And so, work resumed on the princess models. You tried to forget what had transpired. Trying to forget that you now had two fillies after you. Diamond Tiara being ever so ignorant as she does her best to happily guide you. All you had to do was get this right but… who knew painting Twilight, a pony you've seen a million times through the screen. Would be so a damn tough. Screw not being left handed. You weren't mouth handed.
Miss Cheerilee was walking about, inspecting everyone's work. Happily giving them tips if needed and telling them what a good job they were doing. She stopped at the Crusader's table when she noticed Applebloom wasn't in the best of moods. You had a hard time focusing on your work, feeling Applebloom was going to say something worrisome.
Then you noticed Applebloom smile, and Miss Cheerilee smile. No doubt Applebloom told her some usual kid bullshit.
"Anon, is something the matter?" Diamond Tiara asked you. She noticed your attention was wavering.
"Well, didn't he say he was tired too?" Silver Spoon yawned. "Really weird, like, how a lot of us didn't get any sleep"
"Yeah… That's right. Just, nodding off a bit… Sorry." You slap your face a bit with your hooves, faking your tiredness. "There we go, much better. See?" You gave a wide eyed look.
"O-ok..." Diamond Tiara couldn't help but think something else was wrong. She had noticed Applebloom was acting weird enough to even give Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle an inkling of concern. But she didn't say anything about it, she didn't want to think anything was even remotely wrong. She was worried she may have been the cause.
Diamond Tiara gently reached to your head and tilted it "If you move your head like this, and carefully brush along her neck, you can get it all painted without hitting her mane."
Oh god… more touching. Ugh, even if your mind found this all wrong. You always felt a sense of warmth from being touched by these ponies. And Diamond Tiara, who legit liked you, didn't help these feelings one bit. You were starting to think somewhere deep inside, you liked her too… but then… Applebloom, what were you supposed to do about her?
Cheerilee then came upon your table as part of her teacherly patrol, you put down your brush to speak incase she has anything to say. She took a moment to inspect the figures. Then smiled at the three of you. "Now this is what I like to see."
"What's that miss Cheerilee?" Asked Silver Spoon, curious as to what she meant.
"You two girls working together with our new student. It's one of the very foundations of this exercise. And what's more, all three of you look like you're all being very good friends"
Diamond Tiara grinned happily as she gave you a hug "We are friends! Me, Anon, and Silver Spoon!"
"Well then, I'd say you three understand the very reason why we are doing this project. The very foundation of friendship is making compromises, working together, and sharing life experiences with one another. Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon. I know you've been friends for quite some time. So to see you working together with Anon as if he had been friends with the both of you just as long. Well, I'm very proud. And Diamond, It's good to see you being so well mannered these days. I'm sure you make your father very proud." Cherilee couldn't mention her mother, she saw her mother… and she didn't like her.
Diamond Tiara nodded, almost becoming emotional and crying "T-thank you ms.Cheerilee, I'm really happy to hear that. And I promise to keep being good. Ponies are a lot nicer when I'm nicer to them! It makes me… happy.."
Cheerilee nodded "As it should be, it's always a wonderful feeling to help other ponies and treat them with kindness. It's one of the reasons I became a teacher. To help the little ones like yourself to grow up to be happy, knowledgeable stallions and mares."
"That's beautiful Miss Cheerilee" Diamond Tiara was captivated by her words.
That… aww… dammit Cheerilee… she was such a sweet teacher. Better than ones you ever had. Who mostly didn't give a shit either way.
Cheerilee then looked to you "And speaking of being happy. Anon, how are you enjoying your first day of class?"
Good and bad. Diamond Tiara, despite everything. wasn't being overbearing. it's Applebloom's brash attempts at affection and trying to obviously take your attention away that was aggravating.
You look to Cheerilee, and give her the best answer you thought you could get away with. You really wish the day was as perfect as you were going to make it out to be. "I really like it. Everypony here seems pretty cool. And, everything here is pretty comfy. I don't feel threatened like I did in my old school. And… you're really understanding and nice."
Cheerilee giggled and gave you a rub on your head. "I'm glad to hear that Anon. If you have any trouble in my class, don't hesitate to ask for help… also… don't think you can flatter me little colt. Many have tried and failed. There's no easy grades in my class." Cheerilee gave you a cute but devious smirk before going back to a cheerful smile.
Ohh, that was a little scary. But justified, you guessed. You can't imagine how many kids must have tried getting out of trouble by complimenting her. She then walked off to inspect other tables and be of any use to any of her students.
"Diamond, do you mind if I work on Cadence while Anon works on Twilight… he's kind of taking forever.." Silver Spoon said, being a little impatient.
Diamond Tiara… you swear, for a second there, grew a face of defensive anger before going back to a gentle smile. Did she get angry there for a moment? "Y-yeah, I don't mind. Come on Anon, I know you can get Twilight done before class finishes up!"
You pick the brush back up, and go back to following Diamond's instructions. Every so often she'd carefully move the model for you so you could get to unpainted spots. Or adjust the brush in your mouth or adjust your very head, tilting it enough to help with your angle of strokes. She was actually pretty good at leading you through this despite your mistakes. But, she was also taking a few liberties. You could feel her hooves at time slide along under your neck.
And what's worse, every moment. You slowly began to enjoy her attention. You thought, why the fuck not? Pinkie was never going to give you the time of day. Lyra was just a cute tease. Bonbon definitely not. And Fluttershy… you could never forgive yourself if you ever lusted for her ever again… and even if you could, Discord wouldn't give you the chance.
But then… Fucking Applebloom. FUCKING… HER. Even if you did 100% accept Diamond Tiara, you'd be hurting Applebloom. Ugh… why was this shit so complicated?
And so you just focused on your work. Eyeing Applebloom every so often.
The attention you were receiving. Applebloom again was noticing. She looked upset until Scootaloo or Sweetie Belle called for her attention. You still couldn't figure out what you did to earn her favor. Was it how you stood up to Diamond before? Was it just because you were cute? Was it because you were the first male crusader? Who the fuck knows?
"Diamond, can you ease up a little, my neck is getting a little stiff” You lied, you didn't want Applebloom to get any more upset.
"O-h..Did I hurt you Anon?" Diamond Tiara said in a low voice. worried that she may have hurt you in some way.
"No, just ya know. All this head turning is making my neck ache."
"Oh, well, if you're having trouble with any spots. I'll take over for you so you don't hurt your neck"
"Thanks, I appreciate that."
She was being considerate and nice. She was trying so damn hard. It was endearing. The more it went on, the more you wished Applebloom would just… stop. If you only knew why, if you only knew to what degree she liked you. You could probably nip it right in the bud. Shit was so confusing...
The rest of the school day went on like this. You had Diamond get less and less touchy until finally the day ended with the bell ringing, and Miss Cheerilee addressing the class, telling them the usual things a teacher would say. By the end of the day, Silver Spoon was able to get Cadence just about finished up. But your Twilight… Her head, wings, and horn were left untouched.
Ugh… at least you were getting better at this. the rest looked fine. You gave the model a somber look. Put down by your failure to get it done. and the current situation with the fillies didn't help this either.
Diamond Tiara noticed your stare, it made her frown herself "Anon, it's ok. We still have one more day to get it done. If you want, you can take home the paint and brushes and practice on something. Then tomorrow we can get it all done together. How does that sound?"
Your eyes looked upon Applebloom for a moment before turning to Diamond. Applebloom was packing up and getting ready to leave with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. Carefully putting the collage of Cutie Marks in the center of the table.
"Thanks Diamond, but don't worry. My dad can set me up with some paints and a brush. I don't want to take these and then forget em tomorrow."
You were being truthful about that. Even moreso, you didn't want them being lost in the void that surrounded your house for any reason. Diamond Tiara just agreed with you, following your words as if it absolute truth. "Ok… but uhm, is there anything you want to do? School's over."
Silver Spoon yawned heavily "I know what I want to do… I'm really sorry Diamond. But, I'm really tired from last night. I'm like… going to go home and get some sleep. You should too, you were up longer than I was"
Diamond Tiara shook her head "I'm ok. Besides, somepony has to stay and explain a few other things about the project to Anon. Since he's our partner now."
"Huh? Uhh… is there any more to explain?" Silver Spoon was a little confused.
"You know… uhmm… give him a few pointers on painting, and explain to him why we chose to do princess models in case it ever comes up… things like that" Diamond Tiara gives Silver Spoon a big smile, a squee coming out of her.
And Silver Spoon… reluctantly buys it. "Ok… But your dad is gonna be angry if you fall asleep somewhere and don't go home… are you sure you'll be ok?"
Diamond Tiara nodded "Mhmm, and if anything happens. Anon will be there to make sure everything turns out ok, right Anon?"
"Ok… seeya tomorrow.." Silver Spoon was a little reluctant to leave her best friend by herself with you. Not because of you, but because she was afraid you'd both fall asleep somewhere and forget to go home. But... she herself was tired enough that her bed sounded like the best thing in the world. Just a nap...
Diamond Tiara and you watched as Silver Spoon got up from her chair to go home. At last, Diamond had you to herself… until… the Crusaders came to the table to talk with you.