Today was going to be a good day. Sweetie Belle could feel it in her blood.
Her precious glass bell was tinkling in the bright sunlight of the April sun. It was chilly, but not enough to dampen her spirits. She had moved in with Rarity, recently celebrated her birthday, and was still in post turning fourteen bliss. To make things even better, Show Tail had been sweeter than ever to her, being the epitome of a gentlecolt. He really could act like a prince to her. He had been opening doors, pulling out her chair, and even walked her around puddles. Could she really be blamed for feeling like a princess? No wonder Rarity had liked Blueblood and Fall Leaf. She could see the perks.
Today though, was a special day. After months of practice, Show Tail had finally gotten the hang of a corkscrew loop, a slightly advanced maneuver, without going completely haywire. He had been so excited that he had learned one of his favorite moves that Sweetie Belle had to go and do something special. She trotted into Sugar Cube Corner on a mission.
“Pinkie Pie, give me two of the biggest, most frosted, delicious carrot cupcakes you have!” Pinkie Pie looked at the filly with her usual broad smile. Her eyes seemed to have an even brighter twinkle than before. Sweetie Belle looked her up and down, questioning if it was even possible for Pinkie to be more... Pinkie. But she was. Pinkie Pie nodded as she packed up the two cupcakes.
"Pinkie Pie. Something good happen?"
Pinkie Pie twirled around, placed the wrapped up cupcakes on the counter and began to dance as she spoke.
“Seuss has been visiting me more and more often! And it’s all thanks to you encouraging me! Thank you Sweetie Belle!”
A good day indeed. Sweetie Belle went on her way after paying, making grand movements to make her bell chime as she walked. The cupcakes would make their usual music sessions much more fun. She made a mental note to pick up the pace after seeing some grey clouds float by. She wasn't sure if that meant rain was coming, but she wouldn't take the chance. Spring was one of those seasons that the crueler pegasi took a sick pleasure to. Sweetie Belle Shook her head and laughed, continuing on her way to their usual rock.
He had to take a mental note to see if he was alive. Had Scootaloo really just asked him to hang out with her? This had to be a dream, a dream that had gone too far. Show Tail stared after her for a moment, confused. She had never asked him to spend time with her. He had always asked her, and then she would agree because she had nothing better to do for the day. This time however, she had come to him with a bright smile and beautiful face. A true angel sent from heaven. A yes squeaked out of his throat. As she flew away, he couldn't believe the information that his brain now held. His mind couldn't help but entertain the thought of possibly getting that kiss from her that he had been vying for and for so long.
His face flushed as he momentarily remembered Sweetie Belle. Kisses were likable for sure. He wanted another one. He flushed, training his eyes on the ground as he walked to the library. Show Tail was delighted to see Snips standing by the door, waving at him. He flew the extra few meters, skidding to a stop past him.
“Hey Snips. Snails with Apple Bloom again?”
He nodded, kicking a rock.
“I helped him pick out a nice tie. Seems that the Apple Family is practicing for the Orange family visit. They’re trying to work on table manners from Applejack, so he’s with her all day. Must be nice to have a fillyfriend.” Snips dramatically waved a hoof at the sky, laughing. “We’ll get them eventually. You have Scootaloo. I don't know who I like anymore, Tails...”
“Don't worry Snips, you’ll get her soon enough. Let’s go read the next edition of The Crimson Stallion. Been waiting too long to see if he makes it to the Lair of Ice to beat the Golden Mare!” The two raced into the library. Show Tail had a grin on his face that couldn't be moved. He had a date with Scootaloo later. As he sat there though, in the comfort of the tree and a long awaited update, he couldn't help but feel something picking at his brain. Like he’d forgotten something. He shook his head, laughing. It couldn't have possibly been as important as a date with Scootaloo. Nothing could ever be. He nodded to assure himself, but the slightest prick of forgetting something important started to bother him. He pushed it aside for more important matters, like the dastardly affairs of the Silver Stallion’s now villain girlfriend, Golden Mare.
“You should head inside little pony. We’re going to have a big storm later.”
“No thanks. I’m waiting for somepony.” Sweetie Belle smiled up at the pegasus stallion that shrugged and flew off. Sweetie Belle lay back down under the tree, looking around for any sign of the clumsy pegasus falling to earth. She saw nothing but grey skies that made her slump farther into her own sadness. She nudged the bell necklace, hopeful that the sound of the tiny metal clapper against the glass bell would cheer her up. She rang it weakly for a bit before sighing and hiding her head in her hooves. She looked at the carrot cupcakes, remembering how she’d managed to poke it out of him that they were his favorite, how he said he’d once gotten sick eating a baker’s dozen and regretted nothing. She laughed ringing the bell solemnly.
She tried her best to keep herself entertained, even with the wind picking up and the sun hiding behind fat clouds. The thought of him being a knight or prince once again.
“He would be a knight, and come to rescue me from whatever tried to foalnap me and hold me for ransom. All I would have to do is just ring this bell, over and over again. Just ring it. And he’ll hear it and come to save me, just like in the movies. He’ll be here, I know he will. I rang the bell...”
She pushed the dirt with her snout with a sigh. Sweetie Belle snorted the dust off, looking to the sky. The sun was gone, the clouds were now all in place and the low rumble of thunder met her ears. She sighed, laying back down and doing the only thing she could think of. Ring the bell.
The rumble of the thunder jolted him out of his thoughts. Show Tail looked around at the pegasi around him with a slight disdain. Sugar Cube Corner felt cramped and crowded to him. He had expected it to be just the two of them, finally just being together alone. Not flying or practicing or some lame half baked excuse he cooked up to get her to himself, but her asking him.
Only to find out that she was just inviting him to hang out with some other pegasi. The storm outside was the only reason he was even staying. He jumped up at that. He quickly reminded himself that Scootaloo was the reason why he was staying. He gave an impatient flutter of the wings as her laugh floated in the air. He felt a slight smile crawl onto his face. She was always pretty when she laughed. Then again, when was she not pretty? He laughed, slowly slipping back into his own thoughts. By now, the pin prick of something he forgot was now a nail with a hammer over it. It hurt, but it hadn't been pounded in quite yet. He looked up at the counter.
Pinkie Pie was glaring at him. He cringed and faltered back, trying his best to keep his cool around the other pegasi. She was giving him a glare that could burn through titanium. He blinked for only a second, but it was more than enough to allow Pinkie to appear next to him with that still annoyed glare.
“Shouldn’t you... be somewhere with somepony?”
“N... no...” He sputtered out, unsure of what she meant. She placed a hoof on his shoulder with a dry laugh.
“She came in here and bought two carrot cupcakes to share. You were supposed to meet her for a celebration.” Show Tail cringed. She had hit the nail on the head.
“Sweetie... Belle. Sweetie Belle!” He shot to his hooves, looking outside the window frantically. He wasn't surprised to see thick heavy raindrops and lighting streak the sky. Show Tail glanced back to see that the group he was with had all turned their heads away in slight disdain. He gritted his teeth. This wasn't where he should have been at all. He looked up at Pinkie Pie, who shrugged.
“She... may still be there. Lying to a friend is one of the fastest ways to lose a friend FOREVER.” She smiled at him bolting out the door in the rain. She paused a moment later, tapping a hoof to her chin. “Maybe I should have given him an umbrella... Oh well.”
Show Tail blinked the raindrops out of his eyes, almost blinded by the amazing storm his kind had created. He could the adrenaline of the run take over his mind. He felt horrible over all. For forgetting Sweetie Belle, for leaving Scootaloo... He mentally slapped his fourteen year old thought patterns with a bit of maturity. She could still be there, after falling asleep waiting for him. She’d be wet, cold, and upset, and it would all be his fault. This wasn't the time for petty thoughts about silly things. Though he felt like a hero, a prince or a knight.
Some brave pony haybent on saving his mare fair. Show Tail shook his head at that thought. Even in the cold rain he could feel his cheeks flush. When was Sweetie Belle ever his? He bit his lip, fighting back the rain in his eyes with some pain. Sweetie Belle was his friend, but she was not his princess, no matter what. Scootaloo was meant to have that position. The rain was starting to hurt his eyes more. He automatically lifted his rain soaked feathers, hoping to high heavens they weren't too wind mangled and waterlogged to give him lift.
He had a brief moment of self celebration at the few inches he managed to get off the ground before continuing on his way, using his almost uncontrollable speed to his advantage. He’d be there to save his princess.
“Shut up stupid brain.”
He huffed at his own thoughts, reminding himself constantly that it was Scootaloo he wanted, not Sweetie Belle. Scootaloo was the perfect pegasus, the perfect prize for anypony of his race to claim. He had to like her, like all the other colts in his class. It was strange for a pegasus colt not to have a crush on her. She was everything a pegasus could want. That’s what he was told. It made him normal.
He snapped back to the world when he smacked into the tree he was meant to meet her. He looked around frantically at the woods behind it. The first speck of white sent him reeling. He bounded towards it, yelping out a ‘Sweetie Belle’... at sopping wet carrot scented mush that could have only been cupcakes.
“She really did remember... Great.”
“Come on you dumb bell. You’re supposed to ring...” She sighed, continuing her somber walk through the town. She had decided to just go home after he had failed to appear. She had left as slowly as possible, giving him precious seconds to come and sweep her off her hooves and fly her to Sugar Cube Corner to get more cupcakes to save the day.
All she had to her day was a broken heart. She knew she was crying. The hot tears quickly ran into the cold rain, quickly forgotten. Just like he had forgotten about her. Rarity was right. Love was a horrible thing. All it did was make her feel worse and worse about everything around her. All she wanted to do was to be left alone.
“Sweetie Belle, what are you doin’ here?”
“Big Macintosh? What are you...?”
He smiled at her after spitting out his now water weighted straw.
“Ah’m heading to Fluttershy’s to pick her up for the practice dinner. Granny Smith said Ah have to have my fillyfriend over, no matter how shy she is.” He shrugged, looking the soaking filly over. “How about you come with me to Fluttershy’s? Ah’, sure she won’t mind much.” He nodded to her, pulling her close so she could walk under his umbrella. Sweetie Belle looked up at him, a blush forming on her cheeks. She, like most of the fillies in town had found him a fetching stallion. He was undoubtedly handsome, but that wasn't it. Something else was making her feel drawn to him. It wasn't love, like how she had been for Show Tail, but something special and odd. She felt warm and happy, as if he was a blanket. Yes. He was a blanket she could hide under when the world made her sad. Just like Rarity did. “Now you have to help me get her out of the house.”
“I don't think I should go Mac. I don't think that you would like your family to meet a shy mare like me... And it’s raining now...”
“But Flutter... It’s only practice for when the Oranges come visit, and Granny said Ah have to. Even Apple Bloom’s got her little colt comin.”
She sighed, approaching them with towels. She looked down at the dripping filly. Fluttershy then perked up with a sly smile. She pet Sweetie Belle on the head, drying her off with the towel and putting her on the couch.
“Ah... well you see Sweetie Belle, I hear from the rest that you’ve been asking about the first crushes of ponies... And I’d like to tell you mine, if you don’t mind.” She made that same wide grin she used in dire emergencies of persuasion. Sweetie Belle’s eyes lit up, and she nodded.
Fluttershy grinned, ushering Big Macintosh to sit next to her. He shook himself off one last time before placing a towel on the couch and sitting next to her. She smiled up at him, a look that somehow mixed satisfaction and genuine delight. He smiled back, knowing there was no way he could possibly resist her sweet nature. He kissed her on the crown of her head before she began.
Well, when I was a filly, after I got my cutie mark, I became very interested in animals. In Cloudsdale, there were plenty of birds and other flying things to learn about, but there were so many creatures that can't fly. I didn't really know anypony that lived on the ground... I was a pegasus after all. So I would fly down there on occasion, unable to really learn anything because I was so scared of some of the creatures.
One day though, I happened to wander to this very house. There was a unicorn inside. At first, I was very afraid of him, and then I was a little less when I saw the squirrel on his head. And then, I was delighted when he sent the squirrel over to me. It was very polite. It even shook my hoof. I suddenly lost all fear for a moment and walked over to him. It was the first time I had ever seen a unicorn up close. His mane was filled with dirt, making the grey even darker. His coat was a creamy color, I suppose, but he had these really pretty green eyes that stood out because they didn't seem to fit.
“Hello there! I’ve never seen a pegasus before! I’m Wave Wire.” He was so upfront with me. Of course I cowered a bit, at least until the squirrels nudged me into shaking his hoof. Then I realized that there were animals everywhere! I suddenly forgot all about being shy and ran around asking him about everything. I spent the majority of my day there, and even stayed for dinner with his father. It was a very nice day. I went back home, excited to have met such a pony.
After that, I spent all my free time with him. Wire Wave taught me everything about animals. I used to always wonder why his cutie mark, a broadcasting tower, could possibly make him so good with animals. It didn't take long for me to realize that his talent was speaking in general. He had such a way with the animals. He could make them do anything he wanted without even trying. I called it the Voice.
He would stand tall, and speak in this big voice that didn't possibly look like it could come out of such a tiny colt. But it did. Even though he was barely any taller than me, he could give orders that made you think he was six feet tall. I spent the year with him, each day a crash course in an animal or two. It was so much fun. I think it was halfway between a lesson on bears when he kept floating flowers behind me it was obvious that he liked each other...
I was really happy then. It was funny how we had both just gotten crushes on each other without even realizing it. It was great. We spent the next eight or so months together, playing with animals, taking care of them, sharing in the casual peck on the cheek. I thought that it would go on forever.
I remember my first kiss. He came up to me with a baby bunny, cute and wriggle nosed as could be. I was surprised when he let me have it. I would never turn down such a thing. I smiled to say thank you and he kissed me from there. It was strange and made me tingle. Kisses are like that... We kissed for a moment before he panicked and decided it was time for me to learn about bunnies. It was abnormally in depth lesson, even for him. I had guessed it was because of the bunny.
It was really because he was leaving. The next day, nopony was there. I looked everywhere... only to find a note in the bunny pen, right next to the bunny he had given me. His father had apparently decided that with him being a veterinarian and all, he would get more profit in the city than on the edge of the EverFree. He told me to take care of Angel, and that he would hopefully be back soon.
“I haven't seen him in years. I finally moved into this house to care for all the animals, and of course, Angel here is a living reminder of him. He was the one that noted my Stare, so that too.” She smiled and nuzzled Big Macintosh before continuing. “I’ve got Mac here with me, so I’m fine...” He flushed, giving Fluttershy a peck on the lips. “Now it’s your turn Mac, it’s only fair.”
The stallion could only squirm in place for a few moments before conceding to his fillyfriend’s demand.
Ah was a scrawny little thing when Ah was growing up. Mamma and Dad gave me my first yoke in order to give me some muscle. But Ah was still a bit of a weakling for my size... Taller than mosta the colts, but still scrawnier then the rest of em. They picked on me a bit, Ah know that. ‘Rotten Apple’ an such, but I didn't pay them much mind. They were just bored. Ah did have my fair share of friends though. Mah best friend was a colt though. He was far stronger than the rest of us... He was pitch black, went by the name of Black Torrent. The best swimmer besides a sea pony that Ah ever met. Gave him strong legs that looked like they could carry a full grown mare or two even as a colt. Ah really looked up to him. Even with all the apple bucking I did, Ah never seemed to be strong enough to get them off in one kick. Daddy always told me that it was OK, that Ah would grow into my Apple Family legs in time. And like ma little sister and her cutie marks, Ah wanted it now.
Ah started to stick with Black Torrent though. He taught me how to swim, making my legs get stronger and stronger. We ended up spending a lot of time together... And that’s how Ah ended up liking him as such. He was so nice to me, I couldn't help it. Ah guess it was pretty mutual. He kissed me first an such. Ah would say that we were a couple, but we were very secret about it. We didn't want any of our friends to know we were coltcuddlers. Ah suppose it was our own embarrassment that drove us apart.
“He went on to be famous. Ah went on to be one of Equestria’s best applebuckers. We still send letters. and such, but it ain't the same.” He shrugged and kissed Fluttershy on the nose. “But Ah have may Fluttershy now...” He smiled at her, making her giggle softly. Sweetie Belle couldn't help but smile as well. If this was what love could be like, then maybe it wasn't so bad after all. She was stabbed by her own thoughts. Her brain quickly reminded her of where she was and why she was there. Sweetie Belle started to cry all over again. Fluttershy looked at Big Mac with the softest face she could muster.
“I’ll go tell Rarity that Sweetie is staying at my place... I suppose we can’t go now, can we.” Fluttershy sighed, writing a letter. Big Mac nodded, a resounding ‘eeyup’ coming from him before he froze and began to protest.
“Hey! You just don't wanna go!”
“That’s only a bonus.”
“She’s... not here? Can you tell her I came to visit? And that I’m sorry and I miss her? I really do Miss Rarity... And give her this” Show Tail whimpered up at Rarity, who held a face of utmost confusion. She could have questioned him if he had not taken to the skies. She closed the door, picked up the box, and turned around, taking note of the horn poking out from the kitchen.
“He’s gone you know.” Rarity picked up the filly with magic, placing her on her back and trotting to her room. She placed Sweetie Belle on the bed, taking a brush to the filly’s hair. She walked around, grabbing her idea book and starting to draw lazy dresses. Sweetie Belle harrumphed. She had come home few hours ago after staying at Fluttershy’s and taken a bath to clean off her muddy body. Rarity was dutifully brushing her hair with a sisterly smile. “Fall Leaf and I have been talking. He has a fillyfriend, but sadly, she isn't his type...” Rarity wore a Cheshire grin on her face that made Sweetie Belle laugh.
“Rarity... Is love really worth it?”
Rarity froze a moment, all the things in her magical grasp holding still. She turned to her younger sister with a raised eyebrow, confused.
“Why would you ask that? Love is always worth it darling! My dear little sister, love is what makes the world go round. Love is what makes me sew, makes Twilight read, Fluttershy care for her animals, Rainbow fly, Applejack take care of her farm, Pinkie throw parties... Love makes us do all these grand and wonderful things. Because we love them. There are many different kinds of love.”
“Different... kinds?” Sweetie Belle cringed as the brush resumed. Rarity took a seat next to her on the bed, looking at her sister with care. She had never expected that she would be the one helping her with these sorts of problems. She had always imagined her rather discombobulated but loving mother to be the pony to deal with the affairs of the heart. But their mother had taught her, and Rarity knew she had to pass on the odd seeds of wisdom she had received.
"Well... I love you. And we love mom and dad, right? That's family love. And how I really care about and appreciate my friends. That's how you love your friends. Then you have loving something you do. Like... How you love to sing and I love to sew! Like that." Rarity looked over at Sweetie Belle before continuing. She had to make sure to approach this right. One wrong word could make her hate love forever. She looked into her little sister's attentive eyes and smiled. "Then... You have love, in the romantic sense. It's very... Heavy. It weighs in your heart. You always know it's there. But when you're with your love... And they love you back... It's wonderful. It makes you just... Fly. You feel like you can do anything with them by your side. And you want them to be there forever..." She exhaled the breath she had no clue she had been holding. Her face was flushed red and her heart was racing. She could see those desperately saved images of Fall Leaf crawling out from the back of her mind. All those memories.
The burning one of their first time. It was clumsy, awkward and an all out disaster. She could see him smiling down at her as she giggled and shivered from being caught in the rain. How it was dark and how they curled up together in his living room, staying as quiet as possible. The kisses. That warm smile that made her feel as if everything was going to be alright for the rest of her life. Then after that... Everything went warm. Hot, clumsy, silly and uncoordinated. And yet it was absolutely the pinnacle of perfection...
"Love... Sounds wonderful..."
Rarity snapped out of her reverie at Sweetie Belle speaking. She looked at her with a smile before stretching out and lying next to her, still commanding the brush absentmindedly. Rarity closed her eyes and settled into the sheets, her heart starting to calm. She had succeeded in not completely destroying her sister’s innocent heart.
“Yes Sweetie Belle. But you must remember. If they hurt you too much... then it might not be worth it anymore. You must not let them have complete control over you. Do you understand?” Out of a knee jerk reaction, she grabbed the filly into a tight hug, resting her head on the still slightly damp mane. She smelled sweet mint, a safe and comforting scent. Her sister would only be little for so long. She could finally understand her mother. The thought of Sweetie Belle growing up and being exposed to the painful world was something she could not take. But she couldn't very well lock her up and be happy with herself. The filly had to grow on her own, and no matter how horribly it sat with her, she had to. She had to be strong for her little sister and support her. She clung to Sweetie Belle, feeling the urge to protect her rising.
Rarity held her tighter, as if the world was trying to tear her away from the filly. She was the only wall Sweetie Belle had to defend her, and she was crumbling and starting to cry. It took her a moment to realize that they had both been. Sweetie Belle sniffled into her sister’s coat, wiping her face into it. She looked up once she felt Rarity move. They locked their tearing eyes for only a moment before clutching onto each other as if their lives depended on it.
“R... Rarity... He really hurt my f... feelings...”
Rarity paused a moment, a bit of rage starting to build before she realized that the colt had come to say sorry. It took her a moment to put it all together. That he wasn't as much of an idiot as she had first thought. That he was a bigger one, but in this case, this was a good thing. He liked her, and liked her a lot. What other reason would a colt come by before noon just to see a filly? She sighed deeply, pulling Sweetie Belle to her even tighter.
“And I hurt Fall Leaf’s... But I am trying to fix it... And you’re too young to lose a friendship like that. He came to apologize... You should forgive him eventually.” Rarity let go, shuffling to her hooves. She wiped her face off, turning to the filly with a slight smile. “Also... he left a dozen carrot cupcakes.”
Sweetie Belle bolted upright and bounded off the bed. She stared at her sister in disbelief, till the box was in front of her face. The white and glossy box had the heavenly smell of carrot wafting out of it. She nudged up open and squeaked a bit, a smile spreading across her face. Rarity looked in the box and began to laugh.
“I must say, for a little colt, he’s got some class.” Rarity chucked a bit more at the fondant letters on the cupcakes, all different colors, which collectively spelled out ‘I’M SORRY’. Sweetie Belle was staring at it as if enraptured. “I suppose this means you forgive him.” Sweetie Belle looked up at her with a shrug.
“Let’s go watch come movies, eat cupcakes, and laugh at all the silly fillies being funny in love. We should be laughing at ourselves... But we don't know how our movie will end do we?” Rarity picked up the box with magic and turned to her sister.
“Movies are supposed to have happy endings anyway Rarity!” She dashed past Rarity giggling. Rarity could only hold her smile for so long after she left.
“Life is nothing like a movie my dear little sister...”