A guy with too much time on his hands. Enjoys writing and over-analyzing things.
72w, 5dOrganized Shipping (Most Common)
72w, 5dTwilight is Best Pony
72w, 5dTwilight Sparkle
61w, 4dTwilight Shipping
26w, 3dTwilight's Library
- Show All Groups
39w, 3dUncommon Shipping Pairs
6d, 23hRomance is Magic!
32w, 6dThe Friend Zone
32w, 3dTwilight's Marem
29w, 3dMeri's Favorite Stories
20w, 3dEquestria Daily
7w, 4dThe 1000 Up Vote Club
9w, 5dDriz's Fanfiction Emporium
TodayI return. 8 comments · 74 views
1w, 2dChapter 26 delay 16 comments · 160 views
2w, 2dSo I wrote this thing... 7 comments · 73 views
4w, 1dChapter 25 5 comments · 51 views
7w, 3dChapter 24 1 comments · 39 views
10w, 4dChapter 23 update 4 comments · 67 views
13w, 6dApologies for the delay 0 comments · 57 views
14w, 4dNext chapter 4 comments · 53 views
19w, 3hChapter 21 5 comments · 88 views
21w, 4dChapter 20 will be up in a day or two, really! 3 comments · 94 views
This is absurd. I know Rarity knows far more about these things than I do, but I can't really be- no. No. Even she wasn't sure. It was just her hypothesis after all. Applejack is a just a very good friend, just like Rarity, or Rainbow Dash, or Pinkie Pie. I shouldn't be this nervous! There's no reason for it. I've visited Sweet Apple Acres dozens of times and this shouldn't be any different. Sure, my legs feel like jelly for some reason, but that's no cause for concern. It’s probably just because I didn’t get much sleep last night. Like Rarity said, these feelings come and go, so I shouldn't put too much stock in them. I just have to act natural, how in the world am I supposed to act natural now!? Do I just act the same way I did before Rarity pointed out how I felt? How can I act like that now that I'm actively thinking about how I should act when all my previous actions were defined by the fact that I just did everything without thinking about it!? Maybe I just need to clear my head before I get to- Oh. I'm here already. Okay, Twilight, just try to act the same as you always do. Applejack has been your friend for years now. Nothing needs to change. No reason to make this more awkward than it needs to be.
Say, where his centric happiness doth lie.
I have loved, and got, and told,
But should I love, get, tell, till I were old,
I should not find that hidden mystery.
Twilight raised a hoof to knock on the door, then lowered it and took a a few long, heavy breaths. She raised her hoof again. This time she didn't lower it, or knock on the door, but began to futz around with her mane, ensuring that no stray sprigs of hair stuck out. Sure, out of all her friends, Applejack was the least likely to notice or care about such things, but better safe than sorry. And while she was at it, she crouched down and examined her reflection in the doorknob, checking that none of her lunch was wedged between her teeth. She shook her head. Worrying about this stuff was exactly what she didn't want to do. She quickly knocked on the door before her brain could give her anything else to worry about.
Even though Applejack had always answered every knock that way, on this particular occasion Twilight hesitated. She didn't have a reason, other than the fear of proving Rarity's assessment of the situation entirely correct. Not that Applejack would make a bad Very Special Somepony of course, but it was just too weird to think about and it would wreak havoc on ...everything. She smacked herself in the forehead. Thinking about that eventuality was silly. She didn't even know if that was how she felt and in all probability her head was just messing with her. She opened the door and immediately noticed two things.
1. She was staring directly at Applejack's flank.
2. Said flank was moving towards her at a rapid pace.
It slammed into her, shoving her backwards. Applejack, in turn, was being shoved backwards by an enormous cider barrel. The two ponies and the barrel smashed into the fence, coming to an abrupt halt. Apple Bloom emerged from the doorway, rubbing her head sheepishly.
“Sorry about that, AJ, I lost my grip.”
Twilight couldn't move, partially due to the shock of suddenly being placed in such close proximity to Applejack's body, and partially due to the fact that Applejack was mostly on top of her. She immediately became aware that for the past week she had avoided initiating any physical contact with Applejack. The sudden realization bothered her a bit.
“You okay, Twilight?” Applejack climbed off.
“I-I'm fine,” Twilight stammered, trying not to stammer and failing miserably. Her throat went dry for some reason.
“You sure? You look kinda flustered...” Applejack leaned in and put her forehead against Twilight's, carefully avoiding the horn. “You're pretty hot, too.”
“Huh?” Twilight stared straight into Applejack's eyes. So green...
“Your forehead. It feels really hot. You have a fever or something?”
“No no no.” Twilight backed away, bumping against the fence. “I'm just having a bit of a hectic day is all.” She said the words about twice as quickly as she should have, but luckily Applejack had never been good at picking out lies of omission.
“Oh, okay.” She brightened up. “Well, now you can relax a bit. Just kick back and drink some cider. Just let me get this barrel back into the house...”
Applejack circled around the barrel and gave it a firm shove with her head, pushing it forward. Muscles that Twilight had never noticed before sprang into action. She suddenly became aware that when Applejack had barreled into her, her heart rate had blasted upwards. Perfectly understandable; it had been a sudden impact after all. But now she realized that even though the shock had worn off, her heart still beat like it was making up for lost time. How strange, she thought. Physiology shouldn't do stuff like that.
“Sorry for the delay.” Applejack wiped several large beads of sweat off of her forehead as she shoved the barrel back into place. “Big Macintosh was supposed to help me with these, but Granny Smith dragged him into town to carry her groceries.”
“No, no, it's no problem at all,” Twilight said. “I'm sure the wait will be worth it.”
“Don't go getting ahead of yourself there, Twi.” Applejack chuckled. “We're still testing some new recipes, so some of them might be a bit wonky. I got some of them out on the table already, so just grab one and start testing.”
“Don't mind if I do.” Twilight said, nodding. The litany of second guessing still filled her mind, and a distraction was welcome. No substitute for Sweet Apple Acres' cider, after all, even if they were still experimenting with the formula. She lifted the nearest cup to her lips and took a long swig. She barely even had time to taste it before sheer reflex forced her to spew it out. Cider, or whatever liquid it was that masqueraded as cider, splattered across the table as she coughed. She took a deep breath and looked up. Her throat tightened. Applejack stood across the table, her coat glistening with apple juice and a tiny bit of saliva.
“Applejack, I'm so sorry!” Twilight began to flail her legs helplessly while she searched for a napkin. She settled for a rag that hung off the edge of the table, flung it over a hoof and began to dab at Applejack's face. Then she froze as she became aware of the gusto with which she had begun to rub her friend's cheek.
“Uh, don't worry about it,” Applejack murmured, grabbing a rag of her own. “I shoulda warned you about that. Apple Bloom was here with her friends yesterday, and they decided that they'd make their own cider. I think you can guess how that worked out.” She sighed and twisted her hat, wringing out a few drops of whatever it was the Cutie Mark Crusaders had put in there. “Uh, Twilight, you can stop rubbing my head.”
“Oh, right.” Twilight drew back so fast that one might have thought that Applejack was on fire. “Sorry.”
“Nah it's okay,” Applejack said. “I just feel bad that you actually drank that stuff. Sorry ‘bout that.”
“It's fine, it's fine!” Twilight answered. “It wasn't that bad, really.” She looked into the cup. Whatever was in there sure wasn't cider. Too green, and Twilight could see what looked like bits of leaves and bark, and possibly something swimming. She looked away towards something that didn't make her gag. Her gaze settled on Applejack. Applejack's mane was still plastered against her neck by the moisture. It looked good that way. Twilight took a deep breath. She could feel her heart speeding up for no reason again.
“Here, why don't you wash your mouth out.” Applejack held out a cup of water.
“Thanks.” Twilight accepted it with eagerness; the taste in her mouth grew more rancid by the moment. She took a long swig, realizing too late that she had inexplicably picked it up with her hooves rather than her telekinesis. As soon as the comprehension struck, she bobbled the glass, spilling most of the water over herself. “Oops.”
“Ha, at least it ain't just me who's all wet!” Applejack said with a chuckle. “My sister sure makes some strong stuff, doesn't she? Let's get you dried off a bit.” She softly pressed a towel against Twilight's neck. “You sure that you're okay? You seem a bit...jittery. What's going on that's so hectic anyway?”
“You know, the usual things,” Twilight said. “Reorganizing the library, getting my reports in, writing a letter-” She stopped and was suddenly very aware of the fact that Applejack was rubbing her face. “I'm just busy.”
“If you say so.” Applejack shrugged. “You should probably try to relax a little, though. Too much stress can make you sick, you know. Just sit back and try some of the good cider.” She held up a cup. “And use your horn this time, okay?”
“Yes, of course.” Twilight gingerly floated the cup to herself, taking care to not spill it again. Her heart was still going at double speed and all of her limbs felt a bit rubbery. Even her telekinesis wobbled a little as she gingerly took a sip. “This is delicious!”
“It ought to be. Big Macintosh mixed that one.” Applejack patted Twilight on the head. “I dunno what's on your mind, but you just do your best to forget about it now, alright?”
“Okay.” Twilight took a deep breath and tried not to think about Applejack's green, green eyes, or how a sopping wet mane suited Applejack surprisingly well. “I'll try.”
Rarity had always prided herself on her ability to work under pressure. Today hadn't been the worst crunch she'd ever been through; filling Hoity Toity's dress order had been so bad that her mane had nearly started to fall out. Even so, finishing a dozen dresses in a day and a half had been a tall order. Fortunately, everything fell into place. Sweetie Belle was out of town on a class trip. Her fabric orders were all in on time. Twilight's issue seemed to be solved with little more than a conversation. No customers breathed down her neck. Opal behaved, for once. The fabric folded just as she wanted it to. The thread didn't tangle. The sewing machine didn't jam. With seven out of twelve dresses completed, Rarity decided to reward herself by treating herself to a nicer lunch than reheating last night’s alfalfa casserole. At the moment, she sat at the cafe in the town square, debating whether she wanted daisies or daffodils in her sandwich. As always, she was dieting, but one couldn't eat plain old grass all the time.
“I believe I will have the daisies,” she said. “With a hyacinth bouquet on the side.”
“Sure thing. It'll be out in a minute,” the waiter grunted before heading back inside.
Rarity took a deep breath. It was such a nice day. Pity she had to spend most of it inside working on those dresses. That pleat on dress number nine would be a pain. She shook her head. Now that she finally had a break, she wanted to spend that time thinking of something other than fashion.
She looked up to see Twilight trotting toward her. This wasn't quite the distraction she had imagined, but at least it would push the dresses to the back of her mind.
“Twilight, what are you doing here? I thought you were going to go to Sweet Apple Acres and try the cider.”
“I was! Well, I did. I was just there a couple of minutes ago. The cider was very good.”
“Yes, but why aren't you still there? I saw your schedule. You have another hour to go!”
“Technically right now it's forty-seven minutes-”
“You know what I mean. I was under the impression that you would spend more time with Applejack to you know...” She leaned closer and lowered her voice. “To figure out your feelings about her.”
“Yes, that was the plan.”
“Why didn't you?”
“Well, I just felt bad about leaving all of that work to Pinkie, so I told Mrs. Cake that I'd drop by to help with the cupcakes. I mean, now that I have an idea of what's going on I can start trying to get things back to normal. You know, by balancing my schedule out more.”
“Of course...” Rarity said with a sigh. It certainly wasn't the course of action she would have taken, but she didn't operate on Twilight-logic. And Twilight-logic dictated that maintaining the time-allocation equilibrium had high priority. “How did it go, anyway? Talking with Applejack, I mean.”
Twilight responded by slumping down next to the table. Rarity cringed.
“I was an idiot!” Twilight put both hooves to her forehead. “It was like I completely forgot how I used to talk to her. I kept trying to think of how I used to interact with her, but it didn't work! I just sort of sat there and mumbled about how awesome the cider was. She probably thinks that I completely lost it! What if she thinks I'm crazy now?”
“Twilight, Applejack has known you for long enough that she isn't going to let one weird conversation determine what she thinks of you. Especially since she's seen you in far worse states of mind.”
“Remember that incident with your Smarty Pants doll?”
“Oh.” Twilight's ears drooped. “I can't believe I forgot about that. What if she still thinks that I'm about to crack again? Maybe she invited me to try cider to placate me so that when I finally snap I'll-”
“Twilight!” The purple unicorn's head snapped up. She found Rarity staring incredulously at her.
"You're right, you're right,” Twilight said with a sigh. “It just feels like I screwed it up. I tried so hard to treat her like I usually do.”
“Maybe you just tried too hard.” Rarity shrugged. “After all, aren't you at your most natural when you aren't trying to act a certain way?”
“I guess so, but after you pointed out that...” her voice dropped to a whisper, “...you know, I can't stop thinking about how I should act around her. What should I do?”
“First of all, don't worry about it so much. Applejack has always thought very highly of you, despite your... quirks, and I don't see that changing any time soon. Second, if you're really serious about making room for all your friends in your schedule, you should probably hurry along to help Pinkie Pie with those cupcakes.”
“Ah, you're right!” Twilight sprang to her feet. “I really should get going. My schedule is messed up enough as it is. Thanks again for listening to all of this.”
“No problem at all, Twilight. Now get going before Pinkie wonders what's taking you so long.”
“Okay, I'll see you later!” Twilight spun around trotted towards Sugarcube Corner.
Rarity sighed in relief. She had every intention of being available, should Twilight want to talk, but she couldn't help but be relieved that Twilight was, for the moment, out of her mane. She only had so much brainpower to spare, and her attempts to comprehend Twilight's train of thought used up more of it than she wanted.
“Daisy sandwich with a Hyacinth bouquet?”
The waiter nodded and set the plate on the table. Rarity stared at the sandwich for a long moment, clearing her head. Surely Twilight was just overthinking things. Applejack wouldn't be so petty, she thought. I've known Applejack for even longer than Twilight has, after all.
She lifted one of the flowers with her telekinesis and began to pluck the petals off with her teeth, one by one. Maybe Twilight's stress had rubbed off on her. She shook her head and turned her attention to her sandwich. Twilight is the smartest pony you know, she said to herself. She'll be just fine.
Pinkie ceased bouncing just long enough to snatch the cupcake pan from the oven and insert a new one in its place. She looked at the counter. No more cupcake pans. The one in the oven was the last. Well, technically the one before it should have been last, but a whole pan's worth of cupcakes had gone AWOL. Pinkie knew that you couldn’t go eating the merchandise willy-nilly, but really, what else could she do? You had to taste at least one cupcake from the batch of batter to make sure the mix was right. There went one cupcake. And of course she had to test at least one from each tray to make sure they weren’t burned. And once she took a bite out of a cupcake, it obviously couldn’t be used, and there was no sense in letting it go to waste. There went the other half dozen cupcakes. In any case, if Twilight wanted to actually have some fun today, she'd have to show up soon, or Pinkie would be forced to take matters into her own hooves. Well, not forced, really. She'd take on the challenge quite voluntarily. The only part of the cupcake process she liked more than the decoration phase was the eating phase, and she had kinda sorta already jumped the gun on that. Besides, if she ate anything else today, Mrs. Cake would probably dock her pay again.
On the other hoof, she could derive some quality entertainment from watching Twilight obsess over getting the frosting ratios exactly right. And she'd use lots of cool words, to boot. Words like “proportion” and “quotient” and “correlation”. Pinkie didn't quite understand what all of them meant or how they had anything to do with cupcakes, but they sure sounded cool. She liked using them. They made her sound smart. That was the idea, at least. In reality, they probably made her look even more loopy to everypony else, but she felt smarter at least. If she felt particularly inventive she'd throw a few of her own syllables into the mix, or maybe combine a few of the words to make her own. “Propelation” was probably her favorite so far. It almost sounded like it could be an actual word.
She sighed. Now she had gotten herself into a mood to see Twilight fuss over the cupcakes, and it wasn't likely to happen. The clock hands pointed to a time four and a half minutes after when Twilight said she would arrive. Twilight was nothing if not punctual, and if she hadn't shown up by now, it meant something else had come up. She'd have to do it herself then. What a pity, she thought, Twilight is missing out. She stopped. Her ear had inexplicably gone limp, and her eyes twitched. Her legs stopped wobbling just in time for her to pirouette out of the way as Twilight burst in the door.
“Sorry I'm late! I had some stuff to do, and then I had some other stuff, and I ran into somepony and-”
“No time for that! Time for cupcakes!” Pinkie grabbed Twilight and dragged her towards the trays of cupcakes that were cooling on the counter. “So glad you could make it! You're way way better at some of these designs than I am!” She held up a sheet of surprisingly detailed images. “I could never make this butterfly here with just my hooves. Believe me, I tried once and it didn't really look like a butterfly. Well, it did look like a butterfly, but not like the one on the paper. The one I made was really fat. Like, so fat that it almost looked more like a bird than a butterfly because it was so big. Although that was probably because I smudged the head and it ended up looking like a beak which was okay because it was for Fluttershy's birthday and I wanted to make butterfly cupcakes because that's her cutie mark but a bird is fine too because she likes birds.” She paused, half to take a breath, and half because this was the point where Twilight typically told her “Be quiet, I'm trying to focus!”
Twilight didn't say anything. She stared blankly at one of the cupcakes, specifically the one sitting next to the one she had started decorating.
“Ooh, I've always wanted to be able to do that!” Pinkie squealed. “Whenever I try to frost the cupcakes without looking Mrs. Cake always gets mad at me for wasting the frosting and makes me clean the table. There were a few times I actually got it on the cupcake, but it didn't really look like anything and I had to do it again. But I did get to eat the messed up cupcake because we couldn't sell it, so it wasn't a total loss. In fact, I should do that more often. Or maybe not, because Mr. Cake says that I eat enough merchandise already, and Twilight that's totally not a butterfly.”
“Huh?” Twilight blinked a few times and looked at the cupcake. It most certainly did not bear the likeness of a butterfly.
“It is a pretty good apple, though. Looks just like Applejack's cutie mark. When her birthday rolls around I should have you make a couple more of those.”
“Oh, so it is.” Twilight chuckled weakly. “I guess I'll just have to be more careful about the next one.”
She pushed the cupcake away from her and began to work on the next one, this time being slightly more careful to keep to the design. Pinkie narrowed her eyes as she watched silently. Her gaze shifted slowly from Twilight to the cupcake, which actually looked like a butterfly this time, and then back to Twilight.
“Um, do you want something?” Twilight tried to smile, and got about halfway there.
"It's quiet,” Pinkie said to no one in particular. “Too quiet.” She looked back at the cupcake. Twilight's decoration resembled the design, more or less. That was weird. Twilight never had an “or less” when she decorated cupcakes. She never had a “more” either. A Twilight-decorated cupcake was indistinguishable from the pattern. Well, other than the fact that it consisted of frosting on a cupcake instead of ink on paper. “Are you done with that one?”
“Uh...” Twilight looked down at the cupcake. “I guess so.”
“Twilight, are you okay? You aren't really being yourself. It's like you're being...” She switched into deep thought mode for a moment. “...somepony else. Who isn't you.”
“What are you talking about, Pinkie?” Twilight asked with an awkward laugh. “I'm perfectly fine.”
“Oh come on, you've never finished a cupcake that fast before!” Pinkie held up the confection with one hoof and pointed at it with the other. “This is totally not like what you usually do. You're usually way more persnickety about it.” She began to giggle. “Persnickety. I love that word! It just sounds so funny! I wish I could use it more. Persnickety! Persnickety!” She shook her head and put on her attempt at a serious face. “But seriously, you're always so serious about the cupcakes. Like even more serious than Mr. and Mrs. Cake! And they're pretty serious about cake! I mean, it's like in their name and everything. But anyway, you're totally being all weird, and last time you were all weird, we snuck into the Canterlot Archives and you sent yourself back in time. Which was pretty cool, now that I think about it, but still when you're weird, weird stuff happens and even though I like weird stuff I don't like this kind of weird stuff.”
“Oh, it's nothing. I'm just having a...well, it isn't quite a bad day. It's just been a bit stressful.”
“Reeeeeeaaaaaalllllly?” Pinkie leaned in so close that she almost fell over.
Pinkie leaned in even closer, balancing on her forelegs. “Reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaalllllyyyyyyy?”
“Um...” Twilight took a step back. Pinkie followed, somehow scuttling forward on front legs. Twilight swallowed. Pinkie could sense Twilight's resolve weakening. Whatever Twilight was hiding, she didn't want to be hiding.
“Well?” Pinkie smiled expectantly.
“Okay,” she said in a low voice. “But you have to promise not to tell Applejack about any of this, alright? Not a word.”
Pinkie silently pantomimed a series of actions as Twilight watched on in confusion.
“Pinkie, what are you doing?”
“Come on, Twilight! You should know how it goes.” She began to repeat the motions. “First I zipped my mouth up, then locked it with a key, then dug a hole, then buried the key, then built a house on top of the hole, then-”
“You moved into the house on top of the hole. I remember now.”
“Yup, and now I mow the lawn in front of the house too! That way nopony knows that there was even a hole there!” She reared up onto her hind legs and wobbled forward while making a buzzing sound. After a few steps she lost her balance and went back to all fours. “It's not a very big lawn, though. So what's this secret of yours?”
Twilight put a leg around Pinkie and pulled her in close.
“It's kind of awkward, so try not to freak out, okay?” she whispered.
“Okie Dokie Lokie.”
“I have a bit of...a thing for Applejack.”
“A thing? Well, that's boring. I have lots of things!”
“No, not a literal thing!” Twilight shook her head. “I'm talking about a metaphorical thing. It's really hard for me to just come out and say it, okay?”
“To say what?”
“That I have a crush on Applejack!” She clamped her hooves over her mouth. Hopefully the Cakes hadn't heard that.
“Oooooohhhh.” Pinkie nodded knowingly, even though she hadn't really grasped the full implications. “Don't worry, I won't tell her.”
“Thanks, it would be really really awkward, and I don't want to rock the boat.”
“Well, you should rock the boat more, then! It's really fun. You just have to make sure that you don't tip the boat over completely. It's never fun when that happens. Well, sometimes it is, but most of the time it kinda sucks because the water is too cold.”
“That's not what I mean.” Twilight rolled her eyes. “I just don't want to put Applejack in a weird situation.” She took a step forward and put her hoof on Pinkie's shoulder. “And while we're at it, I just want you to know that even though I have this infatuation with Applejack, it doesn't mean that I dislike you or anything, okay?”
Pinkie just tilted her head a little. “Well, duh.” Pinkie decided it was her turn to roll her eyes. “Just because you like Applejack doesn't mean that you have to dislike anypony else. I average like half a dozen new friends every month or so. If I had to stop liking somepony whenever I started liking somepony else I'd have to hate like half the ponies in Ponyville by now. Besides, if you didn't like me at least a little you wouldn't keep coming out here to help me with the cupcakes all the time. I mean, seriously, would you even be here if you didn't like me? I'm sure somepony smart like you could easily come up with something else to do if you didn't want to be here.”
“Ugh, you're right. I just don't want to screw this up.”
“I'm sure you'll work it out. You have a pretty big brain after all.” Pinkie rapped on Twilight's head with her hoof. “If you can make five friends in like a day and a half, you can totally figure out how to pull this off!”
“Pull what off?”
“Asking Applejack out, obviously. I mean, yeah, it'll be a bit strange at first, but I'm sure that she'd-”
“Wait, WHAT?” Twilight clamped her mouth shut, again afraid that she might have protested a bit too loudly. “I mean, why in Equestria would you think that I would try something like that?”
“Well, that's what you do when you have a crush on somepony, isn't it? I mean what's the point of having a crush at all if you aren't going to do anything with it? I have to admit that Spike is a bit of a special case, but really, there's enough of an age gap with him that he has to wait a while to have a good shot, and he’ll need to get a job or something, because I’m pretty sure that Rarity would be a pretty high maintenance marefriend. Also, he’s a dragon, so there’s that too. But you're pretty much the same age as AJ, and you’re a pony too, so you should be fine. Unless you're secretly like really old and you used a spell to make yourself young again. You aren't secretly old, are you?”
“No! And I'm not going to try to ask Applejack out on a date, either! I'm perfectly fine just being friends with her. I'm not going to risk screwing that up over some infatuation that might just go away on its own!”
“Phooey.” Pinkie snorted. “That's so boring! You should at least think about it! You two would make a totally adorable couple, too! Especially if she let you wear her hat. It would look sooooo cute on you! Or maybe you could-”
Pinkie once again dodged out of the way of the door as Mr. Cake's head popped into the room.
“Are you almost done with the cupcakes?” He asked urgently. “Truffle Shuffle's party at the schoolhouse is starting in about fifteen minutes and we need to load them onto the cart.”
“Sure thing, Mr. Cake!” Pinkie saluted, military style. “We'll get those cupcakes done in no time, right Twilight?”
“Good! We wouldn't want to be late with the-” A crash echoed through the room and Mr. Cake spun around. “No! Pumpkin! Don't chew on that! Dear, can you keep her out of the- Pound, stay away from that wedding cake!” He ducked out of the room even faster than he had entered.
“Okay, Twilight. I know that this whole thing is probably freaking you out a bit, but we gotta get these cupcakes done. You have about a dozen to go. You think you can do it?”
“Easily!” Twilight stamped her hoof for emphasis, and then cast a sideways glance at her completed butterfly cupcake. “I don't suppose I have time to do some touching up on that one? The left wing is too big.”
“Now that's the Twilight I know and love!” Pinkie said with a grin. “But no. I know it bugs you, but you're gonna have to rush these. Don't worry about it so much. I'm pretty sure Truffle Shuffle won't care what shape the frosting is in as long it's on there. You gotta learn not to sweat the small stuff and just focus on the big stuff.”
Twilight felt lighter and lighter with each step towards the library. Now that the luxury of being distracted by a small herd of sugar-addled fillies and colts had vanished, her thoughts rushed back into place. Had she really let Pinkie in on the secret? Sure, Pinkie could keep a secret, but she had seemed frighteningly enthusiastic about the prospect of the relationship actually going somewhere. Twilight decided to chalk it up to the fact that Pinkie had similarly boundless enthusiasm for just about anything that piqued her interest. Obviously she couldn't be serious.
She shook her head as she ambled into the library. Even if she could, however briefly, entertain the thought of attempting to go on a genuine date, the consequences would be calamitous. Such an occurrence would utterly wreck the relationships she had spent the past few years building. The moment that she and Applejack began an exclusive relationship would spell the end of her circle of friends as she knew it. They wouldn't be a group of six friends anymore. There would be two, and there would be four. It was the very definition of exclusivity; she would choose Applejack over her other friends, and an insurmountable wall would sit between the couple and the rest of the group. It was unthinkable.
And that was the best case scenario. The alternative terrified her so much that she tried to avoid so much as thinking about it. If Applejack turned her down, there would be no recovery. Even if Applejack let her down easily, their friendship as it stood would be over. Any further interaction would be trapped in a mire of discomfort and awkwardness. The Pony Pet Playdates would be unbearable; even the ponies who were off to the side of the whole debacle would have to tread lightly if both herself and Applejack were around. Every eventuality ended with disaster.
She groaned and slammed the library door behind her. Why did it have to be Applejack? Why couldn't it be somepony who wasn't already a very close friend? It could have just as easily have been somepony else. It could have been somepony that she actually shared some interests with, like Cheerilee. If she had gotten a crush on Cheerilee, everything would be so much easier. They'd have so much to talk about, like books. Cheerilee liked books. It made so much more sense than what had actually happened.
For first time in a long while, she flopped into her bed without brushing her teeth. It wasn't due to fatigue; although keeping Pinkie from making the party an even bigger mess than it already was had certainly taken a lot out of her. More to the point, every moment she remained awake would be dominated by a train of thought that went absolutely nowhere. Better to just rest and hope that her dreams would give her some respite. It had been a long day, and Twilight had just enough presence of mind to know that you didn't tackle something of this magnitude without a good night's sleep. Maybe in the morning things would be clearer.