It's Not Fine

by Inky Shades

Chapter IV: Messages

Morning or night? Sunset hadn't opened the blinds in weeks. So the two times blended into each other to the point where she no longer could tell the difference between them. If it weren't for her clock, she'd probably never know what time it was. Of course there were days where she didn't bother to check the time at all. On those days she remained in bed staring at the bumps that covered her ceiling. Today felt like one of those days.

There was a weight that kept her tied to the bed, motionless. Or at least that's what it felt like. But she didn't have anywhere to be this morning so it didn't matter. What about school? Didn't you say that you'd try again today? Right. There was that. She sighed, but still didn't make an effort to get up.

Gone were the days where she'd lie in bed because she wanted to, not because she felt she had no choice. There's always a choice. She turned her head in an effort to distance herself from that thought. In doing so, she remembered the times she spent with Twilight lying on the bed during or after one of their study sessions.

'You know, when I was little, my brother used to tell me that the bumps on my bedroom ceiling were made by the sandman every time I slept. He said that it was the only way the sandman could communicate and that's why the bumps looked like they moved every morning. Unfortunately, no one could ever understand what he wanted to say. Of course I knew my brother's story wasn't true. But sometimes, even now, when I'm stressed, I like to imagine some ethereal being trying to write encouraging words on my ceiling. Hey—don't laugh!'

Sometimes Sunset heard Twilight's voice so clearly in her mind that it felt like she was right there, like she could reach out and touch her. If she closed her eyes, Twilight was there beside her, and everything was as it should be. But you can't live in dreams. You need to live now

Her gaze drifted to the sea of bumps above her. Part of her wondered if maybe in those dots, Twilight was trying to say something. Wouldn't that be a surprise? But would she want to know what she'd say? Why the hesitation? Are you afraid about what she might say? Yes. Why?

Because what if—she's angry at you? What if she hates you for what you didn't do? Do you honestly believe that? Sunset sighed. Exactly. Do you want to know what she'd actually tell you? No. She'd tell you to—no—stop blaming yourself. You know this is true.

And it was. Sunset knew deep down that Twilight would want her to stop the blame. If anything, Twilight would be distressed in the knowledge that she hadn't been to school in so long. How are you going to get into a good college if you don't graduate? She could hear it now.

“I should get up,” she murmured. Still, she didn't make much effort to move, instead glancing at her phone by her bedside. “Maybe I'll just check my messages.” You're stalling. Reaching over, she grabbed her phone and played back the first message.

“Hello, Miss Shimmer. This is the manager of the Cafe Hay, Coffee Grinds, calling to issue you a final warning. You were supposed to show up for work a week ago on the tenth. If you don't come to work tomorrow, then I'm going to have to—”

Skip message. Next.

“Hi, sugarcube. Just calling to see how you're doing. I've got a lot of work to do on the farm tomorrow, but if you want to come over for a visit, I'd be happy to have you.” End message. Next.

“Sunset, darling, Fluttershy told me she saw you this morning. How come you didn't say hi? I know things have been rough for you, but we all miss you. Give me a call back when you get this. Much love, darling!” End message.

Why didn't you say hi? Sunset lowered her phone, eyes downcast. “I'm sorry,” she said. Next message.

“Hey, so I heard you made it to the front of the school. That's awesome! You could've stopped by though, but I won't hold it against you. Fluttershy and I are at the park if you want to hang. Say, let me pass this off to her. Fluttershy!”

There was a brief pause before the message continued.

“H-Hello, Sunset. Don't worry if you can't come to the park.” Sunset had to press her ear to the phone to hear Fluttershy's voice. “You know you can call me whenever, right? I mean it. O—” End message.

“Thanks, Fluttershy.” Do you hear how much they care about you? She did, and it made her want to smile and cry and stop playing the messages. But she continued.

“Sunset Shimmer!” She had to hold the phone away from her to avoid being deafened by the voice on the other end. “I'm so proud of you for leaving your apartment. Ooh, I know. I should throw you a 'leaving your apartment' party. It'd be so much fun! There'd be streamers and balloons and we'd all be together again.” Beneath the sounds of exuberance, Sunset heard a hint of sadness. “But only if you feel like it. Let me know!”

She was about to turn her phone off when she noticed a final message. So she played it.

“Hello, Sunset.” That voice. Her heart jolted and she sat rigid against the bed's headboard, hands shaking as she gripped the phone, vision glued to the screen. “It's Twilight Velvet. We need to talk in person. It's important. Can you come over to the house tomorrow? I'll be home all day. So anytime will do. That's all.” End Message. The phone slipped from her fingers and a chill traveled through her body. Twilight's mom had just called her.