Wow, these hotels really do serve the high end of the spectrum. You wonder just how much is costs some of these ponies just to stay one night. From what you've seen of the ones going out, it must mostly be the house keeping that gets them. Maybe when you get enough money, you'll rent a room, just for a night. That makes you wonder, do you have an employee discount?
Not that any of that mattered to you, you liked your job as a doorman. It's not so challenging work, keeps you indoors, and as long there is one high class pony looking for a place to crash, you'll never go hungry. It's not that this is the best job you could have gotten in your two years in Equestria, but if you had a cutie mark in something, it would be manning doors.
The ponies were used to you by now. It only took four months on the job for your charm to win them over. Some ponies even consider you a better doorman than most. You even suspect there being better business just for you being there.
Today had been a slow day, not slow in that there were many ponies checking in and out, just not any interesting ponies. No clearly drunk ponies, no disheveled manes, no fluid stained coats, not a single obvious hooker to be seen. Today was just not your day.
Your desk was comfortable enough; it was like sitting in a high school desk. Your legs could move, but just barely. It was better than when it first started, back when you had to sit Indian style just to do your work. The hotel owners figured you at least would have a claim if they denied you a proper desk. Not to mention a large desk by pony standards would give a sense of importance for you and the hotel to anypony walking in.
You chose to take your lunch early today, just leaving a small note on your desk telling others to ring the bell for assistance. You could easily hear it if somepony did, you were just downstairs.
The hotel was nice enough to knock off a small bit of your salary to give you a room in the basement. Using your amateur skills of interior design, you were able to transform an oddly large janitor's closet into a very livable bedroom with dressers, a sink, space for food, and a nice queen sized bed. The janitor was even nice enough to teach you how to disable to alarm on the chemical shower. You didn't want another incident where the EMPs barged in on you, only to find out you attempting to bathe in the ice cold water.
You were in the middle of enjoying a nice salami sandvich when you heard the bell ding. You could tell who it was before you even reached the top of the steps. While most ponies styled their manes like humans did, the mane of your favorite DJ could only be described as poofy.
While the hotel does get new visitors, you tend to see the same ponies fairly often, Vinyl was no exception. Every other Tuesday she would come in a half hour after her marefriend, Octavia. You didn't know their exact arrangement, but you hazard a guess that they come for some "stress release". It was fairly obvious after the night Octavia had to drag a very drunk Vinyl to the elevator after she nearly fell over trying to hit on you. Not that it would have worked, you couldn't understand half her gibberish anyways. She had mentioned something about three being company. You're pretty sure that night was a blur to her, since she never brought it up or acted different to you. You've chatted with her many times while she kept Octavia waiting.
As you neared the top of the steps, you notice she is not herself. For one thing, her shades were on her forehead. She was not crying, but she looked on the verge of it. Another thing was that it was nearly one o’clock; Vinyl normally did not show up until six.
You try to greet her as cheerfully as possible. She is very early.
She's avoiding your gaze. "I've just been worried all week, I thought I might get here early, try to clear my mind before tonight."
You ask her what was wrong, she looked like she was going to fall apart.
Her gaze traveled up to you, ready to release the floodgates. "It's Octy," she stammered "I think I'm losing her."
You don't know how she could possibly think that. From what you have seen of them, they were thick as thieves. You don't even think you've even seen one of them so much as grimace when the other is around. When did she notice this?
She started sniffing, holding back tears. You offer her a tissue which she gratefully accepts. "It was Octy's birthday; we went to the hotel's restaurant. After the main course, I don't remember a thing. I don't even know if Octy got her gift. Heck, I don't even remember what it was!"
At this point, she was breaking down. Her tears fell to the lobby floor, the tissue now thoroughly soaked. In an attempt to comfort her, you go around your desk to give her a hug. The lobby is no place for this, so you take her to the basement. When she started to calm down, you handed her your salad. You told her to eat, she looked hungry.
"Thank you," she smiled, pushing the bowl away "but I'm not really in the mood for a salad at the moment."
It wasn't a question. Food helps the body function, and she said she needed to do some thinking.
"Thanks, I didn't even eat breakfast."
You finish your sandvich and wait for her to finish her salad before asking her to go on with her story.
"Ever since that night, it just hasn't been the same. We still meet up every other week, as you know, but we barely see each other except for then." she paused, the tears starting to come back, "No lunch together, no movies, she won't even come to the gigs I get. I don't know what to do. She doesn't look at me the same."
You're not big on relationships, but you've had your fair share. Typically with this type of thing, it's not that Octavia is mad with her, it's the reason why. If you can find out the reason she is mad, chances are you will be able to fix it, as these situations tend to be misunderstandings.
"You really think it's just a mistake, that Octy is mad at something I didn't do?" She seemed to be understanding, but looked like she had her own ideas. "No no no, she doesn't make mistakes like that, she's calm, she's carefu-" Vinyl abruptly stopped mid thought, appearing to have had an epiphany. While tears started to well up again, her ruby eyes looked like they were ready to burn through a wall. She hissed through her flat teeth. “That two-timing whorse."
You jumped from your chair, hand reaching out and grabbing Vinyl's shoulder before she could get up and bolt for the stairs. Octavia is kind, gentle, and overall one of the sweetest and intellectual ponies you have ever met, she would never cheat. Not only that, but even the slightest hint of a scandal such as this would ruin her musical career. You knew this, Vinyl knows this, but in her state, she won't hear it.
Although she could easily knock you down, she chooses not to, but she does struggle. If you let her go she'll do something rash, and most likely violent. You knew you couldn't keep her here all day, so you do the best thing you can for both of them. Vinyl needs to go to her room, the gym, the spa, wherever she wants to go, as long as it's in the hotel, you need to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't go and hurt Octavia. She needs to get her thoughts together for when she plans to confront Octavia, and then just wait for her to arrive. When she does arrive, you will question her, trying to disguise idle chatter. Octavia does not even think you notice her and Vinyl being together. You need to get the truth for both of them.
Vinyl stops struggling and lays back down, considering your proposition. "Fine," she responded, "but I don't want you to spare me, if she's cheating, I want to know. If I messed up, I want to know. If I'm just imagining things, I want to know."
She shakes your hand and you let her go up to her room, making sure she didn't sneak past you to the door.
You spend the next few hours mulling over your dilemma. What if Octavia was cheating, do you tell Vinyl? If you don't, you'll lose her as a friend forever when she finds out; it would just be a matter of time. If you told on Octavia, then she would never forgive you. Even if she wasn't cheating, you don't think Vinyl will buy it that easily. Yep, no matter how you cut it, you were in one massive clusterbuck of a mess.
It seemed like the massive amount of rich ponies who come through this hotel daily decided to give you the early afternoon to ponder this. By the time three o'clock rolled by, you had just about made up your mind about these things. Just when you think nothing exciting will happen today, the elevator dinged and your favorite blank flank burst through, looking as though he was being hunted.
He was a tiny little earth pony with a purple coat and an alabaster white mane. Purple Quill was his name, but he just liked to be called Quill. His father was a rather famous musician. He would come down every time his father was in town and chat for a while. He got home schooled for the most part, but he is one of the brightest foals you have ever met. You two could talk for hours on end about what is going on in the far reaches in Equestria and debate what people are doing right and wrong. He is very advanced and mature for his age and is one of the ponies who helped you the most with adjusting to Equestrian culture.
He dashed out of the elevator as fast as his little legs could carry him. You told him not to run in the lobby, but that only seemed to alert him to your presence. He turned towards you, sliding a bit on the tile, and started making a sprint right at you. You were about to warn him about his mid-lobby track practice again when you realized he was not slowing down. Instead of stopping at your desk like a normal pony, Quill decided that today he would leap onto and over your desk and tackle you to the ground while giving a mighty roar of "Hide me!"
After a short wrestling match, you were able to get Quill to settle down while you remounted your chair. While he seemed a tad bit calmer, he was still peeking over your desk, as if checking his back. Once you reverted your appearance to make it look like you hadn't just reversed the rolls of a horse ride, you asked him who he was hiding from.
"My father, Filly Grand, we got in a big fight."
This wasn't the first time Quill had gotten in a fight with Filly, usually about small things like where to go to dinner, who was in the right politically, where is the line drawn between techno and dub step. All their fights were described by Quill as unnecessary, idiotic, and avoidable, but he never described a fight as big before. You tell Quill that it can't be that big, fathers tend to forgive. Besides, you had met Filly; he seemed like a perfectly reasonable and rational colt. You doubt he would hold a grudge, against his son no less.
"It's more than a simple argument." he said, attempting to make a pattern of the tiled floor. "My father makes me practice piano, not a whole lot, but enough that it takes up a lot of my time. I don't even like the piano, I just went along with it to make him happy, but I’m done with it now, I can't take it!" Tears started to come to the young foal's eyes as he recalled the event. "I had been playing for two hours when I decided to make my own little version of the piece; I went sharp instead of flat. He told me that if I always changed the rules, I would never become a great musician, I told him off. I yelled at him about my skill with numbers and my love of math and all things logical and he just lost it. He started yelling about how cutthroat the business world was today and how I would be wiped out trying to apply myself for my dream."
You try to comfort Quill as he cries under your desk. You know how fathers can be; it's not as if yours never gave you a hard time. You have no doubt in your mind that his father has only the best intentions for him and just wants to try to set his son up for the best life he can. He was just trying to help you set up the life he could shape you best in. After all, he never said Quill couldn't do it.
"You think so?"
You know so.
In fact, you'll prove it. Filly Grand, with his white mane and slick black coat and piano keys cutiemark, walks out of the elevator and starts for your desk. You keep Quill under the desk and tell him to keep quiet.
"I'm sorry to bother you," he starts, looking worried out of him mind, "but you talk to my son, Quill, have you seen him?"
He looked extremely stressed, was something wrong?
He sighed and leaned on the desk, looking as though he was going to fall apart. "Look, I’m trying to be the best father I can be, but what do you do when you child flat out objects to you? I have been trying to set up Quill to be in the music business his entire life. With a name like mine, he could be utterly awful and he would still sell out. He has got it in his head to go into big business, which is as it sounds, big. He would have tons of competition and would face almost certain failure. And if not, you know how much corruption there is, what if he can't take it? It's not that I think he won't make it; I have every confidence that he could do it. It's just..." He starts to droop, almost falling into a pile on your desk.
He does not want to send his son into an environment where he can't help him.
Filly's ears perk up at your response, knowing you can help. "Exactly! But I don't want to raise my son to resent me for just trying to be the best father I can be. How can I let him explore his dream while keeping him away from corruption?"
You decided to tell him a story to help him understand. A sculptor stood before a great block of ice and decided to chisel a statue out of it. Into every pound of the mallet he put the tortured experiences of long years of toil. Into every twist of the chisel there was a grace born of talent and sweat. Slowly, carefully, the figure of a hero emerged. At long last, when the work was done, a monument worthy of acclaim stood before him.
The fruit of the artist serves no other purpose than as the gift to another. This labor of love he bequeathed to his son. The son received it with appropriate gratitude, put it somewhere among his goods , and shortly forgot about it.
The ice man melted. The noble, upraised arm became a stump; the muscled torso, a ridged pillar; the strong legs, spindles.
Recalling the love with which his father had bestowed the gift, the son decided to salvage the monument and put his own efforts and talents to bear upon it. After long and hard labor, the ice man reemerged as a magnificent water bird.
You explain to Filly that by simply being a good father and setting a good example, he is already shaping his son to be the best person he can be, only Quill's own life experiences can shape him after that.
Filly smiles as you finish your story, a bright look in his eyes. "You're right, I need to keep being a good model for Quill. I need to support what he wants to do with himself, even if he wants to go where I can't protect him." He brings himself off of your desk, turning to go back to the elevator. "But how can I convince Quill that I just want to support him?"
You tilt your head to signal towards your desk, you're sure he'll understand.
Filly gives you a sly wink and enters the elevator to go back up to his room. When the door closes, Quill gets out from under the desk, a small smile on his face. "If he really wants to support me, I think I’m willing to forgive him."
You're glad they could both get over their problems. You give Quill a small hug and send him back up to his room. At least now you only had one mini drama war to worry about. Now it was only a matter of getting a plan together to get the scoop on Octavia. Which would be a lot easier if she did not just walk in the door.
Author's Notes: I'm going to be honest, this did not turn out the way I wanted it to. I had this idea about the story and how I was going to insert the ice man tale and it just fell apart while I wrote it. Not only that but it took me forever to get it finished. I would very much like comments and any tips would be accepted with much gratitude. Thank you for reading and I hope I can make the last part worth the read.
As the grey mare walks across the lobby, your mind buzzes with the many ways you can approach this right. How the conversations starts will dictate how she will respond to your questioning. By the time she had gotten to your desk, you had made up her mind.
Why was she cheating on Vinyl? How could she cheat on Vinyl?
Octavia was literally taken aback at the boldness of your accusations, taking a moment to compose herself. "Not only am I not cheating on Vinyl," she retorted, "but I fail to see how it is any of your business."
Vinyl is a friend, a friend who came to you for help when she suspected the love of her life to be cheating.
The mare simply tips her nose up and starts to walk away.
You explain to her Vinyl's dilemma, being sure to include every detail. You tell her about the birthday night, how she almost stopped seeing her, the odd behavior. As you continue, her face almost starts to slope as she takes a sadder tone. Her eyes drift to the ground, though whether in guilt, shame, or general sadness you cannot tell. She walks slowly back to the desk, unable to meet your gaze.
It is almost a minute after you finish that she can speak. "I didn't realize how sad I was. How much I've been hurting Vinyl. It's hard to believe that we've come to the point where my mood can send her mind racing for an answer." A smile creeps on Octavia's face as she starts looking brighter already.
Perhaps this would turn out alright. Maybe it is possible to get through this while avoiding a big stunt.
"Wait a minute." Octavia's bright face turned fuming red, eyes turning to daggers. "Why am I telling you all this, you are the one trying to steal Vinyl from me!"
What? What force in the universe could influence her to think you had your eyes on Vinyl? Sure she was good looking, but you would never think of breaking them up.
"You don't think I don't remember you trying to take her, on my own birthday no less?"
Now it was your turn to be taken aback. Whatever was going on seemed to be centered on the night of Octavia's birthday. You needed to know what happened that night, and you needed to know now.
Appearing almost calmed by your reaction, Octavia relates the night to you. "It was my birthday; Vinyl had taken me out to the hotel restaurant. She spent the whole night telling me about how I would love my present. How happy I was going to be at the end of tonight. I can't believe I got my hopes up, she's never attempted to do anything that required as much effort as getting a gift." She rolled her eyes as you considered a job as a couples therapist. It wouldn't work. "As usual for our nights out, she drank, a lot. Just as we were about to leave, she told me to wait while she got my gift. I waited there for fifteen minutes, and when I went to look for her what did I find?"
You start to put the pieces together as she continues the story. You could see why she was mad. You would be too if you saw your date drunkenly swooning over an almost stranger. Though a few things still didn't add up, where was the gift, why was Vinyl wasting time talking to you, and most importantly, why the hell did you get the feeling you're more involved than you think?
Octavia's mood seemed to soften as she kept talking. "Looking back, you didn't seem too interested in her in that way, but still. When I see Vinyl practically dripping over your desk, you should consider yourself lucky I didn't buck you in the face." You never considered luck to be a factor in anything, until now. "I tried dragging her to our room, but she kept grumbling about how I was "ruining the surprise" and how "it was going to be awesome". When I got her back to the room, I found everything set up for a romantic night. There were champagne bottles in an ice cooler and even some, umm "special oils". She was too drunk to do anything, so I put her in bed and went to sleep."
Now you remember why that night stood out to you, the maids tend to take unopened bottles of champagne and uneaten food for themselves. These events are few and far between, but that next day they discovered two unopened bottles, so they decided to share one with you. But it made no sense, why would Vinyl order champagne when she knew she was going to get drunk during dinner? It was almost as if she was expec-
At that moment, all the pieces click into place and you are given a full picture of the night, or rather, how it could have gone. The extra alcohol, the flirting, the lack of a physical present, it all made sense. You're unsure whether to tell Octavia about your theory or not, maybe Vinyl should get a piece of her mind for thinking of this to begin with. But now was no time to leave her out, you've gone too deep into this to not let the truth come out.
You try to explain to Octavia as best you can without upsetting her. Her interrupted Vinyl while she was getting her gift. It didn't work.
"Wh- I, she- Where do you get off making such wild accusations about Vinyl. That is an absolutely outrageous statement and is even bordering offensive to both Vinyl and myself." She almost looked disgusted as she backed off towards the elevator. "But it does not matter what you think," she retorted, "I'm getting to the bottom of this now."
You try to stop her from leaving, but it's no use, she's gone. You try to contemplate what you just did. You not only insinuated a hypothetical three way, but you might have just ruined your friendship with two good ponies. What if you were wrong? What if Vinyl never intended to get drunk that night, and the Champaign was for them? What if she just lost the present?
You should never have gotten involved. This is just one big mess. One you're not even sure you can fix. How could anyone fix something like this? They both think the other is cheating, but you know that none of it is true. But the idea festered. It festered in both of their minds right in front of you and you did nothing to stop it. You're a muppet for not stopping it.
Not that you can do anything about it now, you can't stop them from colliding. She had been up there for more than fifty minutes now, they had definitely talked by now. Why hadn't one of them left? Should you be worried? What if one of them lost it? What if one of them was injured, or worse! Would one of them try to blame you for this? Would someone find motive for you?
You scramble out of your desk, sliding on the marble floor. Moving to the elevator, you keep sliding. You have to tell the janitor to stop with the polish. Just as you reach the elevator, you fall flat on your face.
You decide that your face isn't much to look at and lift it off the reflecting floor to look up at the elevator. A dripping wet Vinyl Scratch stands in the elevator, a slight smile on her face. She offers a hoof to you, the other being used to hold the door. "You look like you need help."
Her sarcastic remark does nothing to calm your mind. What reason could a pony have for taking a shower so early in the day? Perhaps a pony who wanted to wash something... As soon as you are on your feet, you begin to inspect Vinyl intensely. From her legs to her head, the only trace of red was her ruby eyes. She does not stop you, she almost seems amused at your antics. You then attempt to smell her, maybe the shower missed something. While she did not smell of death, she did have an odd scent to her. It was a peculiar, musky smell that reminded you of-
You back off Vinyl, eyes going wide in surprise. Her smile gets wider, she knows you know. You ask her to follow you to your desk to talk about her... condition. You tell her to wait at your desk as you get a towel from your room. As soon as she is dried off, she begins to tell her tale.
"At first," she started, "we were both mad. I said some things, she said some things. We weren't getting anywhere. For a while we were both silent. We just couldn't talk to each other. Then, all of a sudden, we both realized that neither of us could cheat on the other, we love each other too much. There was a lot of crying. Crying turned to hugging. Hugging turned to kissing. Kissing turned to-"
You stopped her right there, you didn't need to hear the rest.
"Yeah, well, I just wanted you to know it went well. And to thank you for listening, for the both of us."
She gives you a slight peck on the cheek and begins back to the elevator. Before she goes in, she turns back. "Oh, and don't be surprised if I still want to give Octy her present. She can't wait."
You begin to blush as she heads back up to her room. It's been one hell of a day. First with Vinyl's side of her problem, keeping her in the hotel and calming her down. Then your business with Quill and Filly kept you busy for a while. Even unraveling the mystery with Octavia and your tiny mental breakdown took some time. All in all it was a good day. You talked more with the hotel guests than you have in weeks. It is rather lucky no one bothered to check in much after your little adventures started up.
It's closing time for you, so you head down to your room to get ready for bed, tomorrow is your day off, but you will find a way to spend it. While in your chemical shower, you hear the door to your room close. Brushing it off as a draft, you finish your shower and head into your room. After toweling off in the dark, you slip on some boxers and slip into your bed in the middle. You expected the furnace to keep your bed warm, but it's warmer than expected. Opening your eyes, you see why. It might have had something to do with someone in your bed. Somepony to be specific. Two someponies to be even more specific. It looks like they thought it would be fun to sneak in while you were showering.
You don't mind them of course, it's nice to have others to share the bed with. You snuggle into the two ponies, hoping they had ideas for your day off.
Author's Notes: Well, after over a week of writing this last part, it's done. A big thanks to TimeTravlnDEMON for giving the only bit of criticism/comment on the whole thing. I tried to make the convincing more, well, convincing. I honestly don't think it worked.
I am going to be honest, I was almost disappointed with my ending. I'm not sure what it is, but I think I could have done better. Please comment so I can get some feedback. Maybe next time I’ll get a proof reader.