8:04pm - Home
I am quite literally the bestest friend ever, I think. On the contrary to anything you were thinking (not that you can think, being a notepad), I had a great day with Applejack. Let me explain.
So, AJ confessed. I looked over at her, and noticed tears had welled up in her eyes. I leaned over and hugged her, and when I pulled away she looked surprised.
She said, "But....d-does this mean...you don't..."
"Mind? No. Of course I don't mind. It's part of who you are."
"Wow. Uh...really? Ah thought Ah was settin' off a bomb by tellin' you that, so t'speak..."
I locked eyes with her. "Nothing you tell me will ever, ever change what I think about you."
Applejack smiled, and more tears ran down her nose. I splashed her in the face gently to get rid of them, and she giggled. "Rainbow, you're the bestest friend ever."
I folded my front legs and looked forward. "I know."
She gave me another hug, and gently whispered to me. "Love you."
We spent the whole day together, doing races and competitions and climbing trees and discovering all over town, just like we used to when we were fillies. Nothing could break us apart now. Somehow, I feel a lot closer to her than before, no matter what she told me.
She even said she loved me.
Not that that means anything in particular. Just that I am, quite literally, the bestest friend ever.
Five minutes later
Mad Mother of the Year has gone to dinner with "some old pals". Otherwise known as the rest of the Cloudsdale Insanity Association.
Got some chips and lemonade to celebrate my success. I even gave a chip to Tank, who looked at it before shoving it in his shell. I think he's saving it for later.
Nothing can spoil my mood!
One minute later
Apart from the fact that it's Monday tomorrow. Why???
And I'm going to have to face Decimal. I have a feeling it'll be... awkward.
7:13am - In bed
Mom came in to "wake me up". This apparently involves banging a pan by my head and practically hollering, "Rise and shine, Dash! It's a beautiful day! Come out and say hello."
If she doesn't stop, the only thing I will be coming out to say is, "Shut up."
7:20am - Still in bed
Uggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I hate Mondays.
7:25am - Still in bed
Right, I've decided. I'm getting up. Three, two, one...
9:24am - Work
I'm surprised I made it here at all.
I was put to work on the small showers due in the west of Ponyville at lunchtime with a few other pegasi, so I had no chance to see Decimal throughout the morning. I'm not sure whether that's good or not.
Over lunch, I bumped into Dessie through the office. He told me to follow him, and took me round to the old weather observatory to "have a word". Oh no.
I sat down on one of the rickety old benches and looked straight at him. "What did you want, Decimal?"
He fiddled with his food, picking his sandwich out of his lunch bag then putting it back in again about a hundred times. I tapped my hoof on the ground.
"Uhm... I wanted to... I just... Dash, we can't go out anymore."
What?! Hurrah, I've been dumped after two days.
"Why not?" I asked, trying not to gawp at him too much.
He sighed, and picked up his sandwich again. "It's... there's one reason why I tried all of this in the first place. You see, I was around the office and I heard these ponies talking pretty loudly down the corridor. They were talking about you. They were...calling you names. Calling you a fillyfooler, mostly. I know a lot of ponies do this anyway, but... it's what they were saying about you supposedly being a lesbian. They were cracking up because they kept mentioning that Apple girl who lives on the orchard in Ponyville...you know, the one with the Stetson and blonde hair?"
I gulped. "Applejack." I said, dreading what was coming next.
"Yeah, Applejack," he replied. "They were saying some dreadful things about you both. I won't even repeat it all for fear of hurting you even more... I think they thought you were... that you and Applejack were..."
"...sleeping together, I know." I sighed, rolling my eyes.
Decimal flickered his ears and blushed. "Well, not necessarily, I mean-"
"They were, I can tell. It's all bullies like that think about." My eyes stung, and I brushed my fringe so it covered them. I didn't care about the bullies having a go at me - it was the fact that they picked on Applejack that made my blood boil.
I continued nevertheless. "So... you decided to go out with me because...?"
"Because," he sighed, "I didn't want you getting hurt. I thought if you were seen out with a colt, they would all shut up about it and forget you. Move on to somepony else. As I friend, I thought it was the right thing to do to help you out. After Saturday... I realised it wasn't working. I'm really sorry, Dash... I just wanted you to be happy."
I looked at him. "You mean, y-you were...using me?"
"No!" he protested immediately. "I was protecting you."
Really? Just... really? "And you think protecting means betraying my feelings? Actually making it seem like for once somepony had an interest in me while all it was based on is lies?"
"That's n-not true." His voice quivered, like he felt he was losing. I wanted him to lose.
"Oh yeah? So you actually wanted to be with me?"
"Ye-...n-... I thought that...maybe if we dated for a bit, I would."
"Oh, great. So this was a psychological experiment as well as a farce?"
Decimal hung his head. For a split second, I just wished he'd lift it again so I could have slapped him hard. He held his head in his hooves, and I stood up.
"Forget it. You obviously think I'm too dumb to deserve any real feelings."
4:44pm - My room, in my bed of pain
Stormed home. Stormed upstairs, ignoring my mother. Stormed into my room and flung myself on my bed. Cried and cried and cried.
I hate my life. What did I do to deserve this? Why does everything have to go wrong for me? And if the Princesses are all-knowing and can do anything, why haven't they seen me in this state of desperadoes and given me a helping hoof?
I've never been so unhappy. Even Tank's retreated into his shell. He feels my pain.
What gets me is how they were picking on Applejack. How do they even know about her?
Ten minutes later
Just checked my calendar. I completely forgot about our Pony Pet Playdate tomorrow. I might not even go - Tank can go without. I am in mourning of my life as I knew it, and as a consequence, we all have to suffer.
Got back into bed and decided to try and sleep.
Ohhhhhhhh I am crying so much...
Mom came upstairs and gently knocked on my door. "Dash?"
Shutupshutupshutup. "Leave me alone."
Typical of her, she opened the door anyway and let herself in.
"Smile, though your heart is aching..."
Ohhh. She's singing that song she always used to sing whenever I was upset as a filly. Hearing her voice is making me think about foalhood, when things were easy and the only time anypony made me cry was when they stole my crayons.
"Smile, even though it's breaking..."
She came and sat on the bed and slowly started stroking my mane.
"When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by... if you smile, through your pain and sorrow..."
I stopped sobbing.
"Smile, and maybe tomorrow..."
I lifted my head from the pillow to look at her.
"You'll see the sun come shining through, for you..." She finished the last two notes, before pulling me into a cuddle. I held her tight and she grinned. "Hey there."
Before I could stop myself, I was explaining everything. The date, the bullying, why Decimal went out with me, about Applejack. She didn't give her opinion to any of it, just let me talk her ears off with everything on my mind. When I had finished, she kept hold of me.
"There's something I never told you about my past, Rainbow."
I choked out a laugh. "Do I even want to know?"
She chuckled. "Hey, don't be like that! Besides, I thought you liked stories?"
I shrugged, "Perhaps."
She smiled at me meaningfully. "You'll learn something from this one, sweetheart." and then, she began.
"It all started when I was about your age. I was the typical Cloudsdale hotshot, like you - I was a fast flyer and I had a fast attitude that everypony loved. I lived in the middle of the town with my parents and your uncle Sunset, but he was the only one I ever really got on with. My mother, as you may remember, was always a small, bossy mare who never really took an interest in anything other than housework and keeping everything clean. My father was brash and tough, and he always had something to moan about. The subject of his rants was almost always me - to him, I was the perfect example of a teenage tearaway who was bound to end up in jail before I reached marehood. My parents never listened to me. They were too wrapped up in their own lives to notice their daughter.
My brother was equally ignored by our mother, but our father loved him. He was a smart kid, Sunrise, my little brother, and he was the sort who'd end up doing my homework as well as his, even though he was three years younger than me. Dad would buy him everything he wanted, raise his allowance whenever he lowered mine, play with him, take him on trips, everything. I was just the first-born. I was most probably a mistake - they never wanted me.
Our house was small - we were pretty poor and Dad's job as a freelance builder hardly ever got us any money. I had a paper round for about a year around the town, but I was always bullied for the way I wore my mane and how I acted. Like you, I was always seen as a tom-colt and, more frequently, a complete lesbian. I stopped my paper round when my bag got torn into and everything stolen out of it, including my pay. My father never thought to replace it, so I stopped working. The money went down and soon after that, my father made me move in with my brother so they would rent my room out. It never bothered me, staying with Sunset. He was the best listener and friend I'd ever had.
So, naturally, I tried to find ways of letting go. I'd never be in the house; I'd often stay with friends overnight just to get away. I messed around, broke the rules, went to all the worst parties and hung out with all the worst crowds. I was always one step ahead of everypony else, mixing in with just the right ponies to get a real reputation. When I left school with a bunch of bad grades, I started hanging around Ponyville, doing odd jobs for pay. I was useful to the earth ponies; I could get up high and clean windows, or help fix a roof, or maintain cloud coverages. I found my way in Ponyville; I wasn't teased there like I was in Cloudsdale. Earth ponies were different to pegasi - more rustic and traditional, and every job was done in a team, and it was done well.
Surprisingly, I first met my bestest friend on your bestest friend's farm - Sweet Apple Acres. I'd been told to collect some apples and take them to Sugarcube Corner - then called the Ponyville Sweet Stop before Mr and Mrs Cake took over - in preparation for the town's summer fair. I was greeted at the door of the farmhouse by a young mare, about my age, with a baby colt in her arms. She was extraordinary, with a shining white pelt and her beautiful long pink hair tied in two bunches just in front of her ears. Her cutie mark - four hearts in a diagonal shape - suggested to me that she wasn't a part of this family.
"Hey there!" she said cheerfully as she opened the door. The baby colt gurgled. He was pretty big for a foal, I can tell you that. The girl took one of his hooves and waved it at me, and he giggled. "Say hello, MacIntosh! Hehe. Welcome to Sweet Apple Acres, hon! How can I help you?"
I cleared my throat and looked straight at her. "My name is Firefly. I'm the Pegasus sent here to collect some apples for the Sweet Stop."
The other mare grinned. "Oh, yes! We've been expecting you. Unfortunately you won't get very far with me - I'm Sundance, and I'm only the foalsitter for MacIntosh here while his parents work. You need to go and talk to the boss here, Greensmith, just out in the orchard. She'll help you out.""
I gasped. "Greensmith? Is that..."
Mom laughed. "You might know her as Granny Smith, yeah. As Big MacIntosh was only a tot, that name hadn't really set in right then."
"Greensmith was quite a lot younger then. Her hair was blonde, instead of grey, and she wore a hat almost identical to Applejack's now, just white. She was out in the orchard, as Sundance had said, bucking the apples out of the trees with visible years of experience. She smiled as I approached.
"Well, howdy there, sugarcube. Y'all must be the girl set to pick up some apples for the Summer Fair, am Ah right?"
"Yes." I grinned. "Can you give me some?" The older mare laughed.
"Of course! You didn't come here to go away empty-hooved!"
Sundance, who had followed me out, helped load up for baskets and balance them on my back.
"So, do you work for the Sweet Stop?" she asked.
"No, not really. I'm an odd-job mare, y'know. Just roaming the town for something to get some money in."
Sundance suddenly peered curiously at my flank, and I went red. "But your cutiemark is lightning! Aren't you a flyer?"
I sighed. "It's hard to say. I can fly pretty well, but I'm not really happy in the sky. Not like I'm happy in Ponyville doing all of this, anyway."
Greensmith chipped in. "Well, yer more'n welcome t'work with us. We don' earn all that much ourselves, but we're always willin' to help out.""
I interrupted again, grinning. "You got a job at Sweet Apple Acres?"
"Well, sort of. I helped Sundance look after MacIntosh mostly, but I visited a lot - mostly just to see her. We grew closer by the day, and I told her everything. We were joined at the hip, inseparable, and after too long, I realised something - that I was in love with her. She was in love with me, too - we confessed in private and stole away our first kiss; and everything after that we stole, too. Privacy was incredibly important.
Why? Because in those days, fillyfoolers weren't just shunned; they were full-on hated, and I mean that. Falling in love with Sundance was incredibly dangerous - if anypony found out, we'd both lose our jobs and my parents would almost certainly kick me out on the street and not turn a hair otherwise. It was a frightening but thrilling game - every kiss, every touch, every meeting - it was all done in seclusion. In a way, it was fun. It was fun to pick the worst possible places to hide, to run into the Everfree Forest and see how long we could stay in there together without chickening out. Our longest? About an hour!
Our relationship was messed up and short lived. I'm not sure how - that part of my memory is a bit blurred - but somehow, my father found out. I was locked inside the house and continually yelled at, and I didn't see Sundance for months. She kept trying to write to me, but my parents burned all the letters with my name on, whether they were from her or not. I had never been so upset. I seriously considered jumping out of my window and not opening my wings on numerous occasions."
Knowing something like this about Firefly opened my eyes. I looked right at her, and she was still. There were no tears in her eyes; just the visibly painful memory of a lost battle. She didn't falter in her retelling, and it was then that I admired my supposedly insane mother more than ever. I wouldn't have been able to cope.
"Things just went from bad to worse. Sundance's parents found out about us too. They were as livid as my parents were. Our last meeting was the worst day of my life.
We met in our hiding place in the Everfree Forest. She said she had something to say to me. When I arrived, she was already there, tears streaming down her face. I galloped over and leaned in to kiss her, but she pushed me back.
"I c-can't, Firefly."
"Huh?" Tears threatened to fall from my own eyes. I had to fight to stay strong.
"Oh, Firefly... Firefly... F-firefly..." Sundance repeated my name, loudly at first, but getting weaker and weaker. She sat down. "I'm leaving."
My heart shattered, right then. "W-what?"
"My parents... they're taking me to the other side of Equestria..."
I stood tall, splaying my wings and stamping my hoof down. "No."
"You can't stop it. My parents say it's for my own good."
"Sundance, you're not a quitter." Sundance sighed, but I carried on. "We could run away."
"Where would we go?"
"Would that even matter? I just want to get away from here."
"We'd get found out, it wouldn't work. We'd get into even more trouble." Tears began to run down my face at the thought of our hopelessness. We were doomed, and I'd have to face it. Sundance stood up, coming over to nuzzle my cheeks and kiss me gently, making me cry even harder.
"All w-we have to d-do..." she sobbed, "is g-get on with l-life. It'll be h-hard at first, but if you promise to never forget me, we'll b-be all right..."
That heartbreak was something I'd never felt before, and I choked on my own words, holding on to her tighter than I ever had before. "I'll n-never forget you... ever..."
It was settled, and on the day of her departure, I was momentarily allowed to say goodbye. "Mail me your new address. I'll write to you." I whispered.
"Every week. Hide the letters, though." she whispered back.
I nodded, and we shared a final kiss, ignoring the onlookers. I never saw her again. We lost contact after about two years, and I haven't heard from her since. I haven't forgotten her, though. I couldn't ever do that."
"You're the best."
Mom laughed again, wiping a single tear from her eye. I leaned up and kissed her cheek. She returned it, hugging me tight. "And you're the best, little Rainbow Dash. If everything had worked out with me and Sundance, I wouldn't have you. Or your dad!"
I smiled. "How did you meet Dad?"
"Considering you asked, I met your dad a month after Sundance left. He came into Ponyville for the Hearth Warming Festival that year. I didn't really pay attention to his arrival, being too upset to notice much right around then. I only paid any attention to him when I went to a concert of his. He was shy back then, and I couldn't help thinking about how adorable he looked up there, shuffling his hooves and flicking his mane back every two minutes! But his music was something else; it whirled me away to a place where my past wasn't even considered; where all my pains were taken away and all I could hear was the serene, mesmerising tracks flowing through my ears. Yeah, it was good. We bumped into each other after his New Year's concert in Cloudsdale, and we got chatting for ages. Before we knew it, we had fallen in love. We got married in less than a year and on our wedding night, he took me up to the birdwatching hut by Rose Lake."
"Well, you know. You were on the way soon after that!"
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, gross!"
"I was conceived in a birdwatching hut?!"
You'll have no idea what I just found out, thanks to Mom.
(And no, I don't mean the Sundance fiasco and/or the conceived-in-a-birdwatching-hut thing.)
She got us some snacks and we continued talking.
She said, "What I meant by all this is that it's not always easy having to adjust to heartbreak. You go through a lot of changes in life, and unfortunately, love is just one of these changes."
So I said, "How do you know if you're in love?"
"It's simple. Think of a name."
"Just listen!" She laughed. "Think of the name of a pony you can always rely on. A pony who's stuck by you through everything, good and bad. A pony that makes your heart race whenever you see them and sets all your senses on fire. A pony that you know would sacrifice anything for you, and you'd sacrifice anything for them in return. A pony who isn't necessarily beautiful on the outside, but sure as hay is on the inside. Stuff like that. You got one?"
I thought. I could always rely on somepony. This somepony had stuck by me through it all, and when I thought about it, she - yes, she - did make me lose my cool completely when I was around her. She would do anything for me, and I'd lay my life down for her. And...
Oh Celestia, she was beautiful. The most beautiful mare I'd ever seen.
"Yes," I said finally, "I have a name."
"Really?" Mom asked, before grinning. "You're in love with them."
"B-but that means...I-I'm... in...love...w-with..."
"Applejack?" Mom guessed. Oh noooooooo - I felt my wings pop up behind me. How brilliant.
I glared at her. "How did you... I mean... I..."
"Oh, sweetheart. What else would you expect? She's the one pony you come in and talk about every single day. You've always got some story about your adventures together to share with me."
"So...you don't mind?"
"I've had enough experience to learn to accept how ponies are."
8:43pm - Looking out my window at the stars
My dad has this thing about astronomy. He says looking at the universe can be soothing. I've picked out the brightest star in the sky. It's shining right over Sweet Apple Acres.
I've decided to...decide on a plan on how to...get Applejack. If you see what I mean. Tomorrow, because me and Tank have a playdate to go to!
Let's put it this way - I'm a fillyfooler, and she's a fillyfooler. I want to be with her, and she really likes me, so... this should be easy as pie. Apple pie.
...Or will it?