This little crush you have had on me for the past year has been as obvious as Spike’s crush on Rarity. Although unlike that crush, you actually have a chance with this mare. I was wondering if you were going to ask me at all to be honest, but to answer your question, yes. I would be delighted to accompany you on a date. Meet me at the library this Friday at seven.
You read the letter again, your mind refusing to believe what your eyes were seeing. You didn’t expect a yes; heck you didn’t even expect a reply back even. After you delivered the book and the initial high of doing something monumentally stupid had worn off, you started thinking of how to back out of it. You were trying to decide between extensive plastic surgery or moving all the way to Appaloosa (or maybe both) to get away from this predicament when the mailmare came. Or more literally, the mailmare came crashing through your roof. Sigh, Ditzy Doo could be a hooffull sometimes couldn’t she?
So here you were; you had gotten a response from Twilight, a pony-shaped hole had been made in your roof, and a new realization dawning on your already volatile state.
Oh Celestia, I’ve never been on an actual date before!
Not that there was anything wrong with you, you assured yourself quickly. You were a nice colt, perhaps a bit bookish and maybe, possibly, a teensy bit reclusive…ok you didn’t get out much at all. How could you though? Your very nature compelled you to write, and that usually kept you near your typewriter most of the time. And you couldn’t exactly lug a typewriter to and from anywhere that easily, so you were usually confined to your house.
And even when you did go out you didn’t talk much. At Twilight’s welcome party you played the role of a wallflower quite well. Nopony really bothered you, except the usual drunken Berry Punch and Pinkie’s guest checks. Nope, nopony bothered you. Not even Cheerilee, your best friend. Was she even there? You didn’t know, even if she was you were too busy staring at that one flight of stairs all night.
You let out a groan in frustration. How in Celestia’s name were you going to pull this off? Somehow, either by dumb luck or divine intervention, you were set up with a date with the mare of your dreams, but you didn’t have a clue what to do. Friday, she said the date was Friday. That gives me…a day and a half to come up with something.
You pranced on your hooves a little, trying to work out the building anxiety with spontaneous exercise, or maybe it was dancing? No, you remembered couldn’t dance; it looked more like you were trying to shake spiders off your legs when you tried. Ok, no dancing. You turned around, unexpectedly coming face to face with Ditzy Doo.
“Gah!” you yelped in surprise, falling backwards. She hasn’t left yet? Another groan of frustration escaped you.
Ditzy just smiled and looked at you. Well she looked at you and a portion of the wall to her right. Seriously, you could not get used to those eyes no matter how hard you tried. “Muffin?” she asked, extending a muffin that looked oddly familiar to you.
“Ditzy Doo,” you start. “Were you eating my muffins? Again?”
The mare nodded her head enthusiastically, her smile not fading. She once again extended the delicious baked treat in your direction. Not seeing much of an option you take it from her and set it aside. “Say, don’t you have a route to finish?” you ask innocently. She just nodded quickly and took off through the hole she had just made.
Finally, some space to think. Usually you wouldn’t have been so eager to shoo her away, but then again you weren’t exactly having a normal day anymore. Ok, I need to think of something, anything. What can we do? Ugh, c’mon Arthur you’re a smart pony, think of something! You gritted your teeth and shut your eyes tight, trying everything in your power to coax one ounce of brilliance out of the depths of your mind.
Seconds passed with nothing, eventually bleeding into minutes of fruitless efforts. With a sigh, you conceded defeat, for now at least. You look at the ground, Twilight’s letter resting at your hooves, the innocent words mocking you with promises of a potentially perfect evening if you could think of something to do.
That’s it; I need to get away from here. You stamp your hooves to emphasize this, although the act would have looked silly if anypony was watching, since nopony could read your thoughts. You look at the new mare-shaped skylight in your ceiling as you trot to the door. Screw it, I’ll fix it later. And with that thought you exit your home and make your way to your favorite thinking place in Ponyville.
Not that you were an alcoholic or anything. Far from it actually, you couldn’t stand anything that smelled or tasted of the disgusting substance. But at two in the afternoon the bar was utterly deserted except for the barmare or barcolt on duty at the time. The quiet clinking of glasses and the white noise of some kind of radio show in the background somehow always put you in a Zen state of mind.
You look down to your drink; double shot of water, on the rocks, your usual order. This was the other reason you came to the bar when it was deserted; it was bad enough the barpony would snicker and make a snarky remark at your choice of drink, you couldn’t imagine what other ponies would say if they were around. You sighed; even your favorite spot in town was causing you to draw blanks in the ideas department. Well, things are sure looking up for me. You take a big gulp of your drink. Looks like for once, I need help, but who can I ask? I don’t really have any friends I can talk to.
As sad as it was, in your entire life you had only managed to make two real friends that lasted. Oh sure, you had acquaintances but you and they never really stayed in enough contact to be considered ‘friends.’ The only friend you really had in Ponyville was Cheerilee, but she was busy teaching right now. Your other friend was-
You jumped, not expecting anypony else to come into the bar, let alone one that recognized you. Turning around, you saw the last mare you ever expected to see; your first, and closest, friend Octavia Philharmonica.
“Octy?” you asked, your voice calm despite the shock you just received. Your eyes were wide at the sight of your foalhood friend standing just inside the door.
The grey mare laughed, “I’m surprised you still remember me. I haven’t seen you since you moved away from Canterlot.”
“Likewise…” You could only watch in disbelief as she trotted towards you and took the stool next to you. You still couldn’t believe that it was her. Like she said, you haven’t seen her since you moved away from Canterlot a few years ago. Your spirits drop a little when you remember the day you decided to move to Ponyville. You wouldn’t miss Canterlot in the least bit, bunch of stuck up aristocratic ponies that would constantly criticize your stories.
No, instead you would miss the one friend you had since foalhood; Octavia. You remember when you told her, right after one of her concerts. She had just told you about her and Vinyl moving in together. It hurt you that you had to counter good news with bad, but she understood that Canterlot wasn’t for you.
It was so long ago, and although you tried your best to stay in touch, life got in the way and you didn’t talk to her much anymore. But now…she couldn’t really be here could she? You reach out with your hoof and prod her side rather forcibly to investigate.
“Ow! What was that about?” she asked, rubbing her side with an annoyed look on her face. Yep, she was definitely real alright.
“Sorry,” you say. “I had to make sure you were real.”
“Why wouldn’t I be real?” Her annoyed look morphed into a humored smile. “All that water you’ve been drinking starting to affect your vision?” Your eyes narrowed at her snarky remark. Well, Octy is the same, but this sense of humor of hers is new.
Smirking, you lean back and stare at her flank. In a completely non perverted way of course, she was your best friend after all and that would just be awkward.
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” she asked, turning her flank away from you. She had a rather stern look on her face.
You chuckle; “Well looks like Vinyl was finally able to pull that stick out of your rump. You actually have some humor in you now.” You lean back over your drink and flash a grin.
“Well, when you live with somepony for a while they do tend to rub off on you,” she said dismissively. “Although I suppose it’s a little one-sided right now. She’s rubbed off on me a little but I still can’t get her to do anything sophisticated. Sometimes I wonder what I see in that delinquent I call a marefriend.” Ah, there’s the old stuck up Octy showing through.
You just give her a nod. “You and she balance each other quite well actually; I really think she’s what you needed.” You look back at your drink with a sigh.
“Hey, something up?”
“No, it’s just; I’ve been under a lot of stress recently,” you reply. You look down at your glass again before taking another gulp of water.
“Stress huh?” she asked as she ordered a glass of Jura whiskey (no ice of course). “What kind of “stress” are you under now Pages?” You smile a little at her use of your childhood nickname.
“Well if you must know,” you say, dragging out each word longer than you intended to. “I’ve got a date with somepony.”
Her eyes widen a little. “You have a…date?” She smirked at you; “Well look at that, little Pages is finally becoming a colt.”
“Low blow Octy, low blow.” You sigh a little, causing your glass to fog up. She knew all too well your history with romance, in that there was no history. “But yeah, I have a date tomorrow at seven.”
“Soooooo,” she started, “are you going to tell me who it’s with or what?” She had an eager look in her eyes as she leaned closer to you.
“…her name is Twilight Sparkle…”
Octavia almost fell out of her barstool at the mention of the name. Once she recovered, she started laughing. “Celestia's student? Haha, good one Pages, but seriously, who is it?”
You remained silent, just looking at her with a stoic look on your face. This seemed to convince her as you watched her eyes widen then return to normal. She shoots you a smile before she speaks again. “Well, this is quite the surprise now isn’t it?”
“You’re telling me, I couldn’t be happier actually.” You let out another sigh; “But it’s caused so much stress in such a short time that I can’t think straight.”
“Let me guess, you don’t know what you and her are going to do.” It was more of a statement, and you couldn’t help but smile a little at how well she knew you, even if you haven’t seen each other in years.
“Am I still that easy to read?” you ask her.
“Easier to read than that gibberish you call stories are,” she replies smartly, a slight but noticeable grin appearing on her face.
“Oh sure, kick a colt while he’s down.”
“Calm down, I’m just kidding.” She takes a drink of her whiskey, seeming to savor the beverage. You shuddered slightly as you imagined what the drink would taste like. Disgusting. “Have you tried asking her friends what she might enjoy?”
The question caught you off guard; all you could do was offer a slack-jawed expression and a single word. “Huh?”
Octavia face-hoofed, “Her friends you silly colt. Who better to ask about something she might enjoy than the ponies closest to her?”
Her words sank into your skull, but you still held the slack-jawed stare. Slowly the wheels in your head started to turn like they usually do, and an idea started to formulate. Of course! You slam your hooves down on the table in your newfound excitement, earning you a cold glare from the barcolt that was on duty.
“Octy, you’re a genius!” you exclaim.
She just sighed and smiled, “No, I’m just able to think for you sometimes. Now don’t you have ponies to go talk to? Daylight’s burning.” She held a satisfied grin on her face as she took another sip of her drink.
“Ohmygosh you’re right!” You clumsily stand up, knocking over the bar stool and nearly tripping yourself in the process. The barcolt just gives you another cold glare, clearly not amused with your antics. You lay a few bits on the bar (the water was free, but you wanted to at least tip the colt for having to clean up after you) and were just about to rush out of the establishment when a single thought crossed your mind. Pausing at the door, you turn to your friend who was looking at her half-empty drink.
“Hey Octy?” you ask.
“Hmm?” she replies, halfway turning her head towards you.
“What brings you to Ponyville? I mean, I’m really glad to see you again, and I feel bad for bailing on you like this, but I thought you were busy with your ensemble.” You rub the back of your neck with your hoof as you talk, feeling a little dumb that you didn’t ask this earlier.
Octavia just smiled at you warmly, knowing exactly what you were thinking. To her, you were always an open book. “Well since you asked,” she said, suppressing a chuckle, “The ensemble took a week off. As to why I’m in Ponyville, I wanted to see an old friend again.”
Your jaw dropped slightly at her answer, but it quickly changed into a warm smile. “Thanks Octy, you’re the best.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” she replied sarcastically.
Heh, looks like Vinyl has affected her more than she wants to admit. You open the door to the bar and turn back to Octavia one last time. “Are you going to be in town much longer?”
“I’ll still be here after you’re date is over with. Now get out of here Pages, you’ve got a mare to impress.” She waved her hoof to shoo you out of the bar.
“Ok, I’ll see you later then.” And with that you exited the bar to begin your plans for the next night.