Braeburn stepped off the colorful train, a few saddlebags packed very modestly. He was like his cousin Applejack in that regard: don’t pack anything you weren’t prepared to lose. With nothing but the essentials weighing him down, Braeburn trotted around Ponyville with wide eyes and a wider smile. Relative to Appleoosa, Ponyville seemed like a large, fancy city with its boutiques and fancy restaurants.
A rush of wind blew past Braeburn, knocking his Stetson from his head, and was that…. pink? Braeburn shook his head to clear his thoughts. He turned around to make sure he didn’t miss anything before chuckling at himself. The long train ride did leave him a might puckish and a nice cold drink sure would wet the whistle.
Turning back around, Braeburn was met by two blue eyes that lit up from excitement. They belonged to a pink pony with an abnormally curly mane and tail.
“Well hi! Welcome to Ponyville! I haven’t seen you here before and if I haven’t seen you here before that must mean you’re new! And if you’re new then I get to welcome you!” The pink pony pranced around Braeburn giggling with excitement. Braeburn felt a flush at his face from the suddenness and forwardness of her welcome, or maybe it was just the dehydration. Either way, he wasn’t used to being greeted the same way he’d greet new ponies in Appleoosa.
“Oh my gosh! You must be Applejack’s cousin! She said you were coming today to help with the orchard for an entire week, maybe more if you wanted to sight see! I remember you from the buffalo stampede. Do you remember me? Do you do you do you?”
Pinkie Pie was brow to brow with Braeburn, giving him the most excited look he had ever seen. Pinkie’s eccentric personality had left him dumbstruck; he had never met a pony as forward and hyper as himself. Darn tootin’, she’s even more hyper than mah’self.
“Ah reckon ah do remember ya’ll on that fine day. Ya sang that silly little song in that purple and black getup didn’t ya?”
Pinkie’s smile shattered into a frown, and her demeanor became somber. Looking at Braeburn with sad eyes, she replied,
“It wasn’t that bad, was it? I was just trying to help everypony get along because I think everypony should get along and when ponies are fighting it makes me sad and when I’m sad I want to be happy and when- urmph!”
Braeburn held a hoof to her muzzle, putting an end to her run-on sentence.
“Now ah didn’t say silly was a bad thing, now did ah? Ya sure did put a smile on mah face that day.”
Pinkie released her muzzle from Braeburn’s hoof, smiling wider than ever.
“I did?! Well that’s just super duper awesome! I love making ponies smile. It’s what I do and I’m really happy knowing I made you smile too! Say! Why don’t you come to Sugarcube Corner! That must have been a long train ride and I’d want snacks and stuff if I was cooped up for that long. Appleoosa is far!”
“Well ah reckon that’d be just swell, Miss Pie.” Braeburn tipped off his hat and gave a small bow.
“Hehehehehe *snort* eheheheh.” Pinkie was giggling uncontrollably on the ground. After a few seconds to catch her breathe she responded, “Silly Braeburn! Just call me Pinkie. It’s what all my friends call me, and I love making friends!”
Blushing slightly at his southern formality, Braeburn let loose a soft laugh. Pinkie stood up and was in his face with a wide grin.
“And I absolutely love making my friends laugh! Laughing is my specialty- come on! Let’s go to Sugarcube Corner and laugh together some more!”
Pinkie didn’t give Braeburn time to respond as she grabbed him by the hoof and galloped towards Sugarcube Corner. Braeburn was astounded by Pinkie’s dexterity; she avoided everypony and every object on the way there. She certainly does have a talent for gettin' from point A to B, that’s for sure.
The dinging of the bells echoed throughout the bakery as Pinkie Pie led Braeburn in.
“Well hello there dearies,” Mrs. Cake welcomed. She gasped when she saw the stranger that accompanied Pinkie Pie.
“Well hiya Mrs. Cake!” Pinkie said. Mrs. Cake grinned from ear to ear; she never thought this day would come. Pinkie Pie, holding a handsome stallion’s hoof with such a cheerful disposition. Well, Pinkie Pie always had a cheerful disposition, but it wasn’t everyday that she waltzed around while holding a handsome stallion’s hoof.
“Ooooooh, one second dearies. Gotta go see if the husband needs any help. Now don’t mind me, just take a seat and look around and pick something that looks nice. It’s on the house this time.”
Mrs. Cake sidestepped toward the back. Out of view from the customers, she rushed to go find her husband and tell him the news, or show him if he didn’t believe her. Pinkie Pie closed her eyes and smiled, content to sit there until the Cakes returned. Braeburn looked around wide-eyed. He had never seen so many tasty looking vittles in all his life. The choices were endless and each dessert seemed to look even more delicious than the last. Pinkie noticed the stallion’s head turning rapidly as he tried to decide. Clutching his head between her hooves, she giggled.
“Silly Braeburn! You’ll hurt your neck spinning around like that; I almost did when I was watching Rainbow Dash fly through the sky! She was so dazzling it was unbelievable!”
Braeburn blushed from the sudden contact before retracting himself. Clearing his throat, he responded,
“Ah do apologize Pinkie. It’s just all them vittles look even better than the last. How can ya even begin to decide what tah order?”
“That’s easy peasy lemon squeezey! Well the lemon squeezes are good, but everything here is good! But I LOVE the cupcakes here the best. Those are Mrs. Cake’s specialty, and she’s even taught me some of her secrets. I love working here!”
“Ya work in this tastin’ plantation?” Braeburn asked, amazed that Pinkie could be so fortunate.
“Sure do! I bake, sell baked goods, babysit the baby twin Cakes- oh they’re so much fun Braeburn! I basically learn everything there is to do around here! Oh! You said you were thirsty right! The ice cream floats are super duper!”
“Well ah reckon ah’ll take your word for it,” Braeburn responded.
Mrs. Cake returned with Mr. Cake in tow, a skeptical look on his face. The skepticism turned into shock. Sweet apple buns, she was right! Pinkie Pie, oh how she’s growing up. Handling the twins and now this!
The couple approached Pinkie and Braeburn at the table, both wearing large, smiles that showed they were expecting something.
“Have you two decided on what you’d like to have, hmmmm?” Mr. Cake asked, his tone heavily implying something that went over Pinkie Pie’s head. Braeburn immediately caught on and turned bright scarlet.
“Why yes we have Mr. Cake!” Pinkie replied, her voice reflecting her bubbliness and obliviousness to the situation. “We’d like the variety cupcakes and two root beer floats. The floats would be greatly appreciated. Braeburn here hasn’t had anything to drink since he got on the train. I mean look at him! He’s bright red from thirst!”
“Coming right up dearies!” Mrs. Cake half-sang. Pinkie watched her with a smile. Well she’s in a super mood today! Business must be booming!
Mr. Cake looked at the two ponies, fumbling his words as he tried to ask awkward questions with confidence.
“Well then, when did you two meet?”
Braeburn’s flush reappeared, not going unnoticed by Pinkie Pie.
“Oh, we met awhile ago in Appleoosa. Braeburn is Applejack’s cousin. He’s visiting Ponyville for awhile to help with the farm work, and then it’s back on the train to Appleoosa. Or as Twilight told me, Aaaaaaappleoosa.” Pinkie Pie’s laughter was joined by Braeburn’s. Her impersonation had been spot on, and he wasn’t the type of pony to get sore over being poked fun of.
Mr. Cake watched the two ponies with an endearing look. Pinkie Pie stopped laughing and spoke up. “Speaking of train rides, Braeburn here must be completely super thirsty! Mr. Cake, could he have a glass of water while we wait?”
“Oh that won’t be necessary dearie!” Mrs. Cake called out. She trotted up to their table, a platter balanced perfectly on her back. On the platter was a large glass filled with several scoops of vanilla ice cream and enough soda to leave the perfect amount of foam. Two straws stuck from the tasty masterpiece. The glass was surrounded by a variety of cupcakes, ranging from strawberry to mint and every flavor in between. Placing the tray on the table, Mrs. Cake grabbed Mr. Cake by the hoof and led him to the back of Sugarcube Corner.
“We’ll leave you two alone now, and make sure to enjoy!”
“We will Mrs. Cake, and thanks a bunch!”
“Well now Miss Pie, ah really can’t thank you enough for the warm welcome you done shown me.” Braeburn said, a rosy tint lingering in his cheeks.
“Silly Braeburn, I told you before! Pinkie or Pinkie Pie will do just fine! And I already told you, I LOVE welcoming ponies to ponyville. Now drink up, your cheeks are still red and we don’t want you getting dehydrated. Could you imagine? Dehydrated next to such a tasty looking float... well that’s weird.” Pinkie said, her voice sounding as if she had reached a gap in logic. “Why is there only one big float? I could’ve sworn I asked for two.”
“Well ah reckon…” Braeburn paused, his response lacking confidence. Pinkie looked at him inquisitively. “Well that is to say, we could share this here float. It is quite a hefty size and would be plenty for the both of us. I aint sick or nothing. Ah promise.” Braeburn leaned forward and took a sip from the float, his eyes lighting up as the flavor hit him.
“Ooh that looks like it must be tasty if your face could get that happy. Of course I’ll share!” Pinkie leaned forward, taking a sip. She then let loose a burp powered by the carbonation. Making eye contact with Braeburn, they both let loose their laughter and continued their pleasantries over cupcakes and soda.
“But Mrs. Cake, I was scheduled to work today after lunch.” Pinkie said. Her perplexed expression matched her tone as she tried to consider why the Cakes would give her the day off. Mrs. Cake spoke as she pushed the confused pony across the store and out the door.
“Oh think nothing of it dearie! Just make sure to show your ‘friend’ here a good time around town, okay? We want to hear all about it when you get back tonight!”
Mr. Cake spoke as he walked with Braeburn to the door.
“Now I don’t think I need to ask you to be a proper gentlecolt Mr. Braeburn. You’ve certainly left a fine impression with us and I know you’ll be great to Pinkie. Just make sure to get her home before eight, okay?”
Braeburn’s face exploded with flush as he tried to stammer out a response.
“But ah- we um- well ah-“
Looking at Mr. Cake’s gentle demeanor, he took a deep breath.
“She’ll be back before eight Mr. Cake, sir.”
The door shut behind the two ponies, Pinkie Pie confused and Braeburn uncomfortable. Clearing his throat, Braeburn gave a nervous smile at Pinkie.
“Well, ah certainly would love a look around this here town. Mah cousin Applejack said she’d show me around, but ah wouldn’t mind havin’ a tour guide as wonderful as yourself givin’ me a look see at Ponyville.”
“Okie dokie lokie then!” Pinkie chirped, her previous confusion dissipated at the chance to give a friend a guide around her hometown. “Follow me Braeburn! There’s lots to see!”
“Why am I here again?” Rainbow asked in a deadpan voice. Soft white fabric danced in blue magic around her as it tucked around every curve. Rarity scoffed at her brash friend’s complaints.
“Because, darling, if you are to watch the Wonderbolts Derby from Fancypants’ VIP box, you simply must dress appropriately for it. I had to go through a lot to convince him to allow you to come as well-“
“You asked him once and he said yes!”
“-so you should do your best to leave a good impression if he is to ever consider inviting us to join him in the future. Regardless of Fancypants or not…”
Rarity paused, giving Rainbow Dash a cheeky, knowing look.
“…you never know who is watching. Why I bet in this dress, you could make a lot of hearts go soarin’.”
Rainbow Dash blushed furiously and scowled.
“Whatever you heard is a lie!”
Rarity smiled as she rolled her eyes.
“Yes yes, whatever you say darling. Whoever you choose to dance with is your own business.”
“Now then, let’s get you looking ravishing!”
“But it’s soooooo boring!” Rainbow Dash complained, her hooves rubbing circles on her eyes as she tried to fight off sleep.
“Then look at the window and ponywatch Rainbow Dash. You’d be surprised how much entertainment you can get when nopony thinks you’re watching.” Rarity responded, her voice aggravated by Rainbow’s seemingly ungratefulness for her generous act.
“You mean like Gabby Gums?” Rainbow Dash sarcastically responded. This time it was Rarity’s turn to scowl. Rainbow smiled in victory as she turned to look out the window. Rarity worked some stitching along the backside of Rainbow’s dress, being careful to not allow her anger to show in her work.
“Thank you… for everything.”
Rarity paused to smile, allowing the gratitude from her proud friend to sink in.
“Your very welcome Rainboooooooooow!”
Rainbow Dash yanked herself away from Rarity, her face pressed against the glass.
“Rainbow Dash! You’ve ruined my work! What is the matter with you, you… you-“
Rainbow didn’t let Rarity finish her sentence. Taking Rarity’s head between her hooves, Rainbow Dash pulled the distressed dress-maker to the window.
“Oh my! Is that… Pinkie Pie?! With Braeburn?! Darling, this is unbelievable! How is this even possible?”
“I heard from Applejack that he was comin’ to town to help around on the farm,” Rainbow replied. “Him and Pinkie Pie though… didn’t see that comin’.”
“Now now Rainbow, let’s not jump to conclusions. We’re behaving just like gossiping school fillies. She’s probably just giving him a tour around town, as Pinkie Pie would normally do. Nothing special to see, just move on.”
Rainbow Dash and Rarity gave each other guilty looks.
“Although could you imagine!”
“Ohmygosh I know! Pinkie Pie sealin’ the deal with Braeburn would be the highlight of the century! Could you imagine the family get-togethers? Bahahahahaha!”
The two mares continued their idol gossip and laughter before continuing the mundane task that awaited them.
“And there’s the library! That’s about every place I can think of in town Braeburn. Do you want me to show you the way to Sweet Apple Acres? I know lots of short cuts and stuff- ooh! We could play hide and go seek if we got enough ponies!”
“Well as fun as that sounds, ah reckon ah’d better check in with cousin Applejack first. Ah was supposed to meet her first thing after ah got off the train, but ah got a might distracted.” Braeburn scuffed a hoof against the dirt, pink tinting his cheeks. “And a mighty fine distraction it was too. Ah’d love to learn that Pony Pokey dance ya went on about, if ya have some time this week of course. Mayhaps we could get a bite to eat along the way, just the two of us.”
“Well of course silly! That sounds like fun! I’ll teach you all there is to know about the pony pokey, and there are so many good places to eat, I don’t even know where to begin! Although, I usually start and end at Sugarcube Corner. Then again if I were anypony I’d start and end at Sugarcube Corner.”
“Well then how does tomorrah at six sound? Ah can meet you at Sugarcube Corner, seein’ how ah’d hate to break your tradition.”
“Sounds like a plan Braeburn! See you at six!” With a skip and a leap, Pinkie bounced off back towards Sugarcube Corner. Braeburn tilted his Stetson forward, concealing his blush and trotted towards Sweet Apple Acres, the farm being the last thing on his mind.
Pinkie Pie bounced through Ponyville Square, elated to have made a wonderful new friend. Rainbow Dash and Rarity approached her, their work at the boutique completed.
“Well hiya girls!” Pinkie chirped. “What were you two doing all day?”
“We should ask you the same question with Braeburn, darling,” Rarity responded, her face giving Pinkie a wicked smirk. Pinkie only looked confused by Rarity’s expression. Sighing, Rarity responded. “We were working on Rainbow Dash’s dress for the Wonderbolt’s derby. Now then, tell us all about you and Braeburn!”
“Okie dokie then!” Pinkie said, completely clueless to Rarity’s intentions. Taking a deep breath, she prepared herself for the oncoming run-on sentence. “I saw him walk into town and I knew he was new so I gave my welcome but then he looked thirsty so I thought if he was thirsty I’d take him to Sugarcube Corner but then the Cakes were acting weird but they were nice they gave us free cupcakes and a float which was really weird because I asked for two floats and then they gave me the day off so Braeburn and I thought it’d be a neat idea if I showed him around town but then I finished showing him around town and then!” Gasping for breath, Pinkie Pie waited a few seconds before finishing her story. “Braeburn asked me to show him how to do the Pony Pokey and then said we should have dinner too, but only just the two of us. Weird huh? But I don’t mind, Braeburn’s super cool.”
Rarity and Rainbow Dash looked at Pinkie Pie with devilish grins. Pinkie looked just as confused as she sounded.
“What? What’d I do?”
“Pinkie you player!” Rainbow Dash said, pride in her friend emanating throughout her voice. “Way to score a date with Applejack’s cousin. And best of all, he asked you!”
“I must agree with Rainbow Dash, darling,” Rarity said. “You should be very proud of yourself. You’re truly growing up and you’re being rewarded most graciously. Braeburn is quite a catch; he’s handsome, energetic, and passionate about what he loves to do. Why it’s like he’s the perfect stallion for you.”
Pinkie Pie’s jaw was on the ground.
Her shriek echoed throughout the town, turning the heads of several ponies.
“Nonononono,” Pinkie continued. “Braeburn is just a friend! We are not dating! I mean, where would you even get a silly idea like that from!”
“You showed him around the whole town when he could have just had his, I don’t know, COUSIN SHOW HIM. YOU KNOW, THE PONY HE CAME TO VISIT IN THE FIRST PLACE!” Rainbow Dash yelled, causing Pinkie Pie to shrink back a little.
“But I-I-I was just trying to be a good friend! He asked me to show him around personally!”
“Exactly, darling,” Rarity responded, concern adorning her face. “He asked you because he may have developed some romantic feelings for you.”
“But he only asked me to show him around!” Pinkie looked desperate and her voice matched it. “That doesn’t mean that he-“
“He asked you to go dancing and have dinner with just him Pinkie,” Rainbow said flatly. “The other stuff was kind’ve ambiguous, but that one pretty much sealed the deal.”
Pinkie Pie and Rarity looked at Rainbow Dash in shock, speaking at the same time.
Rainbow Dash gave a guilty smile.
“What? So I look up words I read in Daring Doo. Don’t blame me for wanting to know what’s going on.”
Rarity put a hoof around Pinkie, speaking very delicately to her unstable friend.
“Now now dear. I know you may or may not want to go on this date with Braeburn knowing what you do now. But you agreed to it and it’s only fair to him that you see through to your agreement. If you want to, let him down gently and tell him that you only wish to be friends. He’s a kind pony; he won’t hold it against you.”
“Y-you’re wrong! Both of you!” Pinkie looked shakier than her voice. “Braeburn only wanted to hang out with a friend and I’ll prove it! Pinkie Pie does not give mixed messages!”
Pinkie galloped off towards Sugarcube Corner, desperate to prove her friends wrong.
“Braeburn! Where in tarnation have ya’ been? Ah ain’t seen one hair or hoof of ya’ and your train was supposed ta’ have arrived hours ago. Get explainin’ cous’, and it better be a good one!”
Braeburn did his best to stammer out an appropriate response to his infuriated cousin. He couldn’t lie to Applejack; nopony could. Was it his fault his afternoon had taken a very unexpected turn?
“Well ya’ see cous’,” Braeburn began, blush forming on his face. “Ah’ stepped off the train and entered the square cuz I was plum thirsty after such a long ride.”
Applejack raised an eyebrow curiously, her curiosity peaked by Braeburn’s flushed appearance. Motioning her hoof in the air for him to continue, she spoke.
“W-well ya’ see. Ah’m walkin’ around admirin’ the sights of your beautiful city, when all uh sudden, ah see somethin’ bright and pink and mmmphffff.”
Applejack muffled Braeburn with a hoof, her face forming an apologetic smile.
“Everything’s all right cous’. Ya’ don’t need to explain an encounter with Pinkie Pie. We’ve all been there.” Applejack paused to let out a chuckle. “Ah’ll bet she had ya’ runnin’ around more than Winona on rodeo day! Though you are pretty spunky yourself. You’re probably one of the few ponies in Equestria that can keep up with that one.”
“Ah shucks cous’, ah ain’t that spunky. She does keep ya’ on your hooftips though. Ah reckon ah know Ponyville like ah’ve lived here m’whole life.”
“Ah reckon she does, cous’. Ah reckon she does. Now then, how about we get ya’ll unpacked and getcha some grub. Tomorrow’s gonna be a busy day of applebuckin’. We’ll have ya buckin’ from sunup to sundown. And thank ya’ ahead of time for all the hard work ya’ offered to do for us. Ah can’t think of the last time we had more than two ponies buckin’ through the fields.”
“Tain’t no problem cous’, tain’t no problem at all. Although for tamarrah ahm afraid ah’ll have ta excuse mahself at five. Ah promised Miss Pie ah’d join her for some friendly dinner and dancin’,” Braeburn replied, a slight rosy tint coloring his cheeks. The blush went away as he noticed his cousin’s dumbstruck appearance.
“Oh Pinkie! How did it go dearie? And where is your special friend?” Mrs. Cake inquired.
“My friend Braeburn went to go unpack his things at Sweet Apple Acres. We’re hanging out tomorrow as friends usually do.” Pinkie responded, annoyance in her voice.
“Well now this won’t do,” Mr. Cake said, clearly annoyed. “I told that young stallion to bring you back here himself.”
“Silly Mr. Cake! I know the town way way way waaaaaay better than anypony! It’d be silly for him to make two trips, especially since he was supposed to be at the ranch right after he got off the train. I guess I made him take a teeeensy weeeeensy detour. Hehehehehehe –snort- hehehehe.” Pinkie giggled, her previous worries forgotten under her normal peppy behavior.
“Oh, well I guess that’s okay then,” Mrs. Cake responded. “Do you have any other plans with him, dearie?”
“You bet! I’m gonna show him how to do the Pony Pokey and show him the best places to eat!”
“Now that sounds like a proper first date,” Mr. Cake responded proudly. “He better bring you home after that though, or I’ll give him a stern talking to. It’s only proper he treat you like a lady.”
Pinkie Pie began turning red from anger.
“IT. IS. NOT. A. DATE!” she shrieked. Mrs. and Mr. Cake recoiled from her sudden explosion. “NO! No running away! You’re going to listen to me. I am sick of ponies assuming that just because I’m hanging out with a stallion that I’m DATING HIM. What? Can’t I be allowed to be friends with everypony? IS THAT IT?!”
Pinkie was breathing heavily in the Cake’s faces, her face full of rage. Mr. Cake found the courage to speak up first.
“N-no, Pinkie. We’re really sorry about jumping to conclusions like that. It’s not fair to you, and we do apologize. It’s just that-“
“You two,” Mrs. Cake continued, “looked just so perfect together. I mean he’s probably one of the few ponies that can keep up with you-“
“I know, which is why he’d be a great friend.” Pinkie interrupted, her features showing she was not amused.
“Yes, well, you’ll have to forgive us Pinkie. Maybe it was the way he treated you like a proper lady, or how he was such a gentlecolt to everypony, or maybe it was just the fact that he is drop-dead gorgeous.” Mr. Cake shot her an angry, jealous glance. “Sorry honey muffin, but it’s true. Though you’ll always be the most handsome stallion in Equestria to me. Either way Pinkie, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you did want to date him. Just keep your options open, dearie.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Pinkie spat out venomously. Her hair had deflated in the process and dragged on the ground as she stomped her way upstairs and closed her bedroom door with an audible slam.