placed the food down before backing up. Feeling assured that food will not be finding its way on and about your face, you pick up your fork and begin eating. Enjoying your food, you exchange small talk with Ditzy.
“So what made you choose this place?” Ditzy asks in-between bites.
“Well, I saw this place when I first moved to Ponyville. I kinda liked the quiet setting, it reminded me of Cloudsdale.”
“Cloudsdale, quiet? That doesn’t really sound like the impression I got when I have to go there for deliveries.” Ditzy counters.
“Well, no. Not in the daylight though. When I lived there, I used to stay out until 3 o’clock most nights. That was my favorite time of the entire day. There were a few pegasi, but for the most part the city was asleep. I used to take the time to just walk on the edges of the town, on the linings of the clouds, through the side streets, and the small cottony bridges that connected the districts to each other. Watching the lazy, sleepy pegasi calmly drift through town. A few late-night shops were still open, a few illuminating points in an overall black night. Kinda like this place,” you say gesturing to the establishment around you.
“So wait, why did you go out late at night?” asks Ditzy, curious.
“After a few minutes of walking, I had a spot, a place that only I ever knew about, when there I would just sit down and look up at the sky. Late night is the best time to star-watch, there is no light pollution, and every single star is visible,” you lean back in your seat, reminiscing on the past.
“Wow, I never thought of doing that,” and giving you that same smile, she continues, “You seem to be quite the star-gazer maybe sometime you could-” getting cut off by a clearly intoxicated unicorn stallion with a violin loosely strapped to his back in the style of a traveling musician.
“Oh the happy couple,” the drunk slurs, “How is the night’s romance treating you this evening?” Not giving you a chance to respond, he gets his violin out with magic, plays a chord, letting you know of the upcoming musical number. He begins to sing as you look at him with wide eyes and mouth pursed tight, giving a clear expression saying, What the hell is happening? The song was in no sense a masterpiece, having rapid changes in tempo, and no clear rhythm.
His voice trailed off as he collapsed onto the floor, unconscious. Neither you nor Ditzy moved for a while, faces both stuck in the expressions you have while staring at the unconscious pony’s prone form. As management dragged the sleeping drunk away, you both finish your meals in quiet. Paying the check, you leave the table and begin your approach back to Ditzy’s.
Quietly walking through the winding side streets, only the sound of your hoofsteps are audible. This was not the way you envisioned this night to happen. You did not expect to be assaulted by flaming soup nor did you expect to be ambushed by a traveling drunk musician. This was the worst possible thing that could have happened, ever, of all time. Will there be a second date? Probably not... Minding your thoughts you hardly notice that you have arrived at Ditzy’s house.
With a sigh and head bowed, you say, “Well here we are, and I’m sorry for how the date turned out, I never meant for any of this to happen.
“Hey, it’s not your fault. It’s just the way life goes, some days you have good days, other days are well... interesting. And for the most part, I had a really good time, thanks.”
As she said this, she leaned over and gave you a solid kiss on the cheek. Not expecting this, you feel your body tense, heart rate increase, and your respiratory system kick into overdrive. But as for the second time this evening, time slowed, and you feel your body melt and relax into Ditzy’s kiss, enjoying every moment of it. Feeling her warm face against yours, and smelling fresh spring-time flowers, you close your eyes and focus on that one spot on your cheek. But inevitably it had to end, you feel her move away from you, giving you a cute, slightly embarrassed smile as she bit her lip and blushed. As she moved to the door she calls to you, “I never finished what I was going to say to you, I was going to ask if you could take me out star-gazing sometime. You know, some other time.”
Still recovering from shock, you smile stupidly and respond, “Sure, I’d love to do it sometime.”
Giggling and looking at a point further behind you causes her to laugh harder. Waving goodbye to you, she goes inside to get Wingsley. Only then do you realize that your wings are up and fully spread out, Oh... so that’s what she was giggling at. By the time Wingsley came outside you were standing in the same spot you were when Ditzy left. Walking up to you and taking a look at you, his eyebrow raised saying, Really?
With a sheepish smile and shrug, you laugh uncomfortably saying, “Whoops.”