She’d dumped him.
“I’m sorry, Timber,” she’d said. There was definitely sadness in her tone, but also cold, scientific fact. Typical of the mare. “I’m sorry, but we’re just not meshing well enough for our relationship to feasibly continue and have a future. I know it hurts, but from a logical point of view, this is the best course of action.”
She even asked if they could still be friends. He was too numb from shock to answer, and could only nod dumbly, before turning and walking out of the library. And just like that, Twilight Sparkle had dumped Timber the blank flank.
He stared into the mug of cider as if the bottom would hold the answers. This was his fourth serving, and none had come to him. So he just sat and stared sadly. The bartender, one Horte Colture, had offered to listen to his troubles, but Timber had politely declined. He needed to figure this out on his own.
The bar was far from empty. On a Friday, the place practically jumped, drawing after dinner drinks from the attached restaurant next door as well as ponies coming in to get their weekend started the only way they knew: inebriated. The jute box setup typically at the back wall was pumping out everything from classic rock to the latest electronica. Mares and Stallions all sat at tables or on benches, laughing and talking and, most importantly, drinking. A beer here, shots there, and wine, rum and vodka all around. There was even an impromptu Darts tournament going on.
Timber didn’t care. The large pony’s mind was on one question: why? What had he done? What hadn’t he done? He couldn’t think of a single thing he’d done wrong. Hearts and Hooves Day had been more than fantastic; he’d taken her on an airship ride over the Everfree and out to Detrot (and was very glad his sister is the captain of the cruise ship Celestia’s Beauty,) took her out to dinner after, and she’d even kissed him goodnight. Everything in between had suggested that they were doing very well. So why, out of nowhere, would she suddenly not want to date him anymore?
“It makes no bucking sense,” he said to himself. “I don’t get it…”
“Oh, you’ve got it alright.”
His head shot up and he noticed he was no longer alone. A lilac-colored Pegasus mare had sat down next to him. Her mid-length mane alternated between baby blue and white, as did her disheveled looking tail. The cloud hiding behind the sun and the violet irises of her eyes reminded him who he was speaking to.
“And, really, if you used it more often,” she continued, “you’d have more mares than you’d know what to do with banging on your door.”
“I’d be happy with just one,” Timber replied, resting his head on his forelegs and the bar as he studied the blue patterns in them. “But it seems I’m not good at meshing.”
“Twilight dumped you, huh?”
“And I have no idea why.”
“Well, buck her, then,” Chaser said with a snort, raising her hoof to get Horte’s attention. “Didn’t know what she had in you, and it’s her loss if she couldn’t see it.”
“It’s just so confusing,” Timber said as she ordered herself a Cosmopolitan. He’d naturally be paying for it, having been taught from his first trip to a bar with his grandfather that if you’re with a lady, she never pays a bit. “Everything was going so well. Then out of nowhere, this.”
“Maybe she was cheating on you,” Chaser suggested.
“Doubt it,” the stallion replied. “She’s too introverted to be like that.”
“Maybe she’s just gay then,” Chaser retorted. “Doesn’t matter. You don’t need a bookworm, with what you do and all.”
She had a point, and maybe that was his trouble. Timber wasn’t your average pony with your average job. Instead of working for a shop or at Sweet Apple Acres, Timber drew a paycheck from the government. And really, he didn’t do all that much for them. Now, that’s not to say he didn’t earn the two thousand bits per month he made. His work was just more sporadic than any pony else’s. If there was an expedition that needed to get somewhere safely, they called him. If something needed to be investigated for anything at all, he was their pony. When Celestia needed a good back massage, well… it was in his range. And he had a wide range. He was a Jack of All Trades, but a master of none. Because of this, he remained a blank flank.
He’d been teased about it all throughout high school and college, but the laughter stopped when Princess Celestia hoof-picked him to be an agent for her. In a nutshell, he was her personal gofer. Anything she needed, he did. And that covered everything your devious mind can come up with. The one thing he’d never done, however, was be her consort. She kept to herself in the matters of physical involvement, mainly because he knew it would be the one order and duty he would refuse.
“Yeah,” Timber said as she sipped her drink. “But, you’d think that would be common ground for us.”
“Well, I don’t know what to tell you, stud.” Cloudchaser set her drink down and looked at him. “I guess she just wasn’t really your special somepony. Nothing you can do but get over her and move on.”
“Yeah,” he sighed. “Just gotta wait for the knife to be pulled out of my heart.”
“She really had you deep, didn’t she?”
“She was my first, Chaser,” Timber replied. “My first real mare-friend. And it just hurts so much…”
“Timbie,” the Pegasus said gently, putting a hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “I know how you’re feeling right now. Your first break up is always the roughest. But look at it this way: At least you didn’t move in with her for five years, get engaged, relocate to Albuquerque, and start a ranch together only to have her dump you for the first stallion she met there.”
Timber looked at her, confused. “What?”
“Point is,” she went on, ignoring him, “it was short, it was sweet, and you’ll remember it forever. That’s how your first love is supposed to be. It happens to nearly everypony. All you can do is move on.”
“I dunno,” Timber said, staring at his half empty cider mug again. “Maybe I should just move out of town, ya know? Distance myself from her and then it’ll stop.”
“You’d better not,” Cloud Chaser replied hotly. “I happen to like it here, and if you move then I’ll have to tell Flitter I’m moving too. And you know how well that would end.”
“So you’d follow me into the Everfree Forest then?” Timber’s head came up and a smile finally cracked his frowny lips. Chaser had to smile back, glad she’d broken his moodiness, even if only for a moment.
“I’d hate every inch of it, but I’d do it. SOME-pony has to keep you out of trouble.”
“Well, I do have a trip to the Griffon Kingdoms next month with Luna…”
“No thanks,” Chaser laughed. “Griffons and me don’t get along.”
“You’re right,” Timber said with a chuckle. “Too much attitude in both of you. I’m surprised you and Rainbow Dash don’t butt heads.”
“It’s easy. I respect her speed, she respects my flexibility.”
“Hey now,” Chaser said, suddenly serious. “No call for that sort of talk.”
“I’m just kidding, Chaser,” Timber said, putting his hooves up in submission.
“Bi, though I may be, I’d never take THAT mare to bed. Too much ego.”
Timber smiled to himself and took a drink. The cider gave him a slight tingle as it went down his throat, the carbonized part bubbling and popping nicely. He set the now empty mug down on the bar and sighed.
“Feel better now,” Cloudchaser asked.
“Yeah,” Timber replied. “Thanks, Chaser.”
“Couldn’t have you being all sad and depressed,” she said with a smile. “Brings down the entire bar mood.”
Timber ordered another cider as Cloudchaser finished her Cosmo, then ordered her another as well. They chatted together into the night about nearly everything. She and Flitter had been out of town for the last two weeks visiting their parents in Cloudsdale and catching up with other relations there. They laughed and talked well into the night, both getting decently drunk and having a generally good time. That is, until, a buff orange Pegasus decided to interrupt their fun.
“Heya, little filly,” the short maned machismo started, leaning firmly against the bar between the two friends. “How bout you and me go dance?”
“Excuse me,” Chaser replied, “but I was talking to my friend here. Go away.”
“Who him,” the over-muscled stallion asked, nonchalantly nodding his head back at Timber, who simply sat there. He knew Chaser could handle herself with this guy. “Dump him then. He’s nothing like me.”
“Clearly,” she retorted. “He’s been taught manners. You must have been too busy doing the ‘roid dance to take that class.”
“You’re funny, girl. Now how about that dance?”
“You know, when mares say no, they mean yes.” The stallion suddenly grabbed her foreleg and pulled her towards the dance floor. He didn’t get far. A gray foreleg with blue zig-zag strips suddenly shot around the buff pony’s neck and drug him to the floor.
“The lady said no, muscle breath!”
A hoof shot into Timber’s face from the side as the large pegasus’ friends came to his rescue, but it didn’t faze him in the slightest. Part of his job was occasional bodyguard, and he’d been hit by manticores with more force. He simply drove an elbow into the buff pony’s sternum as hard as he could. He heard the stallion grunt as he did it again and again before his friends finally bucked him hard enough to let go. All throughout the fight, he could hear Cloudchaser yelling for him to get out of there.
As the buff one rolled away, Timber leapt to his hooves and faced down two other muscled stallions. One was an earth pony like him that he didn’t know, but the other was a white pegasus he recognized from the construction team and, occasionally, the body builder competitions Rarity held every so often. Not that it mattered. If they came at him he was going to buck them past the moon. Fortunately, he didn’t have to.
The two large ponies grabbed their pegasus friend and guided him towards the door. Insults were shouted and Cloudchaser yelled something about drugs making something else shrink besides wings. Timber wasn’t really listening. He was still coming down from the adrenaline rush.
The next thing he knew he was surrounded by ponies from all over the bar. Some congratulated him on a well fought round. Others were laughing about the pegasus’ “wing problems” or something. Timber only noticed the pegasus hugging his neck and thanking him for sticking up for her. Pinkie Pie appeared out of nowhere and threw an improvised “Kicked So Much Flank” party. Some of the customers still believe that she’d been at the bar the entire time, despite her known aversion to harder drinks than non-alcoholic cider, but the mystery is yet another that goes unsolved. Pinkie never told.
Around two in the morning, the party broke up and everypony was asked to leave. Timber remembered staggering out of the bar last, with Cloudchaser on his back, nibbling on his ear drunkenly.
“Mmm...” she slurred. “This ear tastes like hot stud...”
“Careful,” Timber replied as he, clumsily, made his way towards his house. “That’s part of a matched set... you ruin one and you’ll have to buy them both.”
“Ooh that sounds like an invite...”
Timber carried her into his house, leaning on a wall as he walked down the hallway that led to his bedroom. It never occurred to him to take Chaser anywhere else. He was too drunk to remember where she lived, and the way he felt, he didn’t want her going back to her sister just yet.
Sunlight found a crack in the heavy curtain that covered the massive window across from the just as massive bed. The beam of light inched its way slowly down the wall and into the eyes of a massive earth pony.
Timber winced and rolled over, his forehooves wrapping around another pony, pulling her into a warm snuggle. She murmured in her still comatose state, and pushed herself into him. His eyes shot open as he realized that he wasn’t alone. As surprising as it was to wake up with Cloudchaser in his bed, much less his hooves, he felt a strong sense of right about the situation.
He’d slept with Twilight a few times during their short relationship, and he’d woken up happy every time, but something about this felt much better. Here, he felt more at ease then he ever had with the unicron. He couldn’t explain it any more than he could explain why she’d dumped him.
“Can I stay here forever,” he heard Chaser mutter as she snuggled tighter into him.
Timber smiled and nibbled her ear lightly. “Sure.”