“Why don’t we report them?”
“What good would that do, Vinyl? We have no proof it was them. I’m fairly sure they’ll have an airtight alibi. How would they ever be convicted?”
“I don’t know! Something about a rouge ex-cop and his own brand of justice?”
“So we’re just going to do nothing?”
“No, we’re going to beat them in the competition tomorrow night.”
“Yeah, duh. But that’s it?”
“Well, at some point we’ll try to clean up your flat.”
“Better mares than you have tried. ...Well, no, they haven’t, but it’s still a bad idea.”
Octavia smiled and shook her head. “I realize, but it must be done. May Celestia protect us. Now, I need to get to rehearsal, and I believe you have somepony to talk to.”
The two had decided, as the DJ pony had just confirmed, not to inform the law about their late-night visitors. However, Vinyl had decided to tell the owner of the club, in the hopes that it would further convince him to ban Vibrant from working as a DJ there. In addition, the white mare could pick up her paycheck, which would come in handy when Octavia forced her to get a new dress for the music festival. The two were just parting ways.
“Oh, right. Alright, seeya later, Tavi. Love ya.”
The cellist smiled. “The same to you, of course. See you later. You have a gig tonight, correct?”
“Yep! Can I force- I mean, convince you to come?”
Octavia rolled her eyes in mock uncertainty. “Oh, I don’t know. I’m not sure I could handle such an affront to proper music two nights in a row...”
Vinyl’s lip went out, and she pouted. “Aww, Tavi! How can I perform without my sweetheart there to cheer for me?
“Oh, I’m so sorry, dear. Shall I bring a sign that says ‘I <3 THE DJ’?”
“Can you? Please?”
Octavia laughed and kissed the side of her mouth. “I’ll think about it. But I will come. I’ll meet you later for dinner, around seven. Adieu!”
They set off in opposite directions down the street, the grey mare carrying her cello, the unicorn sporting her shades. There was no sign of the scuffles of the previous night, and no pony attempted to stop either of them.
Octavia in particular grinned at this. I suppose they really are too embarrassed to try anything else. Worthless cowards. Now, for rehearsal. Let’s see, today is... She stopped suddenly. Oh, Celestia! Today’s waltzes, and I forgot my music at home! Quickly altering paths, she headed for her own place.
Vinyl, meanwhile, was humming to herself as she trotted through the snow, not minding any other pony or paying much attention to possibility of assailants. We trumped em enough last night, she thought. Of course they’re not gonna show their ugly faces.
After a short while, the white unicorn arrived at the club she had seen Vibrant at the night before. Being fairly late morning, it was likely that nopony was there besides the owner, and perhaps a few ponies who were cleaning and prepping for that night. Vinyl let herself in through the back and made her way to the owner’s office. The name on the door said SALSBURY DOMINAT in large block letters, just like always. Sal never was much for style, she thought. As an earth pony who managed his club by himself, he was a fairly straightforward owner, simple and honest. He’d seen enough, and it was easy to see how he had been able to deal with Vibrant so easily last night.
“You were great! I’m happy to welcome you to the group. You’ll play here, again, tonight. Okay?”
“Yes! Thank you, sir!”
Vinyl, hearing that Sal had company, reached the door and used her magic on the knocker hanging on the front.
“Yeah? Who is it?”
The blue-maned mare pushed open the door with a hoof and saw the young filly from the previous night standing in the owner’s office, looking extremely pleased. Her saddlebags were missing, but she was sporting the same black jacket.
Sal spoke at once. “Ah, Vinyl! Good to see you. I’m sure you’ve come for your paycheck. Hold on just a sec, I have it here somewhere…” He began to rifle through his papers, then looked up and gestured with a hoof. “By the way, this is Evie Stelar, our new kid. I think you met her last night.”
“Yeah, yeah I did. So you did good, kid? I told you. That record come in handy?”
Evie nodded. “Yeah, it did! Thanks again!” A slight hesitation crept into her voice. “Can…Could I hold on to it for a little while longer? I had an idea, something I want to work on.”
“Yeah, go for it! Good luck to you.”
The green mare smiled thankfully as she began to leave the office. “Thanks!”
Sal finally succeeded in locating Vinyl’s paycheck. “Here you go, payday. Mandatory something about it being ‘good to have you on staff and all that.’”
Vinyl grinned and took it in her magic before growing serious once more. “Sal. You know that colt from last night?”
The earth pony looked perplexed. “Yeah, what about him?”
“Don’t hire him. Ever.”
“Why, because he’s a jerk? That’s not really a reason not to hire somepony.”
“No, he’s more than that. Listen, he and his marefriend broke into-” The DJ broke off for a second, unaware of how to explain- “…the apartment of a... friend of mine.” she finished with a lie.
“Were you there?”
“Yeah. I... happened to spend the night.”
“Are you sure it was him?”
“Absolutely. I knocked him out with a lamp.”
Sal looked at her with a mixture of amusement and disbelief. “With a… Okay, not asking. So where is he?”
“Well, he woke up and kinda escaped while we were trying to call the police.”
Sal frowned. “Wait, what? Hold on. This friend of yours… is it that grey mare?”
Vinyl started. “W-Who? Ta- Octavia?” Her mind began to race furiously, unsure. She opened her mouth, then closed it as a sentence popped unbidden into her head from the previous night.
Besides. Maybe we shouldn’t worry too much about that, anyway.
“Yeah, it was her,” she said, somewhat defiantly.
The earth pony gave her a slightly knowing smile. “Oh, I see. Alright, then.”
The white unicorn was unsure of what to do. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What? Nothing! She seems like a nice mare and all. All I’m saying is that maybe you should stop attempting to hide things, y’know? Some ponies aren’t as ignorant as others.” He considered Vinyl a moment as she thought this over, then continued, in a more businesslike tone.
“But that’s none of my business. So you saw him. That’s nice, but no pony is going to buy it, and I can’t deny his DJ credentials on the basis of your word alone. See, I asked around about him a little. Ponies have heard of him, and he might have the qualifications. Don’t know about the attitude, though.” Vinyl looked ready to argue. “Hey, that’s not to say I don’t believe you, because he looked like a creep to me, but if I turn him down for no reason, I’ll get my head handed to me by a lawyer. No. Do you have any proof?”
Vinyl sighed. “…Not exactly.”
“See, that’s a problem. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we just stick with what I told him? He has to win Fancy’s contest before I’ll even look at him. What are the odds of that happening?” His face grew thoughtful. “Hey, are you entering that? That’d be good publicity, if you win.”
“Yeah, me and- yeah, yeah I am.”
Sal grinned again. “Sounds good to me!”
Vinyl, however, was still unsure about Vibrant. “I still don’t want him coming here.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. We have bouncers. As a matter of fact, I met a guy recently that looked like he’d be great for the job. Really big, knife cutie mark. Had some sort of accent, I think…”
The white unicorn’s eyes widened and she began to edge towards the door. “Yeah… I don’t think he sounds like a good fit.”
“You don’t think so? He had his own saucepan, too. Maybe we can hire him as a bouncer-chef. Two for one, you know?”
Vinyl was out the door. “See you later, Sal.”
Octavia arrived at her group rehearsal nearly twenty minutes late, mentally berating herself for her tardiness. This was the third time this week she had arrived so late. The group’s sousaphone player was just finishing packing away her instrument, carefully and neatly, as the cellist nearly galloped into the room.
“Beauty! I’m so sorry, but-”
She stopped when she realized that she was indeed talking to only the mare. Beauty Brass, a friend of Octavia’s, had a bass clef cutie mark and a light blue coat, which stood out all the more, as she was the only pony in the room.
“What’s going on? What happened to practice?”
“Oh! There you are, Octavia. I’m sorry; we decided to move practice to Sunday before you got here.”
“Well, we all wanted to enjoy the day, we decided that we were good enough, we just had rehearsal last night, and” -she looked meaningfully at Octavia- “we were missing a cellist.”
The grey mare looked down at her hooves. “Right... sorry, Beauty. I was... Well, I’m sorry I was late.”
The sousaphonist peered closer at her. “This isn’t like you. There’s something going on, isn’t there? Frederic mentioned that he thought he saw you in Le Equine Foin a couple days ago with some white mare. He wasn’t sure it was you, though, and I didn’t think you were... well, that way inclined.”
Octavia raised her head, then looked down again. Her mind was spinning with what to say, what to do, what to reveal. She and Vinyl had just talked about this, but had they reached a conclusion? No- Oh Celestia, Beauty was still waiting for an answer. The grey mare closed her eyes. What to say, what to do, what to-
“Octavia? Are you okay?”
-reveal, what to- No. A fleeting image of Vinyl flashed before her mind’s eye, and a new resolve came into the cellist. She took a deep breath, then opened her eyes.
“Would it be... a bad thing? If I were?”
Clearly, this was not the response the blue mare was expecting. Her eyes opened wide, and she was speechless for a second. Oh, Celestia, Octavia thought, I’ve ruined everything. I was wrong, we should have kept silent, we should have not talked about this, ponies aren’t ready-
But Beauty was smiling now. “Hey, don’t scare me like that. For a second I thought you were going to tell me you were into puppets, or something weird.”
The grey pony’s hopes rose a fraction of an inch. “I... what?”
“Nothing! Just threw me for a loop. Octavia, a fillyfooler? Wouldn’t have expected it.”
“But... But is that wrong?”
“What? No, at least not by me. I don’t go that way, but I suppose you do. Listen, relationships are relationships, no matter who they’re between. If you’re happy with her, then you should be with her. Nopony cares, or should care, what choices you make besides you.”
Waves of relief washed over the cellist. Nothing wrong...?
“That’s not to say everypony is going to agree. Don’t let the few ponies who think they can get into others’ business run your life. Just...”
Octavia was smiling now. “Just what?”
Beauty smiled back. “Please, please, please try to get to rehearsal on time. Please?”
The grey mare looked chagrined. “Oh, yes.... Let me apologize again. I shall try, I promise.”
She turned to go, then paused. Beauty was still watching her, an amused and surprised, yet somehow enlightened, look on her face.
“Don’t mention it. Dang, never would have guessed it...”
Octavia left grinning.
“See, isn’t this good?”
“I suppose it is enjoyable enough. I do, however, miss my wine...”
“There’s more to alcohol than wine, Tavi.”
The two had reunited for dinner at a restaurant of Vinyl’s choosing this time, a quiet hole-in-the wall place Octavia had walked by a few times and never noticed. It was early evening, and they were enjoying their meals quietly before heading out to Vinyl’s gig later that night.
Octavia sighed. “If it weren’t for that last bit about alcohol, I’d think my way of conversing was rubbing off on you.”
The DJ unicorn raised her glass of cider in her magic and grinned. “My dear, I am a connoisseur.”
“That sounded like me as well. Excellent. Now, for the love of classical music...”
“Oh Celestia, no. Never!”
“Well, a pony can always hope.”
“Won’t do you any good, Tavi.” Vinyl beamed. “How was rehearsal?”
“Oh! I suppose I neglected to mention, I didn’t have rehearsal.”
“Huh? I thought it was planned for today.”
“It was. Apparently they decided to move it to Sunday.”
Octavia sighed. “Well, for one thing, they thought they were practiced enough. For another, they were missing a cellist.”
“Ohhh. So you were late again, huh?”
“Grievously so, yes. I almost can’t help it; leaving your place, I always seem to have to stop by mine to pick up something I’ve forgotten, and then... Well, anyway, by the time I got there, only Beauty remained.”
“Oh, wow. Sounds like I’m rubbing off on you.” Vinyl winked.
The cellist answered with a small smile. “Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.”
“How can it not? There’s more of me! And I’m perfect!”
“Hush, you. What did- what’s that gentlecolt’s name?- Salvatore- say about our little skirmish last night?”
Vinyl was silent for a moment as she recalled her discussion with Sal. Attempting to gather her thoughts on everything he had said, she began, “Well, I told him about it...”
“He said that he believed me, but not many other ponies would. Apparently, even though Lyrica and Creepy-Beats are jerks, they still have some kind of reputation. Sal’s going to consider hiring him if they win the contest.”
“What? Why, how in Equestria can he just-”
“His reputation, I think.”
“Hmph. Did he say anything else?”
Vinyl nodded. “Well... He kinda asked about you.”
“Me? Whatever did I have to do with the conversation?”
“He wanted to know who I was with last night, and then he guessed it was you.”
Octavia considered this. “..Oh, really? And what did he say about that?”
“Something about it being none of his business, but that some ponies are not ‘as ignorant as others’. Tavi, do you think he was telling us to... you know, go bigger?”
Octavia was startled. “ Perhaps. How uncanny, though. My conversation with Beauty took almost the same turn. She was startled, but remarkably accepting.”
It was Vinyl’s turn to show surprise. “What? Yeah, that is weird. So what do we do?”
“I’m not sure, Vinyl. I think for now we should worry more about the competition and leave this until afterwards, like we decided earlier. But, just to know, since I didn’t get a real answer last time...”
“...Would you be adverse to such publicity? I’m simply wondering...”
The DJ shook her head immediately, recalling her resolve during her discussion with Sal. “No, I’m good with that.”
Octavia beamed. “Excellent, then. Let’s go, shall we? Your gig is nearing.”
“Aw, c’mon. We’ve got time, and they’ve got more alcohol...”
“No, you don’t want to be late. Or incapacitated.”
Octavia smiled and got to her hooves to go, trying to prompt Vinyl to do the same. “No. Come, let’s go. We’ll go to my place tonight, afterwards.”
Vinyl sighed and got up, shaking her head in defeat. “Alright, fine. I’m coming!”
Octavia hesitated, then self-consciously kissed the white unicorn, causing them both to blush slightly. They proceeded out quietly, cautious of strange looks from other ponies, but none came.
“See? Now we’re here early!”
“It’s better than being late, isn’t it?”
“Late is fashionable!”
“Vinyl, you wouldn’t know fashionable if it stole your decks and then tried to play accordion music on them. In front of you.”
Octavia laughed. “Come on, let’s go inside.”
They entered the club, Vinyl smiling at the bouncers, who smiled back in recognition. The music hit them like a wave. The white mare immediately began to bob her head, and even the cellist allowed herself to tap a hoof. The beats pumping out of the large speakers placed everywhere was infatuating, and the unicorn craned her neck to see who was on the stage. The crowd was dense, however, and she couldn’t get a clear view.
Octavia nudged her. “Do you have your things?”
“Do you have your things?”
“What? I can’t hear you!”
“Your records! Do you have them?”
Vinyl finally understood. “Oh! Yeah, I dropped them off here before I came to the restaurant.”
The grey mare kept her voice loud enough to be heard over the music. “Oh, good. So who is this?”
“I don’t know! I can’t see!”
“It’s quite go- I mean, it’s not that bad!”
The white mare looked at her with mock astonishment. “What? Tavi, did you just say you liked this? How could you?”
“I never said that! I just said it wasn’t bad!
“No, it’s not! I simply meant that-”
“Same thing same thing same thing same thing same thing same thing-”
Vinyl put on a serious face, and, in the best deadpan Octavia voice she could muster, she said, “Matureness. Oh, yes, indeed. Most indeededly. Smart things. No fun. Wine. Big words.”
Octavia giggled and poked at her with a hoof. “Oh, stop it. That’s not me!”
Vinyl raised her shades to wink, then lowered them again. “If it wasn’t you, then how did you know who I was being?”
“I... I just...” the cellist stopped, realizing the argument was a halfway-decent one. “You really are infuriatingly clever at times.”
“Did you just call me smart? I’m honored!”
“Don’t get used to it.”
“Well, with that emotional boost, I think I’m ready to tackle the crowd!”
“After this pony finishes, whoever he or she may be.” A terrible thought struck the grey mare. “It couldn’t be Vibrant, could it?”
Vinyl shook her head slowly. “I don’t think so. Sal wouldn’t do that, he’d keep his word.. At least, I think...”
“Well, let’s find out!”
The two pushed nervously through the crowd, which was packed and dancing furiously. Several times, Octavia would have to skirt around groups of dancing ponies that Vinyl just merged into, and one time the earth pony bumped into an energetically dancing grey pegasus with a green-white bouffant. The pegasus stopped grooving and turned to look at her long enough to exclaim, “BANANAS!” before going back to his rave.
Note to self, Octavia thought. Next time, send Vinyl to scout for screwy ponies.
Not until they reached the tables at the far end were they able to see the pony responsible for the beat that was driving the mass of dancing. Vinyl stared.
“That new filly!”
Octavia looked quizzical. “Hmm?”
“The new kid! She was here last night, and this morning. What was her name... Evie!”
“She’s new? Well, she seems to have the crowd on her side!”
The song ended, and Evie removed the record with her magic. Smiling happily, yet with an air of uncertainty, she waved a hoof at the crowd before leaving the stage and disappearing through the back door. The crowd cheered lustily for her, then settled down as they awaited the next performer.
Vinyl turned to Tavi. “I guess that’s my cue.”
“Indeed. She was good, though.” Octavia gestured her closer, looking around surreptitiously. Still slightly unsure, she kissed Vinyl like in the restaurant, and then smiled at her. “Break a leg!”
“I always do! Or, I mean, I try not to get injured. Or, I mean... you know what I mean.”
Tavi rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “Just go get them, Vinyl. I’ll sit at this table and attempt to ‘blend’.”
The DJ laughed and turned to go. “Good luck with that, Tavi. Enjoy the show!”
Octavia watched her disappear though the back door to prepare for her set, then laughed to herself as she reached into a saddlebag and pulled out a small sign. She laid it on the table before her. It said, “I <3 THE DJ.” She looked down at it, thinking.
To no pony in particular, she said, “Perhaps I’ll use it. If I feel like it, of course.”
The cellist glanced around the club, then called a nearby waiter for a drink before settling back to enjoy the evening.
Hey, guys. Sorry about the wait again. This time, it was for a good- no, excellent reason!!
As you might have noticed, Mixing Relationships has a new cover picture! And it’s AMAZING! It was created by the incredible JackiePhantom13, because she’s an awesome person who has my eternal gratitude. Here’s her DA: http://jackiephantom13.deviantart.com/ I don’t care how many views she has, she deserves more! Go check out her other stuff, it’s really, really good!
And yes, I did steal Evie's last name from somewhere. +1 if you knew the reference, and for the rest of you, go check out Parov Stelar's music, if you have nothing better to do!
In other news, let me know what you thought of this chapter! It’s a little slower, not as much action as the last one, but hopefully it stands alright on its own. Next chapter, the long-awaited festival arrives!***
[Also, for you guys reading on FiM, it looks like sometimes when I import the story from Google Docs, it randomly deletes some lines. I think I got everything, but if you see a large gap anywhere that looks like it needs a sentence, let me know, please!]