You had been waiting outside for about twenty minutes.
“By Celestia’s nonexistent beard it’s hot!” You hiss quietly to yourself, reaching up with a hoof to wipe away a few beads of sweat.
As the day had gone on it seemed as if the air got warmer, you wonder if the weather ponies had gone and messed something up, or if this was a planned turn in the weather due to that unscheduled rainstorm last week. Well, at least you could take solace in the fact that you weren’t the only one who was absolutely miserable. All around you ponies were moaning and groaning about how hot it was, and the line outside of Sugarcube Corner had grown exponentially, filled with busy ponies who all just wanted something a little cold to help them cool off, you were glad that you had decided to get in line when you did.
Every once and a while you could see either Mister or Misses Cake pop out and scout around, offering ponies free bottles of water as a thank you for waiting so patiently, it was nice of them to do but you couldn’t shake the feeling that it was more or less just a ploy to keep everypony calm long enough for them to get their order and leave. And in that regard it had seemed to be working, a few minutes before the Cakes had started handing out water the ponies around you had been getting rather restless, shoving, kicking, and shouting at each other in their frustration. But now that they all had something to help them cool off things had quieted down.
But of course, that wasn’t going to last forever.
“Um, excuse me, you butted in line.” You hear a meek voice from a few feet behind, so quiet you could barely hear it. You look back to see if the comment was directed at you, fortunately it was not.
“I think your mistaken Fluttershy; I was here the whole time.” You grimace when you hear that voice, of course, it had to be her.
“Lily…” You whisper sharply, stealing another glance backwards.
You can see what appears to be a meek yellow pegasus standing a few ponies behind where you were in line, she’s hiding one eye behind a lock of long pink hair, and standing eye level with the mare you’d once sought the affections of, Lily, the pink flower shop sister.
“No…I’m quite confident you weren’t.” The yellow pegasus more or less mumbles through a mouthful of mane.
Lily steps back and puts on a look of disgust. “Like, maybe you couldn’t see because you need a manecut like, really bad, but that’s not my problem okay Fluttershy?” Wow, what did you ever see in this stuck up mare? Had it been pure blind stupidity or crushing loneliness that made her seem like an ideal marefriend?
Fluttershy shrinks back a little at the insult, you could already tell how fragile the poor thing was, and it was obvious that an insult no matter how minor was going to strike a sore spot with her.
“But…I’ve been waiting for a long time an-”
“But nothing!” Lily snaps back, causing Fluttershy to literally secede into the shelter that was her mane. “I don’t care how long you’ve been here just shut up! I’m shriveling up out here in the heat and I’m wasting my energy talking to you!”
Oh that was it! Poor Fluttershy was on the verge of tears, you could see her lip quivering and everything! If there was one thing you absolutely, positively, could not stand it was the sight of a mare crying! Something had to be done.
“Excuse me boys.” You whisper to the pair of young colts sitting in front of you, one of them had a thick English accent and appeared to be a blank flank, and the other had a brown coat and a couple of ice cream Sundays for his cutie marks.
“Yes sir!” Said the English one.
“Would you two be willing to hold my place for me? I have to help out a friend.”
“Sure thing mate!”
With that taken care of you hop out of line and immediately head towards Fluttershy and Lily.
“Fluttershy dearest of all my friends!” You shout, making overzealous gestures and gaining odd looks from more than a couple ponies in the line.
“Um, what?” Fluttershy starts, barely moving, your sudden outburst having scared the poor mare half to death.
“Now I told you I’d save your spot in line while you went to the bathroom! Get up here you silly filly!” Before the mare can protest, like you know she will, you snatch up her hooves and begin dragging her towards your previous spot in line, a good several feet in front of where Lily was standing.
You can’t fight the urge to flash Lily an impish grin as you begin dragging Fluttershy away; unfortunately this means she catches wind of your plan.
“Hey you can’t do that!” She shouts, her voice fading away as you move farther up the line.
“Watch me!” You shoot back, keeping that same façade of cheeriness.
“Why you just wait until I tell my coltfriend about this!”
“I’m looking forward to hearing from him!”
Lily’s face looks so red you’d wager it was about to burst, before she lets out a huff and stomps off, swearing and cursing until she faded off deeper into town. Probably off to go tell her coltfriend about this whole thing, you aren’t all that worried, you’ll probably be gone by the time she comes back with trouble.
You couldn’t help but feel giddy right now. Doing this had felt like getting back at her for dumping you a couple days ago, and even though that was indeed a shallow victory you had trouble feeling bad about it. After all, the mare had already gotten a new coltfriend, hell, she was probably seeing him while she was with you.
“Thanks boys.” You say to the pair of colts that had been watching your place.
The little English one gives you a salute. “Sure thing mate! Glad we could ‘elp.”
You look down, your smile fading to a frown when you see what Fluttershy is doing. She was currently in the process of burying her head between her hooves, shaking in fear.
“Miss Fluttershy, are you okay?” You ask softly, so as not to startle her, worried that you may very well be the cause for her fear.
Fluttershy is sniffling and crying, and the sight is nearly enough to make your heart explode, this had not been what you intended.
“P…please don’t hurt me mister!” She squeaks, refusing to look up at you.
You reel at the accusation, hurt her? Where had she gotten an idea like that?
“Miss Fluttershy I’m not going to hurt you, I’m helping you.” You do your best to put on a caring and fatherly voice, by now a few ponies in line had started to notice Fluttershy’s display, casting you odd and distrusting looks.
“Helping me? The- then why did you drag me out of line?” Fluttershy asks, with a voice as powerful and damning as it could be, which, was not very.
“Miss Fluttershy please, I brought you forward in line, I would never hurt you, I promise. So will you please stand up?” An edge of worry was creeping into your voice, the ponies around you now mumbling quietly, you were confident you’d seen a couple of stallions already sizing you up. Oh by Celestia this mare was going to get you lynched.
You’re not really sure if it’s the tone of desperation or your kind words that brought Fluttershy out of her shaking stupor, but right now you don’t really care, so long as you don’t end up inciting an angry mob.
Fluttershy reaches up and wipes away her tears, looking back to see that she did in fact move ahead in line.
“Oh…I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you.” Fluttershy’s tone is so quiet and cute you nearly feel your heart burst; you doubted she was even capable of yelling.
You smile comfortingly at the shy Pegasus. “Oh hey, don’t worry about that. I just saw the way Lily was treating you and decided she needed a taste of her own medicine.”
Fluttershy looks back, one of her eyes shielded by her pink hair. “Oh…yes she was being kind of…rude.”
She doesn’t make eye contact with you, instead opting to keep her gaze solidly glued to the ground. Obviously being with a stranger made her nervous, so you decided to do your best to relax her.
“Say, are you one of Rarity’s friends?” Fluttershy perks up a little at the mention of the name.
“Um…yes, how did you know?”
“I’m Rarity’s new personal assistant; I’m running errands for her today.” You offer Fluttershy another soft smile. “She actually wanted me to tell you something.”
“Really, what is it?” That’s better; at least she’s looking at you now.
“She wanted to let you know that she was going to move your spa date to next week. Is that okay Miss Fluttershy?”
Fluttershy looks a little disappointed; obviously she didn’t really want the spa date moved. “I suppose, I’ll just have to move Winona’s checkup to a couple days earlier.”
“Okay thank you.” You reach back and retrieve your quill and paper, scratching out your recently accomplished task before placing them back where they belong. Out of the corner of your eye you notice Fluttershy looking at you pensively, as if thinking of something to say. “Is there…something you wanted to ask me Miss Fluttershy?”
Fluttershy shrinks back at your voice, as if you’d caught her committing some kind of crime. For a moment you think she may shrivel back up into a little ball and start crying again, and that’s the last thing you want.
“Hey, it’s okay. I don’t bite, go ahead and ask me whatever you want.” You encourage the shy mare, smiling at her in a vain attempt to get her to relax a little.
You notice Flutteshy’s ruby colored eyes darting around, and you think at any minute she may very well run off. But it seems that after a few moments she finds her voice, and you’re forced to strain your hearing in order to understand her hushed words.
“You…um…have something on your face.” You fight off a tired sigh. Of course, what else would it be?
“Yeah, that.” You decide to just come right out with it this time; no beating around the bush like you did with Twilight. “It’s uh…Rarity’s lipstick.”
At first Fluttershy seems perplexed, cocking her head slightly to the right as she puzzles what that could possibly entail. Then her eyes go wide, and she makes a tiny gasping sound.
“Oh, you’re him!” Fluttershy’s tiny voice surprises you. Him? What could that possibly mean?
You give Fluttershy a curious look, curving your eyebrow upwards as she jams a hoof into her open maw with a faint panicked squeak. Her eyes darting away in a flash, obviously she was not supposed to let that one slip.
You’re half tempted to let the comment slide by, odds are you wouldn’t be getting anything out of her anyway. But you can feel the curiosity eating away at you, and you’re dying to know if Rarity had been talking about you.
“Miss Fluttershy…what do you mean, ‘him’?” You do your best to dress up your question with a fine veil of nonchalance, to no great success.
Fluttershy is literally shaking, feverishly turning and twisting as if searching for a way to escape your inquisitive gaze. You are actually about to tell her it’s no big deal, if your question was going to stress her out so bad it wasn’t really worth the answer, but you never got the chance.
“Listen Miss Fluttershy if you don’t want to tell me that’s fi-”
“Ohlookwe’renextcomeonletsgo!” The words fire out of her mouth faster than you can comprehend them, and you are caught completely by surprise when she grabs onto you and yanks you into Sugarcube Corner.
The interior of the building passes by in a blur, and you find that your head is still spinning by the time you come to a stop, a loud screech resounding from the tile floor beneath your rump as you come to a spinning halt in front of the main desk inside of the spacious building. Before you can stop it your head swings forward with a sickening lurch, the momentum propelling your skull into the hard wood of the table with a loud and agonizing smack.
“OW! Oh buck my life!” The swear comes out as more of a hoarse cry rather than a rage filled scream as you fight your way through the tears and pain rocketing through both your sore skull and screaming neck.
The pain shooting through your skull wasn’t unbearable, but that didn’t exactly mean it was pleasant. You shoot a condemning look at Fluttershy through a squinted eye, gently rubbing the now fresh bruise marking your forehead.
“I’m sorry I’m sorry I didn’t mean to do it!” Fluttershy pleads, judging from the agonized look on her face and the tears running down her cheeks you’d think she was the one who’d slammed her head on the desk.
When you notice the distraught Pegasus, any previous thoughts of anger are immediately erased. “Hey, it’s okay. Gah ow! Don’t cry Fluttershy please, you didn’t mean it I know!”
It doesn’t seem as if your words manage to get through to the moaning Pegasus, she’s still sobbing, her tears falling down and forming a small pool of sadness down below her.
“I spy with my Pink little eye, what seems like a crying Fluttershy!” The singsong voice appears from nowhere, and for a minute you think that perhaps it had been your imagination. When you pick up on the strange scent of…was that cupcakes?
Suddenly you hear a loud *Boing* noise and a pink mare with a fuzzy mane and balloons on her flank lands on the tile floor in front of you, after a few moments you realize that you recognize her, she’s the mare that threw you a part on your first day in town, the one and only Pinkie Pie.
“Aw Shy, why are you so sad?” Pinkie asks with deep concern.
Fluttershy doesn’t look up, keeping her eyes screwed shut as tears run down her cheek in thick blue rivulets. The pink mare notices that her words aren’t working, so she takes a more direct approach, hopping towards the crying Pegasus with joyful bounds.
“Shh, come to auntie Pinkie Pie.” The pink mare whispers quietly, slowly pulling Fluttershy in for a hug.
Fluttershy gently eases into the embrace, wrapping her hooves around her friend and gently sobbing into her large frizzy mane. The tears fall and begin to sink into her fur, but Pinkie doesn’t seem to mind.
After a few more minutes of gentle crying, and a few more soft coos from ‘auntie’ Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy seems to find her voice once more.
“I…didn’t mean to…hurt him!” She chokes out through another round of racking sobs; you actually start to feel guilty, despite the fact that you were the one who had his head slammed into the table.
“Who, that guy?” Pinkie motions towards where you sit with a flick of her head, and despite the fact that Fluttershy couldn’t have seen where she pointed with her head buried all the way into Pinkie’s neck she nods. “He’s fine! Aren’t ya!?”
It takes you a second to realize that Pinkie is talking to you. “Oh! Uh yeah, I’m perfectly fine Miss Fluttershy really.” You start to lift your head up, your neck screaming in protest to the movement. Yeah, perfectly fine, totally not going to have neck problems throughout the rest of the day! Nope not at all! You fume bitterly, venting quietly in the dark recesses of your mind.
“Yeah see!” Pinkie Pie gently pushes Fluttershy away, angling the Pegasus so she can see you; you do your best to smile reassuringly at her through the pain. “He’s A-Okay!”
Fluttershy’s eyes look you over, puffy and bloodshot from all the crying she just did, before she somberly looks away, wiping the tears from her cheeks with the back of a hoof.
“S-sorry everypony…” It’s now you realize that the three of you had actually made quite the scene, and you fidget slightly underneath the gaze of all the unfamiliar ponies gawking at you in the crowded establishment.
“C’mon Fluttershy, I’ve got that special order you wanted all wrapped up and ready to go! It’s in my room let’s go!” And with a flash the two are gone, Pinkie moving impossibly fast for your eye to catch.
“Oh that Pinkie, she’s certainly a lively one.” You hear a deep chuckle to your right, and you look to see a wiry yellow stallion standing there, looking down at you. “Is there something you need son?”
You mumble another curse beneath your breath and give your head a gentle caress. “Um yes, hello Mister Cake, I’m here to pick up an order for Rarity. I’m her new assistant.” Another rock of pain and another swear. “And uh, do you guys sell ice packs?”
Mister Cake chuckles at your question. “You don’t need to buy an ice pack son. Just hang on a second. Honeybun! Is Miss Rarity’s order finished yet!?” Mister Cake lifts a hoof up to his mouth and calls towards the back, followed by his wife, Misses Cake, sticking her head outside of the door leading into the kitchen.
“Not quite yet, I still have to get it packaged up for travel.” She says, brushing off a light patch of flower that was staining her cheek before disappearing behind the door once more.
“Okay then, why don’t you come with me son? I’ll get you an ice pack. Pinkie, can you help with the customers please!”
In another flash Pinkie has reappeared. Really, how on Equestria does she do that!?
Pinkie dons a blue beret and salutes Mister Cake. “A, wi wi capiton!” She declares with a fake Franech accent, before giggling and bouncing behind the counter. Ringing the bell on the desk and shouting. “NEXT! NEXT!”
“There you go son, that should help you out.” Mister cake mouths, gently placing an icepack on the table next to you, “And something to help cool you off a little.” He places a bottle of water within your reach.
“Thank you Mister Cake.” You mumble, gently picking up the freezing ice pack in your hooves and laying it flat on the bruise marking where your head had come in contact with the hard wood of the desk, sighing in satisfaction as the cold steals away some of the pain.
“Sure thing, it uh, looks like you’ve gotten yourself pretty beaten up recently.” The older stallion says, and you can tell he’s referring to your black eye and bandaged hoof.
You chuckle a little; you really were getting the hell beat out of you recently that was for sure. “Yeah, I’ve had a rough couple days.”
Mister Cake smiles at you. “Yeah I can tell, well if you need anything just give me a holler, your order should be done in just a few minutes.”
“Sure thing Mister Cake.”
You sigh heavily and take a long drink from your water bottle. Your order, or rather, Rarity’s order, wasn’t quite ready yet. And that meant you had to wait for it, but unfortunately with how crowded Sugarcube Corner was they didn’t really have enough space for you inside, so instead they asked if you were willing to wait outside. Well of course you didn’t want to, the air outside was hot, stuffy, and making you sweat like a pig but you couldn’t find it in yourself to argue.
The line outside of Sugarcube Corner had made little improvement over the course of the past few minutes, a tad shorter perhaps but it looked like all the ponies in it were just as hot and miserable as they were a few moments ago. And boy was it hot and miserable out here, you were seriously considering marching over to the weather office and burning it down, natural weather had to be better than this.
At least the ice pack was helping both keep you cool and easing the pain of your bruised forehead, though you imagine that in this heat that wasn’t going to hold true for much longer. You reach down to take another drink from your water bottle, when you spot Dinky, accompanied by her mother, eyeing the drink with lust in her eyes.
You can tell what she wants, but you decide to make sure. So you hold up the water bottle with a smile and give it a shake, pointing at it with your head. Dinky looks at you, then back at the water bottle and nods.
“Here you go, don’t drink it all at once, you’ll be too full to eat anything when you get inside.” You tell the foal with a grin as she snatches up the water bottle like it’s made of gold.
She takes a few quick drinks, heeding your advice and making sure not to down too much, before she looks at you, pure gratitude in her gaze. “Thanks mister.”
“Sure thing,” You reply, smiling as both Dinky and her mother disappear inside of Sugarcube.
You felt good, helping out Dinky felt like a sort of karmic boost. You really did enjoy giving your fellow pony a hoof; so long as they deserved it of course, you’d been that way since you were a foal. Your mother had once told you that generosity was its own reward, and you were pleased to find that she was more or less right. Of course now you didn’t have anything to drink, and the heat outside would have been made at least slightly bearable if you could wet your whistle with something cold, but seeing that smile on Dinky’s face had been worth it as far as you were concerned.
But, as you were about to find out, not everypony seemed to share that same mentality.
Your attention was drawn to the back of the line, where you had heard shouts and groans of protest. You couldn’t really see what the disturbance was all the way up here but you had enough sense to know that it wasn’t good. You are about to head inside and tell Mister Cake about what’s going on, but right when you hop out of your chair you feel a pair of powerful hooves wrap themselves around your neck.
“YOU!” Is the only thing you hear before you get flung a good dozen feet or so in the opposite direction, landing in the dirt with a thump and a shock of pain from both your neck and your skull.
All around you there is silence, save for a few quiet murmurs from the group of ponies now forming a large circle around you, watching the events unfolding in front of them with fear. You crack open your eyes in just enough time to see a pair of hind hooves hanging dangerously above you, poised to strike.
You quickly roll to your right, avoiding the pair of stomping hooves in the nick of time. A light puff of dust floating up from the ground where they had struck, you waste no more time on the ground, knowing from experience it’s one of the worst places to be in a fight. You scramble to your feet, swearing loudly as a sting of pain erupts from your bandaged hoof, you brave a look down, and you see a dark red crimson circle gently bleeding through the soft white fabric of your bandage. Just great, one of Rarity’s impromptu stitches had popped.
“Alright punk, I’ve been waiting for this.” The stallion in front of you growls. Despite the situation you feel an odd sense of déjà vu creep over you when you see him.
The stallion before you was large, bulky, and big enough to give even Big Mac a slight pause. His muscles were large and rippled underneath his dark blue fur; you feel your heart drop, a stallion about your size? Yeah you could hold your own, even with a wound, but somepony this big…you knew your chances ranged everywhere from slim to none. The stallion held a look of pure hatred in his gaze, and he held your stare challengingly with his own. Though he’s only looking at you through one eye, his other appears to be blackened and bruised.
“Hey, listen; I don’t want any trouble alright.” You try to reason, keeping your voice as level as it could be.
The blue stallion starts pacing back and forth, kicking up dirt and snorting loudly, obviously he was not one for negotiation.
“Okay, if this is about Lily I’m sorry; I’ll apologize right now if you want.”
The stallion snorts again, though this time accompanied by a chuckle. “Oh this is about a lot more than Lily, messing with my mare is one thing, but sucker punching me is another!”
Sucker punching him? You’d never seen this stallion in your life, why on Equestria did he think that….oh dear, suddenly the realization hit you like a freight train, this was the stallion you had apparently knocked out in the middle of a drunken stupor.
You gulp down your fear, readying yourself, obviously appealing to this stallion’s good and merciful side wasn’t going to work, you’d just have to act a little harder than you felt. So you kick up some dirt of your own and get low to the ground, ready to charge when the time came.
“You want to fight huh big guy? I knocked you on your flank drunk; I’ll do it again sober!” Wow, your voice came out a lot braver than you thought it would.
“Oh yeah, real tough talk coming from a pony who can barely stand, hey how about you get a couple of your friends to help you out?”
“Well since you offered…” You smile with relief when you hear the familiar voice.
“Caramel!” You exclaim, looking over with gratefulness in your gaze as your friend approaches, forcing his way through the crowd. “What are you doing here?”
Caramel smiles at you. “Making sure my friend doesn’t get his flank kicked. Now watch me work.” Caramel holds himself up proudly, an air of overconfidence and machismo taking him over, this was a side of Caramel you had never seen before. “Hey blue boy! The department of clichés called, they want their overcompensating, idiotic, hot headed archetype back!”
The comment had obviously struck a nerve with the blue stallion. “Why you little…” He grumbles deeply, eyeing Caramel angrily as he lets the curse sitting on his tongue fade away, then his eyes flick back to you, obviously you were still the prime target for his assault. “Is this all you got for backup!?”
Before you can answer Caramel decides it’s time for another witty remark. “Yeah, I’m this guy’s backup.” He points a nonchalant hoof at you, before a sly grin overtakes his calm and unimposing features. “And this guy is mine.”
You can hear the familiar jingle of a collar and the thumping of powerful hooves signal the arrival of another one of your newest friends. The crowd forming around you parts on its own as a certain large, red, and rather upset looking Apple Family member makes his way towards where you and Caramel stand.
“Big Mac, by Celestia am I glad to see you.” You say thankfully and truthfully, odds were that even with Caramel fighting alongside you the fight wouldn’t exactly end in your favor, but with Big Mac here that was a different story.
“Eeyup…” Never before had that one simple word ever sounded more reassuring, Big Mac doesn’t look at you when he says it, chewing idly on his wheat stalk and eyeing the blue stallion in front of the three of you with the faintest of frowns.
The blue stallion scowls, obviously even this dumb as a brick pony could see that the odds were no longer in his favor. But to your surprise he doesn’t immediately back down, and you’re afraid that the situation may still very well end in a good ol’ fashioned punch up.
The tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife, the ring of ponies that had formed around you were deathly quiet, waiting to see how this will turn out, oblivious to the heat and sun, as this was far more interesting. A brief gust of wind flows by, ruffling your unkempt mane and sending a chill throughout you as the sweat rolling off your body is cooled in the breeze.
“Eh, screw this…I got better stuff to do.” You barely manage to cover up a heavy sigh of relief when the blue stallion says this, marching off deeper into town and disappearing into a house only a few blocks away.
The ring of ponies around you suddenly seem to regain their senses, a good portion of them suddenly realizing that they had given up their place in line at Sugarcube Corner and running off with shouts and swears in order to retrieve them, an even greater number just seem to say buck it and head off somewhere else, tired of waiting in the sun.
You turn towards Big Mac and Caramel, gratitude written plain on your expression. “Thanks guys, I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t shown up.”
Caramel meets your gratitude with a nod, Big Mac with his usual response to everything.
“So what are you guys doing out here, I don’t take it your both out for a Sunday stroll.”
“We were lookin’ for you.” Big Mac answers, this being one of those rare times the big red stallion actually bothered to speak a full sentence.
“Me?” You ask incredulously.
Caramel nods. “Yeah you, Wind Whistler and I were worried sick when you didn’t come home the other night.”
“Really, Wind Whistler was worried sick about me?” You ask, the doubt thick in your voice, last time you checked the mare had wanted you out of her house like you were a bad rat infestation.
Caramel rolls his eyes. “Okay maybe she wasn’t sick but she likes you more than I think either of you realized. After all, you’re the only one who watches that little filly’s cartoon with her.”
“Hey, My Tiny Humans is a great show.” You say with a touch of anger, letting him know that there would be no discussion on the quality of your favorite cartoon.
Caramel grunts in aggravation. “Whatever, you see my point is that we want you to come home. So I enlisted the help of Big Mac here to find you.”
“Well uh, Caramel I won’t be staying at your place any longer.”
Caramel deflates slightly. “What, why not?”
You scuff the ground and look away. “I’ve…got a new business arrangement.” You look up to see that Caramel didn’t really understand what you meant; obviously he was going to need a little more persuading. “Listen, I’ll explain everything in a little bit, but right now I have to finish running an errand. Wait here will you?”
You don’t wait for a reply, limping off towards Sugarcube Corner, your bleeding hoof making it agonizing every step of the way.
They better have my order ready.
Caramel runs a hoof down his face. “So let me get this straight…this mare offered you a job,”
“But she’s not going to pay you for the work.”
“But instead she’s going to let you live with her.”
Caramel sighs. “You’re hopeless…”
Your ears lay back and you give him an indignant look. “And what do you mean by that?”
Caramel shakes his head. “I mean that you just got dumped by a mare and you’re already vying for the attention of another one.”
You know he’s right, in a sense, but you still feel yourself aggravated at having the truth shoved in your face. “No I’m not.”
Caramel persists. “Yes you are, you’ve been here for two months and you’ve been trying to hook up with every other mare you’ve seen, it’s not good for you.”
You’re willing to give him that one. “Yeah, I have okay, but so what? All I want is somepony to be with that’s all, like you and Wind Whistler.”
Caramel groans in pure aggravation. “But that’s not my point, it’s just every mare you pick hasn’t exactly been the cream of the crop. They take advantage of you, and then leave you, and I can’t just sit by and watch that happen to my friend.”
You shake your head defiantly. “No, Rarity wouldn’t do something like that.”
“Oh yeah and how do you know, how long have you two actually known one another, three days?”
“It feels like I’ve known her longer than that! It’s like we’re already friends, I can’t explain it but I’d swear we’ve known each other for more than a few days!”
“Yeah well you can swear all you want but that doesn’t make it true, maybe she’s just using your feelings for some free labor, have you ever thought about that?”
You can feel your anger rising to the surface, Caramel was your friend but that didn’t change the fact that he was insulting Rarity…your Rarity.
“That’s not true.” You manage to get out through gnashing teeth.
“Oh you don’t think so, why is that?” Caramel bites, his own temper flaring just slightly.
“Because I just know!”
“And how is that, why are you so confident that this mare is different?”
“BECAUSE I’M IN LOVE WITH HER!” You snap your mouth closed…had you really just said that?
Neither you nor Caramel say anything for a while, a suffocating cloud of uncomfortable silence growing between you. The only noise is the faint chiming of a grandfather clock sitting idly in the corner of his living room, and the squeaking of the springs of the couch you were sitting on as you move to shift the weight off of your freshly bandaged leg.
“Do you…really mean that?” Caramel asks quietly, searching your face for truth.
You don’t know how to answer at first, absentmindedly biting at the inner part of your cheek as you contemplate your response. Did you…love Rarity? Was this strange feeling love? You didn’t really know, you’d been with many a mare but never had any of them had such an effect on your emotions, your thoughts, it’s like she was always there, always waiting...and Celestia knows you never felt better than when you were with her.
“I…” You choke slightly on the words. “…think I do, yeah.” You suddenly feel a need to talk, to explain, thinking that maybe if you just let it all out you’ll be able to make sense of it. “It’s like…whenever I see her I’m filled with, something, I don’t really know…there’s a warmth in my heart, is that love? Is love something you can feel? And she’s always in my thoughts, I can’t get rid of her, don’t want to get rid of her.” You pinch the bridge of your snout with a hoof and let out a pitiful groan. “Listen, all I know is that I’ve never felt this way before.”
Caramel is quiet for a minute, like he’s contemplating what you just said. He loved Wind Whistler didn’t he? Surely he understood, he had to understand…
“I see, well if you really are in love with her then I know I can’t stop you, no matter what I say, you just…remember that if you ever need somepony to talk to, or if things don’t work out that I’m here okay.” Obviously he still didn’t approve, but you were glad to see that he at least wasn’t going to push it anymore.
“Thanks Caramel, I appreciate it, really I do, you’ve done more for me than I could ever repay.” You tell him, and it was the truth, you hadn’t actually known Caramel for long but he had proven himself to be one of your closest and most trusted of friends.
Caramel waves off your gratitude with a hoof. “Hey don’t mention it. What else are friends for right?”
About ten minutes later you had said your goodbyes to both Caramel and Wind Whistler, the latter of which had made you promise to stop by next Saturday to catch the new episode of your favorite cartoon together, you had said you would. Now you were on your way to Sweet Apple Acres, accompanied by Big Mac, who had been waiting outside while you and Caramel had your little heart to heart in his living room.
Caramel may have gotten on your nerves but at least he had made up for it by the end of your departure, both with his promise of allowing you to return whenever necessary, and by allowing you to bum a couple of his pain pills, which were proving themselves to be helpful with more than just hangovers. Your cut hoof and bruised skull no longer hurt anymore, but your neck was still proving itself a tad annoying.
The walk to Sweet Apple Acres was mostly a quiet one, both due to the fact that Big Mac wasn’t much of a talker, and that you had quite a bit to think about. You had hoped that getting your feelings for Rarity out there would help you feel better, but in truth all it had served to do was make you ponder them even more. Caramel hadn’t been able to tell you if what you were experiencing was love, you figure maybe it’s a little different for everypony, or maybe you didn’t actually love Rarity, maybe you just had some kind of wicked indigestion. Really who knew?
You’d considered talking to Big Mac about it, and then quickly shoved that notion out the nearest window. Big Mac had proven himself a good listener true, but you figure he’s probably not the best in the way of advice.
As the pair of you continue along the lonely dirt road leading to Sweet Apple Acres you wonder what Rarity would do if you confessed. Would she be happy? She had proven herself at the very least flirtatious, so perhaps she was just waiting for you to take the initiative. Or worse, would she be the exact opposite? Caramel was right when he said you two didn’t know each other very well, no matter how long it felt like you two had been acquainted, and you fear that pouring your heart out so soon may very well push her away, before you can even really get to know one another.
You sigh heavily, coming to terms with the fact that you just didn’t know, for now you’d keep your feelings as secret as you could and just work on getting to know Rarity better. And in time…well…just maybe you two could become something more than friends.
“BIG MAAAC!” The shout drags you out of your thoughts, the deep southern twang giving you a yank back into reality. You finally become aware of your surroundings, the giant apple trees hanging over head and blocking out most of the sun was a true enough sign that you had arrived at your destination.
You spy Applejack off in the distance, her golden coat of fur casting a dull shine as she passed through the sun’s rays, rushing towards both you and Big Mac with a fire in her eyes, you can tell that she is far from happy at the moment. You can hear her hooves pounding against the ground with force as she runs towards you, her voice faded off during her initial call for her older brother, becoming nothing but gibberish you couldn’t make out, that was until she got closer and you realized they were actually very colorful swears and curses.
“Why Big Mac ya yella bellied sof’ hooved field snake! Wheredya git off runnin out in tha middle of a harvest!? D’ ya realize yall left me to finish buckin’ all those apples bah mahself!?” Applejack huffs, both her rant and her run having expended all of her breath, sweat is pouring off of her in thick rivulets, a testament to how hard she had been working. She straightens her crooked hat and takes a deep breath, continuing from where she left off. “An’ not ta mention ahm suppose’ ta be lookin’ after our guest! Yall know what he’s like an’ yall know there ain’t no way no how he stayed in bed like he supposta!” You find yourself curious as to whom ‘he’ might be, but you aren’t given a chance to ask. “So, let me ask ya what was so gondarn important that yall bailed on me?”
Big Mac doesn’t answer right away; he takes the time to swish the wheat stalk in his mouth over so it didn’t fall out when he spoke, unable to refuse a few quick chomps before he does so. It’s visibly obvious this does nothing but antagonize his younger sibling, as she lets out a puff of air through her nostrils and squints her eyes, you take a few steps to the side, moving out of the way should she decide to give her brother a kick, you doubt she will…but still, you’d gotten beaten up enough recently.
“Caramel came bah, wanted some help.” He answers, failing to elaborate enough for his sister’s liking.
“Oh yeah, help with what?”
“Lookin’ for somepony.”
Applejack rolls her eyes. “Fer lansakes Macintosh! Jus’ tell me the whole thang!”
Big Mac shows his distress, not in the way typical ponies do, naturally, he doesn’t groan, moan, or so much as break eye contact with his sister, all you can see is a brief exhale of air from his lungs, the tiniest of sighs.
“This feller right here went missin’ and I went with Caramel to go find him.” Big Mac gives a faint tilt of his head in your direction.
Applejack’s squinted gaze falls on you, you look around somewhat nervously, before giving the orange cowpony one of those extremely awkward halfway raised hoof waves. With a flash it’s like an entirely different pony has taken over, Applejacks demeanor and tone doing a complete one-eighty, her face taking on a somewhat sheepish look, like a foal that had been caught with her hoof in the cookie jar, she grins nervously and dodges her green eyes around.
“O-oh, uh, ahm real sorry partner, ah uh, didn’t mean ta scare ya away if yall was lookin’ ta buy.” She laughs forcibly, trying to cover up the quiver in her voice.
You raise an eyebrow. “Uh, actually Miss Applejack I’m not here to shop.”
Applejack looks at you inquisitively. “Ya aint, then what’re yall here for?”
“Well, Miss Applejack you might remember me, I was at your stall a-” Suddenly a series of loud bangs off in the distance gives you a fright, like several loud claps of thunder one after another, the noise is so loud and so out of the blue that both you and Big Mac actually get startled, Big Mac’s idea of ‘startled’ being a faint raising of his eyebrows. But still, you think that’s what it did to the big red stallion. As a matter of fact, the only pony that doesn’t seem to be bothered by the blasts is Applejack, she responds with a sigh and a solemn shake of her head.
“Big Mac, go an’ tell that good fer nothin’ stallion that if he aint well enough to buck apples the right way then he needs to get back in bed…” Applejack orders her brother. Big Mac’s face tightens up and the chewing of his wheat stalk ceases. “Hey, now don’t give me that look, Granny Smith said it herself, he’s part o’ the family now, that means you have ta deal with him jus’ as much as me.” Applejack finishes with a sly grin. You figure this is some kind of payback for Big Mac’s supposed ditching earlier.
You give a shake, you could have sworn Big Mac actually changed expressions there for a minute, he almost looked annoyed! You don’t get to double check his face though, another series of those blasts is heard, your body shrinking away reflexively at the sound.
Applejack shakes her head. “An’ fer lansakes do it fast, preferably before he destroys our entire crop.”
It doesn’t take Big Mac any more persuading than that, he starts off down the dusty road, a slight haste to his step. Your curious as to what all that was about, but your mind is already so clogged up you don’t feel like dwelling on it.
Applejack turns back to you with a smile. “So, what is it yall was sayin’?”
“I was saying that we have actually met before Miss Applejack, I’m that stallion that purchased that golden apple from your stall a few days ago.”
Applejack purses her lips and rubs a hoof underneath her chin, deep in thought. “Now ah don’t think…Oh yeah! You’re that one feller!” Applejack bonks herself in the head. “You’ll know him when ya see him she said…suppose that’s the deal with the lipstick.” The orange mare mumbles to herself, just loud enough for you to hear. This piques your interest; just who was she talking about?
You look over Applejack, eyeing her curiously. “Miss Applejack…just what do you mean by ‘you’ll know him when you see him’?”
Applejack’s eyes go wide and she stands up stiff as a board, scrunching her snout up and dodging her eyes every which way. “Wha-what!? Ah didn’t say nothin’!” You frown, the mare was no good at lying, but you had no intention of dragging this out, whatever was going on with Rarity’s little circle of friends was obviously centered around you, and there isn’t the foggiest doubt in your mind that you’ll be made aware of just what their deal is at some other time. But right now all you want to do is get this last task done, go home, and take a nice warm bath...
You sigh deeply. “Don’t worry about it Miss Applejack…”
Applejack lets out a sigh of her own, though this one seems to be in relief. “Well, uh, sorry ah didn’t recognize you partner…” You notice Applejack run her eyes over you in a somewhat bewildered fashion. “Yall…look a little different than I remember.”
You let out a halfhearted laugh. “Yeah a few days ago I didn’t have a black eye, or a bleeding bandage covered hoof.” You look yourself over, grimacing in disgust when you realize that a thick layer of dirt and grime is also spotting your coat from head to hoof, it must have happened when you got tossed in the dirt by blue boy. “Oh, and I also wasn’t absolutely filthy.”
“Yeah, that’s…probably why ah didn’t recognize ya.”
“Anyway, I have a package for you from Rarity.” You reach into your saddlebag and pull out a rather large square box, pink wrapping paper and a neat little bow covered it, with a card that read For Applejack in Rarity’s unmistakable fancy handwriting.
Applejack lights up when she sees the box. “Wow, that was quick!” The orange apple farmer reaches over and secures the box between her teeth, placing it on her back so she could talk and carry it at the same time. “Be sure ta tell Rare thanks for me. Hey why don’t ya come with me, ah got some nice cold cider waiting for me insahde.”
“Oh, no thanks Applejack, I should probably be getting back to Rarity.” You politely refuse, eager to retire into Rarity’s comfortable, and not to mention air conditioned, Boutique.
“Aw come on, yall look like ya been through hell, trust me this is the least ah can do ta repay ya.” Applejack eggs on, smiling kindly at you,
You look up at the sun; its giant golden rays practically baking you alive…maybe a nice cool drink wouldn’t be so bad. “Oh, why not? Lead the way Miss Applejack.”
Applejack smiles and starts down the dirt road, heading towards the small brown farmhouse resting quietly at the top of the hill farther away. You quickly trot after her.
“So partner, why does Rarity got you running postal for her?” Applejack asks, her green eyes kind yet curious.
“I’m her new assistant.”
“Really? Ah had no idea Rare was hirin’. Ah reckon she could use the help though.” She chuckles.
“Yeah well, it looks like she’s a hard worker, I’m glad to help lift the load a little.”
Applejack nods in agreement. “So, what’s it like workin’ for Rare?”
You smile. “It’s pretty great so far, despite what appearances might lead you to believe.” You reply with a light laugh, referring to your rather bedraggled look.
Applejack looks you over. “Boy ah hope so, ah always thought Rarity would be bossy an’ all but, ah like to think she’d be a little kinder to her worker than that. Well come on insahde, ah’ll go get the cider.” Applejack welcomes you in, the screen door to the quaint farmhouse opening with a squeak.
You step into what appears to be a living room, a couch and a rocking chair sitting idly on top of a finely knit crochet rug, the wallpaper was green and covered in tiny pictures of little red apples, your hooves clacking loudly against the polished floorboards. There appeared to be an old worn out fillies toy resting on the corner of the couch, one of those Smarty Pants dolls that were all the rage way back in the day. The rag doll’s colors had long since faded into a deep dull grey and one of its eyes were missing, the toy was clearly showing its age. The air smells of fresh apple pie and the scent is enough to make you salivate, looking over at the clock you see that lunchtime had long since passed and you find yourself eager for another meal. The air inside was thick and warm, though still less insufferable than the heat outside. There was an old ceiling fan hanging above that was letting out quiet creeks as it spun. Hanging on the far wall are numerous pictures, like a time line custom made for the apple family. They start from what you guess is the very first founding of Sweet Apple Acres, to now, with a picture of Applejack, Applebloom, and Big Mac all huddled together in front of the house you were in now.
“Welcome to the Apple family home, ah no it aint much but we get by.” Applejack declares a touch of bashfulness to her deep southern accent.
“Nonsense, it’s a beautiful home.” You compliment, kicking off some of the dirt from your hooves on the welcome mat near the door, having no desire to ruin the freshly cleaned floor.
Applejack laughs. “Ah can see why Rarity likes you! Yall got good manners for a colt.”
“Thanks Applejack…I think.”
“Yep, now go ahead and have a seat, ah’ll be back with the cider.” You watch as Applejack leans her package up against the wall, before marching off towards the room branching off to your right, there’s the distinct sound of an opening door followed by hooves clopping against stairs as she heads into what you guess is a cellar of sorts.
You do as she says and sit on the green couch that was pushed up against the far wall, moving the Smarty Pants doll over to the wooden rocking chair next to you in order to give yourself more room. You retrieve your locket from around your neck and fall into your old habit of opening and shutting it over and over again.
You sigh comfortably as your pendant continues to make its hypnotic noise; one loud snapping sound after another, the sound pushes away all other thoughts and helps you to clear out your head for the first time in what feels like forever. No thoughts, no worries, just a never ending stream of.
“Here ya are partner! Drink up!” Applejack suddenly snaps you out of your trance, your thoughts rushing back to you as you eye the frothy mug she had balanced on her head. You quickly return the pendant to its rightful place around your neck and retrieve the cup, mumbling your thanks to Applejack.
Applejack places her own mug of cider on the coffee table near the couch and hops up next to you. “Now I don’t remember yall bein’ around last cider season, this your firs’ time havin’ our Apple Family cider?”
“Yeah actually, it looks great.” You praise, taking a few sniffs of the drink in order to discern if it had any alcohol in it, you didn’t want to be rude and decline but you think going back to Rarity’s boutique totally plowed would probably not be the most suitable course of action. Luckily you don’t pick up on anything, or at least nothing prominent enough to get you tipsy.
Applejack smiles. “Well don’t keep me hangin’ drink up partner!” Applejack cheers, before putting the cider to her lips and taking several long drinks, you can hear her gulping loudly from where you sit but that doesn’t bug you, if the farmer had been working as hard as it seemed she deserved a few moments of uncouth behavior as far as you were concerned.
You put the chilly glass of the cup to your lips, the sweet icy liquid pouring down your throat and coating your taste buds in sweet apple goodness. Suddenly you realize how thirsty you are and can’t fight off taking a few more delicious chugs of the yellowish liquid, whatever the Apple Family did to their cider was something they should never change. After you’ve had your fill you pull the cup away, sighing contentedly and running a hoof over your mouth to wipe away any excess juice, suppressing a belch at the same time. To your side you can hear Applejack laugh heartily.
“Well, ah’ll be, I don’t reckon ah’ve ever met a pony that can outdrink me!” You raise an eyebrow when she says that, before you look down and realize you had drained the entire glass…you must have been more thirsty than you thought.
You feel a blush come on as you gently place the cup on the hard wood of the coffee table. You give your sore neck a nervous rub. “I…guess that I was really thirsty, and your cider is…well…it’s quite possibly one of the greatest things I have ever tasted.”
Applejack gives you a toothy grin and finishes off her own drink before she responds. “Well thank ya partner, for both the compliment and the deliverah.”
Suddenly Applejack takes on a more serious look. “But, ah’m afraid there’s one last thang I gotta ask ya.”
You suppress an inward sigh. Here we go again.
“Now ah ain’t gonna beat round the bush here, ah figure the best way to ask this is straight up.” Applejack’s honest grass green eyes are looking you over, searching for any sign or indication of your ill will. “Now don’t lie ta me, ah’ll know if ya are.” It didn’t really sound like a threat, at least not in the level way she said it, but you feel as if it may very well be. “How do yall feel about Rarity?”
You resist the urge to facehoof. Were you ever going to escape that question? You sigh, you no longer had the patience or the willpower to lie anymore, not that you thought it’d work anyway, something in the orange mare’s eyes tell you that lying wouldn’t get you anywhere.
“Rarity…” You mumble, more to yourself than anyone else. “How do I feel about Rarity?…Well she’s wonderful, she’s kind, well mannered, generous, she’s done more for me than I could ever repay.” Your eyes light up as your mind starts to fill with images and thoughts of the white unicorn. “And not to mention beautiful, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more perfect and breathtaking mare in all my days.” You look up at the cowpony, your expression tight and resolute. “So, in short Applejack…I’m absolutely crazy about her.”
You notice Applejack purse her lips and look away, her face pensive, like she was thinking over what you just said. “Yall will treat her right? Ya won’t hurt her or nothin’?” You would have been offended at the insinuation, if it wasn’t so obvious from the caring look on Applejack’s face that all she wanted to do was make sure Rarity was safe and cared for, a desire you could sympathize with.
“Applejack I couldn’t live with myself if I ever hurt her.”
Applejack takes another pensive moment to think that over before she responds. “Well in that case…ah don’t think there’s anythin’ ta worry about.” Applejack then hops off the couch, heading to the door. “Well come on then, ah’m sure yall are eager to get back ta yer mare and all, ah’ll walk ya to the edge of the farm.”
You hop down after her, your neck popping from the sudden movement and sending a large wave of pain shooting throughout your body. You grind your teeth through the aggravation and walk on.
“Well here we are partner, yall have a good day now.” Applejack quips as soon as you reach the edge of Sweet Apple Acres. “And hey, sorry ‘bout divin’ into yer personal feelins an all…” Applejack starts sheepishly. “Yall gotta understand I was jus’-”
You hold up a hoof to stop her. “Looking out for your friend,” You give the mare an understanding half grin. “I know.”
“Well okay then mister psychic.” Applejack jokes with feigned offense. “Yall come back sometahme, yer always welcome here.”
“Sure thing Applejack, tell Big Mac I owe him one for helping me out earlier.”
Applejack nods, tips her hat to you, and then trots off back down the dusty road you two had just traversed. You once again rub at your sore neck, despite the pain pills it still ached, even worse than before.
“Maybe I hurt something.” You groan out loud, half contemplating a quick trip to nurse Redheart’s clinic to make sure you hadn’t done any permanent damage, but you decide against it, remembering that Rarity’s order from Sugarcube Corner was still in you saddlebag, it didn’t feel or smell like some kind of sweet, but you figure it’s best to not take the chance, baked goods sitting inside of a sweaty leather pack all day seldom tasted good later.
You push the pain of your neck to the back of your mind and start towards town.
The door to Carousel Boutique swings open with a chime, the bell tied to the top of the door letting out a jingle as you step inside and shut it again. You sigh in relief as you feel the cold air from inside wash over you like a wonderful blanket of ice; you could already feel your body temperature dropping.
“Coming!” Ah, there she was, the simple sound of Rarity’s voice was enough to perk you up; you lift up your head and cast your gaze towards the top of the staircase, where the fashionista’s voice originated. Your neck immediately gives another shock of pain in protest but you manage to ignore it.
You smile at her as she appears, radiant and gorgeous. Your surprised to find that she had yet to spruce herself up, as she still carried that, ‘just crawled out of bed’ look she wore earlier this morning. Not that you were complaining, Rarity could probably be standing knee deep in garbage right now and you’d still consider her beautiful. It just seemed strange, since she had seemed so upset with her appearance earlier. Actually, speaking of appearances…
“Oh my dear gentlecolt! What on Equestria happened to you!?” The tone of concern in Rarity’s voice is surprising, if not entirely unwelcome, you were pleased to see that she cared, but you’d be lying if you said you wouldn’t have preferred a ‘hello’ instead.
You look away nervously as Rarity rushes towards you with a worry to her eyes; you forgot that you were still covered in dirt from your little tumble with the big guy.
“It’s nothing Rarity I just…I had a run in with that stallion you told me about, it seemed he wasn’t pleased to see me.” You answer, stepping away, afraid that the dirt and grime coating you would upset her.
“Him!” The mare growls fiercely. “I swear if I ever get my hooves on that…that…ruffian!” You are surprised by this new side of the mare you’ve come to know, yet at the same time your oddly touched, it was the harm that he caused you which seemed to upset the usually composed mare after all. “Are you hurt dear?” Rarity lets her tone slide back into one of concern.
You shake your head. “No, nothing but a few scrapes and bruises, he just tossed me in the dirt, that’s all. And um…sorry about bringing it all in here, I’ll clean it up I promise.”
Rarity scoffs at the idea. “Nonsense, don’t worry about the mess, I may be a little OCD but I ensure you that your wellbeing is much more important than a few specks of dirt on my carpet.”
“Thank you Rarity, at least I wasn’t wearing these saddlebags when he threw me, otherwise your book may have been damaged.” You undo the leather strap holding the saddlebag closed, reaching in with your mouth and retrieving the thick hardback.
“Oh, my, you are just the best darling.” The compliment makes you smile. “Here let me take those for you.” The snow white unicorn’s horn glows a light blue as magic envelops both the book and the saddlebags, you feel the weight of the thick burlap removed as she pulls them away, setting them in the corner of the room with care. She turns to you with remorse in her deep blue eyes. “Oh I’m so sorry I put you through that dear, you were still hurt and it was wrong of me to have you running errands so soon.”
“No, don’t be sorry Rarity, it wasn’t your fault. You looked like you needed your rest, and besides after all you’ve done for me running around town for a few hours was the least I could do.” You smile comfortingly at the mare, hoping to alleviate her guilt.
Rarity’s lips curve into a light smile at your words. But a twinkle of regret is still etched into her expression. “Oh why won’t you just let me be miserable for once?”
You grin. “Because you’re all the more beautiful when you smile,”
Rarity giggles and a visible color of red overtake her cheeks; this furthers your happy mood. “Adulatore…” The unicorn mumbles, you don’t know what it means but you guess it was a playful jab of some sort.
“You know, I’m going to start learning foreign languages here pretty soon if you keep that up.”
Rarity rolls her eyes. “Perhaps you should, I find that Istallion and Franech are just wondrously more eloquent than modern Equestrian.” Rarity takes a step closer to you and runs her shining blue eyes over your…head…for some reason. “You know, speaking of Franech, I think you would look great in a beret.”
You repress a laugh; it seemed that Rarity’s calling in life was indeed one of fashion. You’re not sure what to feel about the beret idea though…you’d wear it if Rarity told you to of course, but, it didn’t exactly seem like something you’d want to tell your friends about.
You're brought out of your thoughts of smelly perfume, cheap baguettes, and silly hats when Rarity makes a ‘tisk tisk’ sound and brushes her hoof against your cheek. Her touch feels like silk and your mind blanks as you lose yourself in the contact.
“Aw, you poor thing.” She coos, pouting her lips in a sexy manner and looking over your bruised face. “You’ve had such a rough day. Why don’t you head upstairs and take a bath hmm?”
You almost forget to respond, Rarity’s sweet and honeyed tone throwing all cognitive thoughts out the window. After a few moments of very unflattering sputters you manage to force your lips to cooperate with your desired words.
“Oh yes…I mean yeah that’s uh great, I’d love a shower! Uh bath, I mean.” Way to kill the mood Casanova. You mentally chastise yourself.
Rarity smiles, somewhat devilishly. “Oh exquisite, come with me, I’ll show you how it works. I think you’ll find that my bath is a tad, shall we say, advanced?”
“Wow Rarity, this is, I don’t even think I have words for it.” You marvel at Rarity’s lavish bathing device. You hadn’t gotten a good look at the bathtub when you’d been in here this morning, and looking at it now you can’t help but feel impressed.
The bath itself was carved from a fine white marble, so slick and smooth that you could see your own reflection in the surface. The handles and faucet at the far end were painted a bright gold, shining in the light cast from the lamp above; there was also what appeared to be a panel with several colorful buttons listed with different options, they listed everything from heating and cooling to mood bubbles. Connected to a long black hose and sitting on the side was a shower head, a good way to get clean if you were in a rush. Yet without a doubt the single most impressive thing about this piece of plumbing equipment was its sheer size; you guessed that you could fit at least five or six ponies inside with a little room to spare.
Rarity laughs at the marveled look on your face. “Well, yes I admit it is a bit lavish, but it was a gift from Celestia herself, how was I expected to say no?”
You turn to the unicorn, astonished. “A gift from Celestia?”
Rarity nods. “Well I am an element of harmony you know, I’ve helped save Equestria on more than one occasion. The girls and I all got to pick out our special rewards, I just happened to be in the market for a royal Jacuzzi, that’s all.”
You shake your head, a wide smile spilling across your face. Seriously, rising fashionista, friend of the royal family, element of harmony…no wonder you were smitten with this mare, she was absolutely incredible.
“Well, I’ll allow you some alone time, I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to sit here and gawk as you wash.” The thought makes you blush.
“Well, I wouldn’t really mind…” You slam a hoof into your mouth as soon as those words spill out. You seriously needed to start watching your mouth. You look over to Rarity, trying to cover up what you said with a forced chuckle.
Rarity squints her eyes, smiling coyly as she speaks. “Well, in that case, I might consider joining you.” The honeyed tone to her voice makes your face turn red, and the thought of sharing a bath with the mare of your dreams makes your mouth go dry and your chest grow warm. “Do enjoy yourself…” She makes her way out of the bathroom, the door leading out swinging closed with the faintest of squeaks.
“Oh, that feels sooo good.” You moan, sinking deeper into the hot bathwater that was now steadily rising towards your chest.
You gently pull up your injured hoof, looking over your wound with a noticeable display of concern. You’d removed your bandages and stitches before you began taking your shower, having decided to scrub off the majority of the dirt before filling up the bath. Lest you be floating in your own filth. But sitting alone now provided you the first real opportunity since you’d gotten the cut to really examine it, unfortunately it looked far from healthy. The wound appeared to have been on the fast track to healing, having been properly cleaned and stitched by Rarity, but earlier today when you felt the stitch pop you hadn’t been provided an opportunity to sit down and get it fixed with the same precision and care that she had provided. Your expert medical experimentation hadn’t gotten past wrapping a new bandage around the freshly opened gash to staunch the bleeding.
You’re not so much concerned that it may become infected, after all, you planned on cleaning it up tonight and stopping by Nurse Redheart’s tomorrow so she could take a look. But you can tell just from the sight of the deep cut that the odds of your fur growing back over it are unlikely, and you will probably be left with a nasty looking scar.
You sigh, dunking your hoof back underneath the water with a *blunk* sound, small ripples spreading through the liquid in response. You feel a smile come on as you lean back against the soft tile of the bath, propping your sore neck up and giving it a little support. You can feel your muscles slowly loosen and relax as the warm water does its thing, and you feel so at ease you could practically fall asleep. Unfortunately, with your bruised body finally being given an opportunity to rest, you regret to find that your mind decides it’s time to kick into overdrive. The main topic of discussion for tonight? What it had been for the last three days of course! Rarity! Hooray for predictability!
You allow your mind a moment to drift back to what you said, or well, yelled, at Caramel. You admitted that you were in love with Rarity. Or at least you think you are. Truth be told you still didn’t really know what you felt, and you find yourself met with all those same questions you’d been asking yourself on the road to Sweet Apple Acres. Was this really love? Was love something you could feel? Etcetera etcetera,
You dunk half of your face underneath the water, closing your eyes and exhaling, feeling the vibrations in the water as bubbles rose and popped near your face. This was of course a vain attempt to entertain yourself so you’d stop dwelling on your desire and want for Rarity. Even this foalish act of bubble fun didn’t seem to help. So you give up and let your mind do what it wants, then regret that decision because naturally the darker side of your desires start to peek out of the hidey holes you’d been keeping them in since you’d first realized your other kind of attraction for the fashionista. You groan and lean back again, clonking a hoof against your head to clear away those dirty thoughts. Did she have to get you thinking about sharing a bath?
“Oh my, you certainly enjoy them steamy!” You shoot up, your eyes snapping open at the sound of the voice. Through the white fog created from your hot bath you can make out the unmistakable silhouette of a unicorn.
“Ra-Rarity, what are you doing in here!?” The words flop out of your mouth, you snap your eyes where the fashionista was standing, you feel heat rise to your face as she looks at you with a smile, the sound of her hooves clacking loudly on the tile floor of the bathroom as she makes her way towards the tub.
“Well, as it turns out the girls and I have decided to have another little get together tonight, in two hours to be exact, and I can’t rightly go looking like I’ve just crawled out of bed now can I?” The mare steps closer to the bath, looking you directly in the eye as you make an awkward shift to cover your exposed areas, your position in the water leaving your lap open for view, leaving you feeling oddly vulnerable and self-conscious. “And since you apparently don’t have a problem with it…” She gently dips a hoof into the water, testing the heat. “I figured I might as well join you.”
Your mind barely registers what your hearing, and you figure you must be dreaming, any moment now you’d wake up in cold bathwater and realize you’d passed out and had been in the middle of playing out an adolescent fantasy that was lurking in the darkest parts of your mind. Yep this was all just a dream. Except it wasn’t…the quick pinch to your lower thigh had proven that this was indeed reality.
“You don’t have a problem with me jumping in for a dip…do you my dear gentlecolt?”
“Uh, n-no not at all!”
“Splendid darling.” You feel your mouth go dry and your heart start to thump against your chest as the sleek unicorn slips off the pink robe that had been hanging loosely around her body, magically folding it and placing it on the counter at the other end of the room.
Now you had seen Rarity naked of course, after all, ponies don’t normally wear clothes. But something about seeing her take off an article of clothing, especially in the slow and seductive manner she moved, made something within you stir. You fight away your desire to shrink away as Rarity slowly sinks into the bathwater, a blissful smile on her face as the water slowly rises towards her neck. You do your best to appear as relaxed and calm as possible, but you imagine that your slacked jaw and constant awkward shifting was doing the opposite of what you intended.
“Ah, that is splendid…” Rarity moans as the water rises to her neck, she leans up against the side of the tub to your left, a tad closer than you would have liked. “I say, I doubt there is a single thing in life more pleasant than slipping into a hot bath after a long day. Wouldn’t you agree?”
It takes you a moment to respond, your mind still in the middle of processing this whole situation. “Uh yeah, it’s nice.” You finally manage, your voice coming out weak and forced.
For a moment there’s silence, nothing but the occasional slop of water and the sound of your own beating heart drumming in your ears. You almost don’t realize it when Rarity speaks again.
“Oh, I almost forgot to ask. What did my friend Fluttershy say about my changing of our spa date?” You look over, notice how relaxed and composed Rarity seemed and feel ashamed of yourself for being so on edge. If she was okay with this, why couldn’t you be?
You swallow hard and try to sit up, doing your best to keep that shaky nervous tone out of your voice. “She said it was okay, didn’t seem to like it much though.”
Rarity frowns. “I can understand why, I’ve been moving our spa date around all over the place as of late, I must be making a mess of the poor dear’s schedule.” There’s a touch of guilt in her expression, before it lights back up and she smiles at you. “But hopefully with you around I’ll have a little more free time on my hooves.”
“I’m pleased to help in any way you need me.”
You notice a mischievous smile spread across the mare’s face. “Oh are you now? Well, if you’re so eager to please perhaps you would be a dear and help me get clean?”
You feel a knot tighten in your stomach when she says that and your previous attempt at being nonchalant is thrown out the window.
“Wh-what do you have in mind?”
Rarity slowly slides towards where you sit in the tub, the water sloshing in response to her movement, part of you wants to move away, another seems curious as to where this could possibly be going, you decide to give in to the latter. Rarity stops a few inches in front of you, before spinning around so her back was facing you, she reaches around with a hoof and pulls her wet hair to the side, your almost certain that the only reason she does this is so she can look you square in the eye.
You try your hardest to keep from looking over her curvaceous frame, though find it difficult, Rarity was without a doubt the single most gorgeous mare you had ever laid eyes on. Eventually this temptation fades as your eyes meet, trapping you in a prison of blue as you feel that warmth in your chest make a return.
“I figured that since you’re here, you wouldn’t mind helping me wash my back…” Out of the corner of your eye you can spy a bottle of expensive shampoo dangling suspended in the air by the fashionista’s unicorn magic.
Finding yourself unable to reply with words you hold out a hoof, trembling and unsteady due to the mere thought of what was about to take place. You notice Rarity’s lips curve into an expression of satisfaction as she gives the bottle a light squeeze with her magic, the sparkling blue shampoo forming a neat blob in your open hoof.
“Whenever you’re ready,” She says, placing the bottle nearby, lest you be in need of more shampoo.
You swallow hard and take a moment to calm your trembling legs, if you were going to do this, you wanted to make sure it was one of the best damn things Rarity had ever experienced. One final deep breath and you begin mashing your hooves together, effectively spreading the sparkling blue suds over both of your limbs. Unfortunately you had neglected to think of the open gash on your opposite hoof, which now had a less than bearable amount of shampoo sinking into it, the pain caused is excruciating and forces you to grit your teeth to keep from calling out, but you absolutely refused to let your injury get in the way of this moment.
Slowly you begin to apply the shampoo, gently kneading and spreading the sparkling substance into her smooth white fur. You were being as gentle as your nervous legs were allowing you to be, and you make sure that there isn’t a single spot of this absolutely breathtaking mare’s back left unsoaped before you move on. You meticulously begin to trace your hooves over the mare’s shoulders, upper, and lower back. Rarity seems to pick up on this unnecessary exploration of her body and raises an eyebrow at you over her shoulder; she isn’t displeased it seems, just curious as to your intentions. You don’t pay her glance much mind, focusing instead on seeking out what you were searching for; you had a very special treat in mind for your favorite unicorn. Here’s hoping you hadn’t gotten rusty over the past few months…
The way you saw it, if what Rarity had said was true she hadn’t had much time to pay the spa a visit. And what was the best part about visiting the spa? Why the messages naturally, Rarity was obviously a very stressed out pony, and you guessed that this no doubt also on her physique. It appeared you were right, as you could feel the sheer tension and strain in her muscles as you felt around, several long nights of standing in front of a mannequin no doubt put large amount of strain on the mare’s back and legs.
“Well now that that’s out of the way…” You mumble, your voice coming out much more suave than you had thought it would be, which was fine.
“Um, my dear gentlecolt, do you mind telling me wha-OoOoH!” Rarity’s voice is cut off by a pleasantly surprised groan as you gently begin to rub at her taught shoulders, just rough enough to work out the kinks found wherein. Yep, you still had it. Rarity seems to find herself at a loss for words as you continue to work at her shoulders, smiling wildly as all the pent up tension is slowly and wonderfully being pulled out by your expert hoofwork. You can’t repress a satisfied grin once you see her reaction.
After you feel that the mare’s shoulders have been sufficiently treated you pull your hooves away, dipping them in the water to wash away the excess shampoo covering them, Rarity seems somewhat disappointed by your sudden abrupt stop, and you can see her start to open her mouth to ask for more. But her voice is once again cut off as you start on her upper back, kneading your hooves in large circles just under her shoulder blades, this triggers more groans of satisfaction from the fashionista, you blush at them, realizing that if anypony else were to be listening right now they would probably be thinking that you were in the process of performing another much more erotic act.
You continue your masterful massage for a good twenty minutes, by now the bathwater had started to turn cold, fighting through her hazy mind you notice Rarity’s horn light up as she turns the heat switch to ‘on’. It doesn’t take long for the bathtub to get steamy again, and you find the water almost too warm. You start to wonder if Rarity will switch it back off again, but when you spy the look of pure unadulterated bliss marking her features you realize that the water could be set to boil and she wouldn’t care. So you regretfully pull a hoof away from her magnificent body and flip off the switch.
“Oh, a little lower dear…” Rarity commands, you are quick to comply. “Oh by Celestia that’s fantastic…” You smile when you realize that this is going so wonderfully well, Rarity seems like she’s in another world right now.
It’s now, in the midst of your treatment, that you realize this had been exactly what you wanted. All those dates, all those marefriends, none of them had been able to give you this feeling. Rarity was it; she was the one, a mare that you were just plain happy to please. You give another prod to a particularly stressful spot, eliciting another groan and a whispered ‘yess’ from the unicorn, and you can tell she’s practically on the verge of collapse.
You slowly begin to taper off your work, having fully loosened the tight muscles and overstressed knots along her back. You gently pull away your hooves, cupping a little water in between them and rinsing Rarity off, as she seems too lost within her own rapture to do it herself. It’s during this final wash that you notice the mare begin to teeter, you reach out just in time to catch her as she falls. Blushing intensely as your forced to wrap your hooves around her in order to keep her momentum from propelling you backwards. You look down, noticing her closed eyes and wide smile.
You gulp hard. I think I broke her.
You give the sopping wet fashionista a gentle shake to coerce her out of her slumber. “Rarity, are you okay?” Rarity’s blue eyes open just a sliver, her gaze meeting yours before she lets them close again. Your heart rate quickens exponentially as she leans back, resting her head on your chest and letting out a contented sigh.
You hold her there for a moment, too scared to so much as breathe; this is what you had wanted. And right now everything seems so right…so…perfect. You weren’t sure if this was love, but you were sure of one thing.
If it wasn’t love…it was pretty damn close.
A/N- Second part of Chapter 4, let me know what you guys think. And sorry I didn't get it out any sooner than this. Now you know why I don't really assign dates to when I plan on updating, as I can rarely ever meet them. A little heads up, I'm thinking the next chapter will be kind of an interlude thing from Rarity's point of view as she goes and sees her friends. It won't be anywhere near as long as the actual chapters but I decided to let you all know. Hope you enjoyed!