Rarity wordlessly stared at the white unicorn with the electric blue mane. Her judging eyes scanned the pony, taking mental note of every flaw she saw, noticing how her mane was disorganized, how her cheeks were filled with food in a most improper way, and most of all, how she acted like none of this was a big deal in an establishment such as this. However, the analytical fashion designer did notice redeeming factor: her dress was absolutely stunning and elegant. The piece flowed so brilliantly she was surprised it wasn't something of her creation.
"So are you just going to stand there or are you going to take my order?"
Rarity quickly snapped out of her trance. "I'm sorry, what?"
"Alright, I'll have the pork."
Rarity continued to stare at her as Fluttershy shrank back a little bit. The mare burst out lauging.
"Oh come on! Why don't carnivorous jokes ever go over well with you people? It's like you guys have no sense of humor, sheesh. Anyway, I would like a large dinner platter for two with all the sauces, seasonings, and everything you think you could put on there without giving me a heart attack. I should probably get Octavia something too... Oh yes. She said something about a salad to start with. She's such a lightweight," the electric blue maned unicorn looked up. "Why aren't you writing any of this down?"
“Excuse me? How could you ever mistake one such as myself for a waitress?” Rarity gestured towards her elegant outfit, “I am obviously here to dine.”
The blue maned mare tried to stifle her laughter, but to no success. Many eyes in the room turned towards her at her sudden outburst.
“Oh I love it when waitresses have a sense of humor. Makes my day. But really, I’m starving and would like to order.”
Fluttershy looked down at the empty basket of bread rolls. She opened her mouth to comment on it, but quickly shrank back behind Rarity and squeaked out an almost inaudible apology.
Rarity quickly turned back to the white unicorn. “Listen to me, I can assure you that we are not waitresses, I-“
“Vinyl! What are you doing harassing our company?” came the familiar proper voice of Octavia.
The mare apparently known as Vinyl lowered her glasses to the edge of her snout to reveal her brilliant magenta eyes. “Our company? I was just chatting it up with the waiters over here. Unless…” Vinyl took off her glasses and facehooved. “You’re the ponies ‘Tavi was talking about! My bad!”
Octavia found her own hoof making contact with her forehead. “How could you possibly think they were waitresses?”
“Well when they came up to the table I thought they were either fans asking for autographs or they were coming to take our order, and since they weren’t wearing shirts with pictures of me on them, they had to be waitresses. We’re out of bread rolls, by the way.”
The grey earth pony sighed. “Well as long as we are here we might as well get acquainted. Rarity, this is-“
“Let me stop ya right there ‘Tavi,” Vinyl interrupted. “I do all my own introductions. The name is Scratch,” she flipped her glasses on to her face, “Vinyl Scratch.”
Rarity reluctantly reached out and shook her hoof. “It’s a pleasure, I think…” The elegant unicorn pulled out the pegasus from behind her. “And this is Fluttershy.”
Octavia attempted to greet her, “Hello Fluttershy, pleased to-“
“Hello Fluttershy!” Vinyl jumped up and yelled. The timid mare let out an “Eep!” before falling to the ground, frozen in shock.
“Oh I can tell this will be a fun night,” the gray mare said to herself. She proceeded to help Rarity lift Fluttershy off the floor.
“So, shall we take our seats or would you like to pretend we are waitresses a moment longer?” said a slightly annoyed Rarity.
“Yes… Please…” said Fluttershy quietly, hoping nopony would hear her.
The now frightened couple seated themselves opposite of Vinyl in their booth, as Octavia sat next to the obnoxious unicorn.
“Well Vinyl and I already know what we would like, as I’m sure she has made you aware. We’ll give you a minute while Vinyl tries to flag down a waiter for more bread rolls,” Octavia stated flatly.
Rarity and Fluttershy picked up their menus, hoping to actually enjoy a quiet evening. Unfortunately their wishes were not fulfilled as a familiar male voice broke the silence.
“What’s up table nineteen? How are you lovely mares doing tonight?”
Vinyl’s ears perked up. “Finally, we need another basket of bread roll-, Sergio! What’s up my stallion! What brings you here?” The DJ hopped up to give a hoof bump to her fellow musician.
“Oh not much. Just going to work, it’s my first day.”
“PLEASE tell me you’re a waiter!” the white mare was almost jumping up and down with excitement.
Sergio chuckled a bit, “As much as I love to chat with mares and find out their diets, no. I’m the musical entertainment tonight.”
Octavia’s eyes lit up. “You, of all ponies, are who they’ve selected to play here? I’ve been on the wait list for ages! No disrespect to your art form, of course.”
“What can I say, apparently I’m talented or something. Anyway, I need to be heading out. Oh, and Rarity,” he turned to the purple maned unicorn who had a yellow pegasus against her. “I see you listened to my advice, you still use your voice well.”
The tan stallion left Rarity with a wink, returning to the backstage area as she pondered his words.
“He seemed… nice,” Fluttershy said to Rarity. “How do you know him?”
“I’m not really sure I do know him, truly,” the unicorn replied.
A comfortable silence enveloped them as they continued to look over the pricey menus.
Strangely, Fluttershy was the next to speak up. “Rarity… these- these prices… they’re so expensive, are you sure we can afford it?”
“Fluttershy, darling, what is this ‘we’ business? I would never ask you to help pick up the tab in a restaurant such as this; I invited you, so I’ll cover it. I’m being paid a fair day’s wages anyhow.”
The pegasus spoke up again, apparently that assertiveness training paid off after all. “No, we’re both here together, so I insist to pay for half… I mean, if that’s okay with you…”
“Well I’ll tell you that it is not okay with me. I will pay for-“
“Excuse me ladies, I would hate to interrupt,” ironically interrupted a waiter who seemed to materialize out of thin air; Vinyl mouthed out a ‘finally’, “but your meals have already been paid for, courtesy of somepony who would identify himself as ‘a friend’.”
“Oh really?” inquired the white unicorn. “Well I must meet this mysterious benefactor.”
“Terribly sorry Miss, but he wishes to remain anonymous, he also wishes you a great night.”
“Hey Mr. Waiter Guy,” Vinyl said, catching his attention. “Bread rolls, table, now, I decide your tip.”
“Right away Miss,” stated the somewhat frightened waiter as he scurried off.
Octavia turned to her partner with a stern look on her face. “Vinyl, must you always embarrass us, and more importantly me, on every public outing?”
The carefree pony’s response was a burp then a smile. “Don’t pretend you don’t like it.”
The stern mare couldn’t help but blush at the strange charm of the unicorn; at how she did, in fact, like it. Vinyl picked up on this as she threw her left hoof around her marefriend’s neck and nuzzled her. Fluttershy felt herself shrink back in her seat as she watched the display of affection, unsure of what to do. Her own partner on the other hoof seemed perfectly fine with the other couple. That or just ignorant as she continued to look over the menu.
Trying to break through her own awkward barrier, Fluttershy turned to her own partner. “R- Rarity, what are you going to order?”
“I’m going to start out with a salad, and I was thinking I would order us some spaghetti for two. How does that sound to you?” Rarity couldn’t stand the thought of trying to eat hay fries again.
“That sounds wonderful, thank you,” the pegasus smiled. “Um, thank you for inviting me here again Rarity… That was very nice of you.”
“Trust me, Fluttershy, there is no pony in Equestria I’d rather have by my side,” Rarity reassured, “I’m only glad you decided to come, despite what you believe others to perceive you as.”
Although that last statement was to be reassuring, it only seemed to heighten the yellow mare’s anxiety. If a waiter hadn’t come to the table right then, she may have thrown herself into a nervous fit.
The waiter turned to Vinyl. “Your bread roles ma’am.”
“Took you long enough, I’m not hungry anymore…” The statement cut like a knife as the assertive unicorn closed her eyes and turned her body with her fore hooves folded. Barely a moment passed before she opened an eye and gazed upon the delectable treats. “Fine, you win,” she said as she started to scarf down the baked loaves.
Octavia restrained a sigh as she turned back to the waiter. “Please, ignore her. Anyhow, I believe we are all ready to order.” She received a nod from Rarity.
“Yes, we would just like two salads and the spaghetti for two,” the unicorn stated as precisely as she could.
The waiter turned back to Octavia. “And for you Miss?”
“I’ll just have a salad; I’m sure Vinyl will let me grab anything off of her plate.”
The unicorn waiter nodded, somewhat expecting that to be the answer.
“Fine, for you Miss… Vinyl?” the stallion stumbled over her name.
Scratch managed to make sounds that somewhat resembled “I’ll haf the dinnerf phlatter fer two.”
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”
Vinyl swallowed her mouth full of the complementary snack. “Gimme the dinner platter for two, extra sauce, extra seasoning, extra fast.”
The waiter was starting to get quite impatient with the mare’s attitude, but decided to tolerate it one last time. “Will that be all, or would you like me to dance for you too?”
Before her marefriend could make another sly remark, Octavia cut in. “No, actually. We would also like a bottle of your specialty chardonnay for the four of us please.”
He let out a breath, happy to be treated with respect. “I will have it right out for you lovely ladies, please enjoy your evening.”
As the waiter left, an irritated Octavia turned to face an overbearing unicorn.
“What? I’ll tip him well… Maybe.”
The gray mare let out another sigh. “Oh Vinyl, I still wonder why I tolerate you.”
On queue the unicorn gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “That’s why.”
Their moment was interrupted by the sound of instruments being tuned. A small, well dressed group took the stage, consisting of a bassist, a drummer, a keyboardist, and a young mare on the saxophone and vocals. The bassist immediately started laying down a smooth jazz line, and was soon accompanied by the keyboards and drums. The frontmare began to sing a familiar tune, adapted for the jazz rhythm.
“I used to wonder what friendship could be…”
Hearing the lyrics, Rarity stood up out of her booth and extended her hoof to Fluttershy. “Fluttershy… May I have this dance?”
The pegasus squeaked, surprised by the sudden offer. She knew she’d be dancing with Rarity tonight, but didn’t expect it to be so soon.
“Oh… are you sure? I’m not a good dancer… We couldn’t leave Octavia and Vinyl here…”
Rarity looked to Octavia, who had Vinyl leaning on her shoulder, to be given an encouraging nod to proceed.
Fluttershy’s hoof was received by Rarity’s as the nervous mare was led to the side of the expanse of the room, which was already being filled with couples. There was quite a variety of pairings on the floor, which really showed how accepting a place Equestria was to live in.
The unicorn found the pegasus nervously putting her weight on her, partially hiding behind her purple mane.
“There’s no need to be scared Fluttershy, you’re here with me right now, and that’s all that matters.”
Rarity arched her neck around the winged mare’s, swaying along with the rhythmic music. Fluttershy was still nervous, but slowly began to feel herself relaxing in the mare’s embrace. Time seemed to slow for the two ponies as they enjoyed each other’s company. Rarity slowly felt her partner begin to get into the music as well. Soon they were equally pushing and pulling on each other, lost in the bliss of the moment, each loving the warmth of the other’s body. The unicorn brought her head back down, bringing it next to Fluttershy’s.
“Fluttershy, I’m so happy you decided to come out here. It means so much to me to be here with a beauty as you.”
“Oh Rarity, I just don’t know what to say. I’m honored to be here with you. There’s nopony I’d rather be with.”
The couple carried on with their dance until the song adaptation ended on a bittersweet note.
“Don’t you know you’re all my very best friends~”
The singer lingered on the last word as the rest of the band built up into a loud and beautiful crescendo, leaving all the ponies in the restaurant in applause, stomping their hooves on the floor. The singer got out a “Thank you very much” despite the roar of the crowd.
Rarity turned back to Fluttershy. “Well, shall we return to our seats? I’m sure Vinyl will absolutely love to have us back there,” she uttered sarcastically.
“Oh… Okay,” Fluttershy let out, now more scared of interacting with Vinyl than the dance floor.
They returned to their table to find Octavia putting her hooves together, shouting bravo for the two ponies’ first dance. The DJ still was hanging off of her with a look that seemed to say “I’m hungry” and “I’m satisfied” at the same time. More smooth music echoed through the room as the band played another song, giving their singer a break and letting ponies return to their seats.
“That was quite the performance you two, congratulations,” Octavia fed them as they assumed their positions.
“Thank you very much,” said Fluttershy surprisingly. The public dance had given her a new confidence, for now at least.
“Well unfortunately, much to Vinyl’s distress, our food has yet to arrive.”
The unicorn jerked up from her blissful daze. “Huh? What’s this about my favorite subject?”
“Food or yourself?” Octavia questioned.
Without thought the mare replied, “Yes,” drawing a giggle from Rarity.
Vinyl let herself slump back into the booth, letting her annoyance at her lack of food being known.
“Why don’t you eat another one of your oh so coveted bread rolls?” Octavia stated, motioning to the half full basket.
“I want food! Not wheat with air in between!”
Octavia laughed a very loud laugh. Although she can be nearly intolerable at times, she really was fond of Vinyl. They let another near silence enclose them as they waited for their food and the music continued to play.
“I thought Sergio was the entertainment tonight,” Rarity said, making a quick observation.
Octavia replied, “I thought so too, and he’s not one to lie. I guess they are saving the best for last.”
The unicorn nodded as silence returned to envelop them for another short moment.
Rarity broke the barrier, suddenly remembering a detail. “Octavia! We must discuss your dress! Terribly sorry, I forgot that’s the reason you called me here in the first place.”
“That’s right! Oh that’s my fault, you two just looked so happy out there, I didn’t want to ruin it,” the gray mare stated, quickly making up an excuse for her forgetfulness. “Please, what did you have in mind?”
“Well, I was thinking we could go with an elegant gala style design wit-“
The fashion pony was interrupted by a loud coughing.
“Vinyl!” Octavia shouted, turning to her marefriend.
“Huh, what? Oh, don’t mind me, please, carry on.”
Rarity gave her a quick passing glance. “As I was saying, we would like your design to flow with your body, so-“
Vinyl began to cough loudly again, adding some hacks and very disgusting sounds too add to the effect.
“Maybe we should continue this conversation elsewhere? Before we kill Vinyl because of her lung flare ups, of course.”
“Ah, yes. Lead the way, if you will,” Rarity replied, getting up out of her seat and following Octavia to the mare’s bathroom.
Once inside and completely positive she was out of earshot, Rarity inquired “How can you stand that mare? She’s been acting quite rude all evening.”
“Vinyl… Vinyl is something special. We have more in common than you might think; I owe some of my career to her.”
“Really?” the unicorn said, wanting to pick up on some gossip. “Do tell.”
Octavia sighed, “Well, that is a story for another time I’m afraid. Anyway, please tell me about this dress.”
Rarity took a deep breath and began to weave in the mare’s mind an elaborate and beautiful image of a dress that would leave any pony seething with jealously if they were to lay eyes on it.
Meanwhile back at the table, a young mare was spinning massive tales of big shows and performances, complete with a vivid description of the lights and the bass.
“… so that was when I jumped on the stage and yelled ‘Hello Canterlot! Are you ready to rock!?’ Heh, good times.”
Fluttershy shrunk back into her seat. “Oh my… That’s… nice.”
“Oh yeah, it’s basically been a party every night of my life for me. Well, that is until I met ‘Tavi.” She threw a roll in the air and caught it in her mouth. “Anyway, enough about me talking about me, I want to hear you talk about me. Just kidding, so what do you do, Flyshy?”
The pegasus grimaced at her newly dubbed nickname as she prepared her story, one that couldn’t compare to the excitement of Vinyl’s life.
“I… I care for the animals in Ponyville…”
“Oh, interesting. Sounds… smelly. You ever see a manticore? I once defeated one because he couldn’t take the bass.”
“Yes- I mean no, wait, yes. I’ve seen a manticore before.” Fluttershy was unsure of how to respond as she didn’t want to sound vain to the boastful pony.
“Say, has anypony ever told you that you’re really shy? Well, I guess that’s your name ‘Shy. How’d you end up with a big shot pony like Rarity?”
“I- I got lucky I guess, we’ve only been together for a few days…”
“Get out! It took weeks for Octavia to even admit we were in a relationship, let alone go out dancing in front of everypony. You’re pretty tough.”
Fluttershy smiled at the compliment. She had been called many things in the past, but it was the first time anypony had called her tough. Her smile quickly faded as a question came to her mind.
“Vinyl, how do you keep Octavia so… happy? Despite yourself.” She immediately shrunk back with an “I’m sorry,” as she realized what she said could be taken as an insult.
“You mean besides being the hot mamma-jamma I am?” The DJ gave a smile at her joking vanity. “Octavia will never admit this, but I’m hilarious. It’s true, I make her laugh so much that she never wants to leave. That, or that she owes her music career to me.” Vinyl noticed the confused look on the other mare’s face. “It’s a long story, tell you when I know you better.” Fluttershy nodded.
“Keep track of that Rarity, you don’t want to lose her, she’s a nice one. My advice? Do something unexpected, really sweep her off her hooves. Pour on some o’ ‘dat pegasus charm I hear about. I’m sure in no time her heart will be in your saddlebags, just you wait.” Vinyl shot her a massive reassuring smile as the yellow pony could feel herself relaxing. ‘Maybe this DJ isn’t a bad pony after all,’ she thought to herself.
“Anyway Flyshy, here come the mares in question right now.” She turned to see their counterparts. “Welcome back from happy dress land!”
Octavia was the first to address her. “I assume you two found something to talk about in our absence.”
“Oh yeah, I was telling ‘Shy all about that one time I dropped the bass so hard it made your heart go ‘BBWWWAAAAAA’.”
The gray mare laughed at Vinyl’s falsified story while Rarity expressed her sympathy for Fluttershy. “I’m terribly sorry I had to leave you with her. I completely forgot what I was getting you into.”
“Oh, it’s no problem Rarity, really. I had a nice chat.”
Rarity was surprised the timid pegasus even opened her mouth to the unicorn, but decided not to comment on it. All that mattered to her was that Fluttershy was alright, which made her smile. “Good, very good.” It was nice to see her marefriend come out of her shell a bit, especially with a pony like Vinyl.
No sooner had she said that than the waiter levitating a chilled bottle of wine came by. He placed it efficiently on the table along with the glasses, quickly saying “Your chardonnay,” before leaving immediately, not wanting to talk to Vinyl.
Rarity was surprised by the tardiness. “How long does it take to simply bring out a bottle?”
Vinyl smirked. “Well obviously long enough.” She quickly and sloppily levitated the bottle, pouring everypony a glass.
Fluttershy sniffed it, then turned to Rarity. “Um, Rarity? I’ve never had anything like this before.”
“Oh don’t worry about it dear, you don’t have to drink it if you don’t want to.”
The timid pony looked at it again and then took an experimental sip. She immediately coughed, not expecting that kind of taste, as she had been drinking water her entire life. The words “Excuse me,” escaped her lips. On the other side of the table, Vinyl found herself in a fit of laughter. She’d never seen anything like it, a scared little pegasus taking a sip of wine, and then apologizing after she does so. The DJ couldn’t contain herself. Octavia found herself giggling as well, not from Fluttershy but from Vinyl’s reaction.
Rarity wrapped a comforting hoof around her. “You know, you’re really adorable, has anypony ever told you that?”
Fluttershy was taken off guard by the statement. “Oh, I’m adorable? I’m sorry…”
It was now Rarity’s turn to laugh. The moment was just too good for her. Their laughter would have continued if it wasn’t for one of Vinyl’s outbursts.
“Food ahoy!” She pointed her hoof to their waiter levitating several plates, two of which being of substantial size. He placed the platters in front of the mares, putting the salads in front of those who ordered them.
“Octavia…” Vinyl said with a somber tone in her voice as she eyed her platter for two. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to eat all this…”
The lights in the room dimmed as the night went on; everypony’s plate was empty, except for, of course, Vinyl’s. As well, their bottle of chardonnay was devoid of any sort of liquid, surprisingly with Fluttershy drinking quite a bit. For a dry pegasus.
A lone, dressy colt took the stage and trotted up to the microphone. “Mares and Gentlecolts, may I present to you our final entertainment, Mr. Sergio Staccato.”
Applause echoed through the restaurant-turned-theater as the tall, underdressed stallion took the stage, a guitar clutched in his hooves. He took his seat and his voice resonated through the microphone. “Thank you all for coming out here tonight, this song goes out to anypony who has lost… or found somepony.” He smiled at those last words.
The guitar was positioned into his hooves as he began to play a melody, showing the skill it takes to play in that manner. He looked up into the mic and began to sing:
“For one thousand years I waited here for you
Waited every night
For I thought you were the
Answer to my life…”
During his song, Rarity reached out to Fluttershy once more. “May I have another dance?”
Without hesitation, Fluttershy led her strait to the floor, this time dominating the middle of the space, as opposed to the side like they did earlier. The pair looked over to find Vinyl and Octavia doing the same.
“Luna won’t you cry for me?
I’m as lonely as I’ll ever be
I am forced back into the start
Is there any way to fix a broken heart?”
They swayed along together in perfect sync as the beautiful lyrics and somber melody resonated. Fluttershy found herself humming along to the music, even though she didn’t know the words. She could feel Rarity’s warm breath upon her as they swam through the music in harmony. Her right wing extended and draped itself over the beautiful pony. All thoughts within her seemed to come to a standstill as she was flooded with emotion. Tears welled up in her eyes as she felt she was brought to new life. This is where she was meant to be. This was her purpose.
Rarity leaned over and nuzzled the now openly crying mare. She felt a certain happiness flowing through her; she felt the warmth and security that her partner’s wing brought, but she also felt something more. Something painful, but desirable as well. The unicorn herself began to cry as feelings overcame her; she felt that this was much too good for her, she didn’t deserve this wonderful pegasus.
“Is there any way to fix a broken heart?”
The beautiful song ended too soon as Sergio left the stage as quickly as he arrived, saying a quick “Thank you” to his audience. The entire crowd erupted in applause at the moving performance. Hooves hitting the ground echoed for a few minutes before they died down, when they saw that no stallion or mare had come to replace Sergio upon the stage, they realized it was time to go.
Ponyville’s couple returned to their table to say their goodbyes to Octavia and Vinyl Scratch, each wishing each other the best of wishes before departing. One thing that Fluttershy did notice, however, was a rather substantial tip that Vinyl had left.
The pair found themselves walking the streets of Canterlot, the pink maned mare leaning up against her counterpart for balance. Taking a cab back home would give them an arrival time of about four in the morning, so they had no time to waste. The ponies called the nearest taxi to ferry them back to Ponyville.
Fluttershy stumbled out of the cab, slightly disoriented from the long night. She found herself tipping over, only to be caught by none other than Rarity. The winged mare let her partner carry most of her weight back to Carousel Boutique, not that she had a problem with it, of course. The door was opened quickly by the unicorn’s magic as she allowed the two ponies inside, turning on the lights.
It took some effort, but Rarity managed to get the dizzy pegasus up the stairs, thinking it inadvisable for her to fly in her current state. They eventually made it to the master bedroom, Rarity letting the other exhausted pony fall down on her bed. The unicorn herself was about to crawl in and turn out the lights before the beautiful silence was broken.
“Rarity…” Fluttershy spoke up, letting her confidence truly show. “I- I love you.”
At that statement Fluttershy felt her eyes get heavy, having her last memory being Rarity’s lips interlocking with hers before a deep slumber overtook her, reality becoming indistinguishable from dream.