Due to how busy my editor Pinkydash has been recently, i have decided to post the unedited version now and updated it when he gets the chance to look at it properly. Consider this a collector's edition of Chapter 5 :)
Humming happily, Ditzy trotted home without a care in the world. She didn’t know who had sent those coupons, but thanked Celestia that they did. Ditzy had been trying to find a way to ask him on a date without actually admitting her feelings; it was a stroke of luck that Crafter received those coupons when he did, she thought she was going to explode trying to ask him.
Before she had met Crafter, Ditzy had all but given up on love; her last coltfriend abandoned her after finding out she was pregnant. At first, she didn’t want to admit to herself that she had a huge crush on the new arrival, afraid he would leave her at a time of great need. But the way Pound Cake instantly took a liking to him, and Crafter’s amazing display of patience, made her realize that perhaps Crafter was worth taking the risk. The hug he gave her yesterday didn’t hurt either.
After Crafter had returned the foal to Mrs. Cake, she had fully embraced her filly-like crush on the green unicorn. As she continued to think about Crafter, her carefree trot turned into a gleeful skip.
“Looks like somepony had a good breakfast.” Chuckled a familiar voice from Ditzy’s side. “The muffins must have been really good today.”
“Hey Carrot Top.” Ditzy said, turning to face her best friend. “The muffins today were the best.”
The yellow, earth pony mare came out from behind the market stall she ran and gave Ditzy a friendly hug. “So who is he?”
“I beg your pardon?” Ditzy asked, startled by Carrot’s bluntness.
“Ditzy, I've known you since kindergarten; I know when you’ve got a crush.” Carrot Top clarified, releasing Ditzy from her hug. “That and you were doing ‘the school filly skip’. So are you going to tell me or not?”
A blush grew on Ditzy’s cheeks; she had been doing that a lot recently. “H-he’s that new pony in town.” She began.
“Hold on, you have a crush on the new guy?” Carrot Top asked, shocked that Ditzy had chosen him instead of somepony she actually knew. “Are you sure about this? I mean, considering what happened last time?”
“I'm not going into this blindly Carrot; I know what I'm doing.” Ditzy defended. “It was only before breakfast this morning that I even accepted the fact that I had a crush on him.”
“I just want you to be careful,” Carrot Top said in a defeated tone “but if you say you know what you’re doing, I won’t stop you.”
Ditzy gave her longtime friend a reassuring hug. “Don’t worry about me. Besides, if he tries anything, Rainbow Dash will have his head.” Despite how much younger Rainbow Dash was compared to Ditzy, she was a loyal friend; sometimes a bit too loyal.
Carrot Top laughed lightly, brushing her curly orange mane out of her eyes. “Yeah, I pray for anypony that gets on her bad side.”
“Yeah me too, but she means well.” Ditzy giggled. “Well I should get home before Dinky wakes up and starts rotting her brain; it was nice talking with you.” Ditzy said, letting go of her friend and spreading her wings. “Good luck with sales today.”
“Thanks, good luck with your crush.” Carrot Top said with a smirk and a wink.
With another blush, Ditzy took off to the sky. The talk with her best friend may not have been expected, but was welcome nonetheless. She wanted to get home to catch her daughter before she dove into the land of cartoons; Ditzy hoped that flying would make up for the lost time.
The landing in her front yard was much more graceful than previous attempts; normally she would have crashed into the small tree just outside the property line, or made a small crater in the grass. This time however, she landed on all fours without a hitch. Allowing herself a proud smile and a mental pat on the back, Ditzy approached the small cottage that was her home. It wasn’t very big, or very fancy, and had definitely seen better days. It might not have been the nicest place to live, but it was home.
Ditzy opened the door into the living room, whose walls desperately needed a fresh layer of plaster, but that was the price of living from paycheck to paycheck. The sounds of fast hoof steps were heard galloping down the stairs as soon as she closed the door. “That was your best landing yet mommy!” a small lilac unicorn filly squealed as she charged towards her mother.
“Thanks sweetie.” Ditzy said, placing her mailbag on the floor and catching her daughter in her forearms for a massive hug. “Now before you start turning your brain into mush, do you have any homework?”
Dinky groaned. “No mom, I don’t have any homework.”
“Are you sure?” Ditzy asked suspiciously, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes I'm sure, now let me go.” Dinky started squirming in an attempt to free herself from her mother’s grasp.
“So what you’re saying is,” Ditzy started “that if I were to look in your saddlebag, I won’t find any assignments?”
“Uhh… Let me go and see if I have any homework.” Dinky smiled sheepishly, getting the point her mother was making.
Ditzy released her daughter and sighed. While Dinky dug through her saddlebag, Ditzy trotted upstairs to her bedroom. Once she was upstairs, the sounds of obnoxious theme songs filled the house, along with Dinky singing along. Ditzy just rolled her eyes; it was a Saturday so she would give her daughter a little leeway. Upon entering her room, Ditzy trotted over to the closet and threw open the doors. She didn’t have the biggest wardrobe, but then again ponies didn’t normally wear clothes.
Ditzy rummaged around the closet for a few minutes, she was looking for something special. Finally she found what she wanted, a small, old cardboard box. Ditzy opened the box to confirm that this was indeed what she was looking for, inside was a neatly folded simple black dress, given to her by her mother for her very first date. Ditzy had worn it to every ‘first date’ she had ever since, it was a tradition she had decided to start just for the heck of it.
Knowing her daughter was already lost to the shrine in the den, Ditzy decided to see if the dress would still fit after Celestia knows how much time in the closet. Placing the box on her bed, Ditzy gingerly lifted the dusty dress from its resting place with her forearms; she made a mental note to visit Rarity to get it refurbished. “Here goes nothing…” she said to herself. Ditzy cautiously lifted the dress over her head and slowly lowered it down. The gown slid past her head with ease, Ditzy took a deep breath to make herself skinnier as she lowered the rest of it around her body, poking her wings out of the two holes specifically designed for pegasi in the back.
The dress fit just as she remembered: perfectly. Ditzy squee’d when she saw her reflection in the mirror; it was like looking directly into the past, the black dress as smooth as silk along her light grey body. Most mares her age had a hard time fitting into clothes they wore once upon a time, she was thankful that her job kept her in shape.
Carefully removing the dress and folding it neatly back up in the box; Ditzy placed it on her back and trotted downstairs. “Dinky, I'm going out for a few minutes. I’ll be back in time to make you breakfast.” She called once she reached the front door and put on her saddlebags, placing the box inside for safety.
“Kay.” Was Dinky’s only reply, she was lying on her back on the couch, lazily watching a show called ‘Foals Next Door’ or something.
With a sigh, Ditzy left the house and began the trot into town. Normally she would have flown, but considering the contents of the box she carried, Ditzy didn’t want to risk it. As much as her coordination had improved, she didn’t trust herself just yet.
The little bell over the door to the Carousel Boutique rang as Ditzy entered, startling her slightly and causing her to let out a small yelp. She had to sneak past the area Crafter lived, she didn’t know what his habits were and didn’t want to risk bumping into him, least she ruin the surprise.
“Ditzy! Darling, what brings you here?” A white unicorn mare with a very stylized purple mane greeted suddenly, earning another frightened yelp from the grey pegasus. “Oh I'm so sorry; I didn’t mean to frighten you.” She apologized.
Taking a few deep breaths to calm herself, Ditzy returned the welcome. “Hello Rarity, I just had something I wanted restored. It’s a bit old, but it’s very important to me and I want it as good as new.” She took the box out of her bags with her mouth and offered it to Rarity.
“Most certainly my dear, I will have it looking better than new in no time.” Rarity took the box from Ditzy with the light blue aura of her magic; she then opened the box to take out the gown in question. “Uhg, you weren’t kidding, this… dress… has definitely seen better days. I'm putting this at the top of my to-do list.” Rarity said, recoiling slightly at the faded, musty fabric.
“How much will it cost?” Ditzy asked, reaching into her saddlebag for her purse.
Rarity gave her a serious look. “This is an emergency case: I don’t charge for emergencies.”
“Oh.” Ditzy said, taken back by Rarity’s strange act of generosity. “Thank you?”
“Think nothing of it darling.” Rarity said, returning to her previous mood in an instant, smiling warmly. “Now who is the lucky stallion?” she asked as she started working on the dress.
Of all the ponies in Ponyville, Ditzy expected this question from Rarity the most. It was no secret that Rarity was a romantic, always demanding to be in the know about whom was dating who. But that didn’t mean it was any less embarrassing to talk about. Ditzy blushed horribly and looked down to avoid eye contact as she dropped her rump to the floor, her reply just barely audible.
“I'm sorry dear, I didn’t catch that.”
She mumbled again, only a little louder this time.
Rarity sighed, shaking her head in disappointment, causing her over-stylized mane to sway. “And here I thought I’d be able to give you sound advice.” Another thing about Rarity was that dating advice from her was highly sought after, and she knew it.
Ditzy sat up straight in an instant, eyes wide and wings twitching with excitement. “Oh. Well. H-he’s th-that new pony in town, you’ve met him right?”
“Oh I have,” the fashionista said in a knowing tone “he’s quite handsome that one. A little shy though. Have you asked him on a date yet?”
“Y-yes, we’re going to the movies this evening.” Ditzy answered shyly, blushing madly.
How cute, she’s head over hoof for him. Rarity thought. “Now this next question is very important, does he know it’s a date?”
“I, uh, don’t know.” Ditzy said, a little unsure of herself.
Rarity just smirked, suspecting that answer. “Did you use the words ‘date’ or ‘go out with me?’ at all?”
Ditzy shook her head. “No, I tried to avoid them actually.”
“In that case I don’t think this dress would be appropriate.” The snowy unicorn replied, placing the fully restored gown, neatly folded in its box, into the pegasus’ saddlebag. “If he’s as awkward as he looked during his welcome party, he has no clue this is a date. Probably won’t even notice your advances unless their blunt.”
Ditzy nodded as her saddlebags were secured. “Thanks, you’re a lifesaver.” Ditzy said gratefully, dipping her head slightly. “Oh, just a heads up, there’s a massive cold front scheduled to move in this evening. It’s going to start getting much colder from here on out.”
“How wonderful, I finally get to wear all those scarves I ordered last week.” Rarity said, skipping off to another room.
Chuckling to herself, Ditzy just shook her head as she turned to leave. Typical Rarity, always concerned with fashion.
When she was gone, Rarity poked her head out of the room to make sure she had left. After confirming that Ditzy had left, she quickly darted over to the kitchen telephone and dialed the desired number with her magic. “Hello? ... Yes, she just left… I was just getting to that dear, calm down. They have a date planned for this evening… Oh I quite agree, those two are perfect for each other… Alright darling, I have to go now; do let me know how it all works out… bye.” With her part of the plan completed, Rarity allowed herself a feeling of pride, knowing that she helped bring two very shy ponies together.
“Wait you finished already?!” Crafter asked, completely dumbstruck. “I thought Spike was joking!”
It was late in the afternoon when Twilight Sparkle, baggy eyed and bed-headed, knocked on his door. “I told you I’d come by when I finished.” She said tiredly, desperately trying to keep herself standing upright.
“But I gave you my entire collection, how in Equestria did you finish all those books in 24 hours?”
Twilight smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of her head with a hoof. “I'm a fast reader.”
Crafter just sighed, trying to fathom how she had managed to do that much reading within such a small amount of time was just making his head hurt. “Alright, fine. I'm just not going to question it.” He stepped aside and pointed a hoof to a door in the back of the room. “Come on in, my study is in the back room, behind the counter.”
Bashfully, Twilight walked inside and made her way to the door behind the counter. Crafter let her into the small room, the study was sparsely furnished; the only furniture consisted of the desk, a table lamp, a typewriter, a filing cabinet, an office chair, and a waste basket. “So uh, where so I sit?” Twilight asked upon entry.
“Um. Be right back.” Crafter said hastily, rushing out of the room. He came back thirty seconds later with a dining chair in his magical grasp and placed it in front of his desk. “Here you go. Sorry, I didn’t think you would be back so quickly.”
“It’s my fault, I should have called ahead.” She admitted, sitting down in the chair and placing her saddlebags next to her. “Shall we get started?”
Crafter nodded, taking a seat at his desk. For the next hour, he and Twilight discussed the details of how much each book was worth (she wanted all of them) and what percentage of rental fee’s Crafter got. Eventually they settled on 20 percent, of course Crafter felt like he was extorting bits from the librarian, but apparently that was a fair deal. Capitalism was very stressful. After Twilight gave him the check for the books, she made her departure.
Once Twilight was gone, Crafter slumped back into his chair, mentally exhausted. Part of the reason he didn’t talk with very many ponies was because of how hard it was for his brain to locate words, and it had been in overdrive for over an hour. Just before he fell asleep in his chair, there was a knock on his door. Letting out a sigh of frustration, Crafter got up to answer the door. All of his frustration and mental fatigue vanished when he saw Ditzy standing at the door. “Hi, you ready to go?” She happily greeted.
Then he remembered their conversation earlier that day. “Oh!” He folded his ears back in embarrassment, how could he have forgotten something like this? “Yeah, let me just get my saddlebags then we can go.”
He invited her to wait inside while he fetched his bags, after all it wouldn’t be polite to make a guest wait outside. After he retrieved his bags from the kitchen table, they left for the movies. “So what movie do you want to see?” Ditzy asked after they started their journey into town.
Crafter’s ears splayed back again in embarrassment. “I probably should have checked the movie listings before we left.” In his mind, the green unicorn was berating himself for not being even remotely prepared.
Ditzy just chuckled, not bothered by his lack of planning in the slightest. “Well it’s a good thing I did then.” She said, trying to put Crafter’s mind at ease. “The theater’s owner is a huge nerd; always has the original ‘Hoof Wars’ trilogy playing. Perhaps we could see one of those?”
Suddenly Crafter stopped trotting, eyes wide with an unreadable expression. “You like ‘Hoof Wars’?”
Oh no. Ditzy thought, her own ears folded back and she averted her face from his gaze. He probably thinks I'm a huge geek for suggesting that.
Then a massive grin was plastered onto his face, eyes aglow with delight. “I LOVE ’Hoof Wars’, it’s one of my favorite movies.”
“It is?” Ditzy asked, still not believing he could possibly enjoy a movie so nerdy.
“Yep,” Crafter said, nodding vigorously “but ‘Back to the Future’ holds the title of the best movie ever.”
Now it was Ditzy’s turn to smile brightly, it was rare to find somepony equally as nerdy. They started talking about all of their favorite parts of all three movies in the trilogy, debating which one they were going to see as continued their trot into town. Eventually they decided on ‘The NLR Strikes Back.’
By the time they reached the theater, the sun had started its descent, giving the bright blue sky a slightly orange hue. Crafter held the door open for Ditzy with his magic, letting her enter the neon covered building first. It must have been a slow day because the lobby was practically empty, save for a few colts in the arcade off to the side. “Odd, normally this place has a lot of business Saturday evenings.” Ditzy pondered, looking around the empty lobby.
“That means we get the theater to ourselves.” Crafter said with a smile as he approached the unoccupied ticket booth. “Hello? Is anypony here?”
“I'm coming I'm coming, keep your horseshoes on mate.” An Oatstralian voice called out from a room behind the booth. “So what’ll yah be see’n?” The black and blue spotted pegasus greeted as he exited the room.
“Two for ‘Hoof Wars: The NLR Strikes Back’ please.” Crafter ordered.
The spotted stallion pushed a few buttons on the register with his wings, adding up the total. “Always nice to meet a fellow fan of th’ classics mate, want popcorn and drinks with it?”
“One large popcorn and two large drinks!” Ditzy cut in. “Free refills?” She clarified as Crafter and the spotted stallion gave her a strange look. What she really wanted to do was increase the chances of physical contact.
“Alright then,” the spotted pegasus said “that’ll be 20 bits for the movie and 15 bits for the snacks.”
Crafter fished around in his saddlebags for the coupons with his magic. “Hold on, I know they're in here.” He said after a few seconds of looking.
“Can’t find your bit bag mate?”
“No, I had some coupons for a free movie. I think I forgot them at home.” Crafter said, stuffing his face into the bag in hopes of finding it.
Then the spotted stallion’s eyes went wide. “Oh so YOU’RE the couple she told me about,” he said as he placed a full tub of popcorn and two empty soda cups on the counter “don’t worry about it mate.”
“Wait what?” Both Ditzy and Crafter said at the same time, both for different reasons.
Who is ‘she’? Ditzy thought.
He thought we were a couple? Crafter thought.
“Oh bugger!” He exclaimed, throwing both hooves over his mouth. “Let me go start up your projector, room 14.” Then he was off.
Crafter grabbed the popcorn and drink cups with this magic, doing his best not to think about Ditzy and him as a couple. “What kind of drink do you want?”
“I’ll take an orange soda…” she said shyly, avoiding eye contact.
Ok, there is no way we can have this much in common. He thought, filling up Ditzy’s cup with soda. After he put on the lid and inserted the straw, he filled up his own cup with the same drink.
They walked to room 14 in an awkward silence, both a little self-conscious about their closeness. Of course it was instantly forgotten as soon as the opening credits started rolling, the iconic theme song blaring as loud as possible. Crafter and Ditzy instantly became overwhelmed by their inner child and sang along, it was a good thing they were alone in the theater.