Finally, the weekend you had waited for had arrived. Everything was set up: you had Mark's old car, a hotel room was reserved for the weekend, and all your bags were in the car. Four days, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, filled with as much fun as a tourist could have. If only Fluttershy would get in the car.
“Really Fluttershy! It's not dangerous! I've never crashed a car before,” you say, pulling at a clothed hoof as Fluttershy had decided to wear her hoodie you had bought her. A breeze that sends goosebumps up your unclothed arms reminds you why she was wearing a hoodie anyways. But, unfortunately for you, the remaining three hooves had seemingly glued themselves to the ground.
Fluttershy stubbornly remains still, staying at least 5 feet away from the car at all times. “It's just that, it's so... fast... and scary... and … confined...”
Looking at the beast that was Mark's van, you could hardly say that it was confined. “Flutters! This is the most spacious it gets! More room then you would have on a jet, or a bus, or a train. It's not nearly as fast as some of those. And it's about as scary as you are Fluttershy! We'll be safe!”
“Well... I don't know...” She hesitates. It wasn't like she had much of a choice if she wanted to get to Chicago. You sigh and pretend to walk away, heading towards your apartment behind her. Instead, however, you turn around right as you exit Fluttershy's field of view and grab a hold of her hoodie's drawstrings, shutting the hood in one swift motion. Before she reacts to this, you pick her up and place her in the shotgun seat of the car, buckling her in. You shut the door and jump in the other side of the vehicle, starting it up. Beside you, Fluttershy frantically fiddles with the seat-belt. Before she can figure out how to release herself, you pull out from the parking and toward the street. Already, Fluttershy grabs both sides of her seat, eyes wide open, staring at the road ahead. If it wasn't she honestly seemed to be scared for her life, and flinched when a car passed by you, you might have broken out laughing. You hope your announcement for the day would keep her mind off the potential dangers on the road ahead of her.
“So, Flutters... You really like animals, right?” you ask, slowly navigating the not so crowded roads, as you had recommended leaving early enough to be able to enjoy your day in Chicago.
“Y-Y-yes...?” she manages out, not taking her eyes off of the road.
“Well, I was thinking... In Chicago they have an aquarium, apparently a really good one too. There's lots of fish there and stuff. If you would like to go-”
“Oh yes! I love my animal creatures, but I don't get to see underwater creatures nearly enough. Sometimes, I wish I was a seaweed, so I could be with my sea creature friends all the time.”
Although her answer was a bit odd, the idea of spending a day looking at creatures not always accessible to her seemed to help her lighten up. You decide now would be a good time to ask.
“Great! So can I go over 10 miles per hour now?”
The trip continues, and before too many hours Fluttershy had almost stopped shaking completely. However, due to her being tensed up almost the entire way, she needed to get out and stretch. You pulled over at the nearest rest area and help her out of the car before going to fetch yourself a snack from one of the vending machines. You pull out your wallet, stocked for a weekend of vacationing, and purchase a Snickers bar.
You walk back to the park bench Fluttershy is stretching at, first stretching her legs, propping a forehoof on the park bench and leaning. She steps up on the park bench and unfolds her wings. You stop chewing your Snickers and marvel at this sight, Fluttershy's full wingspan extended, feathers pointed out, glowing a bright yellow in the rays of sun, her pink mane flowing out in the wind--
Your thoughts are interrupted as you realize the staring probably is making her uncomfortable. You take another bite of your Snickers, almost finishing it off.
“Uh- So, are we ready to go then Flutters?” She answers by fluttering off the park bench and stepping up into the front seat of the car. You grab the discarded hoodie she took off on the park bench, and follow her into the car.
Due to you following Fluttershy's strict rules to stay at exactly the speed limit, you arrive in Chicago a couple of hours after noon. You park the car in the parking garage next to the hotel you and Fluttershy are staying at and go check into the hotel before going anywhere. The person behind the desk directs you to the elevators and gives you your key card to your room. Fluttershy insists that you just drop you stuff off into the hotel room and go to the Aquarium. You don't see any reason to keep Fluttershy waiting, and within a few minutes are back outside again. You look around for the nearest bus stop, but pause as you realize a bus was probably the last thing Fluttershy wanted to be in right now. You decide to walk the few blocks down to the Aquarium. Fortunately, your phone's GPS makes it easy to track down a path to the Aquarium. Fluttershy hovers her way alongside you, her excitement fueling the longest straight flight you've seen since Fluttershy has been your roommate. You're almost sad to see it end when you reach the steps up to the entrance of the aquarium.
The main attraction for most visitors to the Shedd Aquarium may have been the tanks full of Sea turtles or sharks, of exhibits with jellyfish and such, but by far the most entertaining thing was Fluttershy, chasing down all the different creatures. Like a kid in a candy shop, and most likely wearing the same expression, Fluttershy giddily buzzed around the aquarium visiting all the creatures she could find. Although you also enjoyed an exhibit or two, watching Fluttershy was far more satisfying. You pull out your buzzing phone while following Fluttershy towards a tank full of a few long fish.
The number is new to you, “Hello? Who is this?”
“Drew? DREW! Hey man! It's Mark. Me and Cool Breeze are here in Chicago, and probably will be checked into our hotel room and everything by 6, if you want to go grab some dinner with us.”
“Mark! What happened to your old phone? And that's great as long as Fluttershy can come. Don't want to ditch her alone in a big city, she might freak out.”
“Well of course I'm inviting her too! Anyways do you want to meet somewhere or get together first?”
You consider a moment before replying, “Why don't you meet us in the front lobby of our hotel. We should get back there by 6:30 or so anyways.”
“'Kay sounds good. See ya then.”
“Alright later.” Your phone beeps and you return it to your pocket. You had about an hour left until you had to meet Mark. You might as well go get Fluttershy and start walking back. You follow her to where a show is going on, and Fluttershy is watching the beluga whales dance. On the other hand, Mark could wait, the look of awe on Fluttershy's face was worth it.
“Oh, and the otters?”
“Yes, I saw the otters, Fluttershy. I took pictures of them.” Fluttershy is almost instantly by your side, peering over your shoulder at your phone. You had taken plenty of pictures of the visit to the aquarium, and were more than willing to share them with Fluttershy. You flip through pictures as you walk back towards your hotel. It's only a bit past 6:45, but already the sun is starting to set a little bit. You pick up the pace. You reach the hotel lobby just as your phone rings again.
“Hey,” you answer
“Yo Drew, buddy, you forgot to tell us what hotel were headed to.”
You groan, “Sorry, We're staying at the Hilton hotel. The one by Grant Park I think.” You begin walking towards the elevator. Your phone beeps, and you look down to see that Mark has exited the call. It isn't a moment later before-
“DREW!” You spin around to see who called your name. Sure enough, Mark and a blue pegasus are sitting in the hotel lobby. You grin and walk towards them.
Mark offers you a handshake but pulls you into a bro-hug anyways. He always was the hugging sort.
Mark quickly breaks the hug and motions to the blue mare beside him, “Drew, Cool Breeze, Cool Breeze, Drew.” You both greet each other.
“Pleasure! And this is Fluttershy.”
You glance to your right where Fluttershy has been observing Mark and Cool Breeze. Fluttershy looks to the both of them and smiles before offering a mild “Hello."
With the introductions out of the way, you exchange news on the events of the day and Cool Breeze questions Fluttershy about the Aquarium. You pull out your phone to determine a restaurant, but Mark suggests everyone go for a walk until you find somewhere that sells pizza. The party sets out, you and Mark leading the way while Fluttershy and Cool Breeze chat behind you.
“So, Cool Breeze works for the Wonderbolts?” you ask.
Mark nods, “Yep, she recently took charge of their Earth pony program. A pretty big promotion. She oversees all the events specifically designed for earth ponies, like Wonderbolt sky diving. They're a lot more than just shows, you know.”
“I guess so. So would she know anything about how the show's going to be this Saturday?”
“Well, I can guess it's going to be pretty grand, and that's saying something because all their shows are grand. But this one, being the first on Earth, it's going to be awesome. Some magician pony is going to be there, doing tricks before the performance. At any rate, it's going to be great. That's for sure.”
You agree and follow Mark into a restaurant. It turns out that all the pizza served there is deep dish, but that's your favorite kind anyways. You keep in mind the present company and don't order any meat on yours. First impressions and all that.
“So uh, Cool Breeze, how is working for the Wonderbolts?”
She turns her attention towards you, brushing her yellow mane away from her face. “It's really great, just what I wanted to do. I'm a bit of a daredevil, so earth pony stunts are just my style.” You notice her cutie mark, a parachute. Her mane even looked a little windswept.
“You know, I'm a bit of a daredevil too,” Mark chimes in. Even Cool Breeze looks surprised by him saying this. “It's true! Just this morning, I drank a glass of milk.” He paused. “It was a full day expired.”
You can't help but laugh. Mark's jokes were almost never funny, but he delivered them with a style only he could pull off, and you couldn't help but laugh. Fluttershy even giggled a bit. But Cool Breeze.... You could see why her and Mark were dating. She burst out into a laugh that made the table shake a bit. It drew a few more stares from surrounding tables, but you didn't mind, ponies already drew stares anyways.
The pizza arrived, and if deep dish was Chicago's style of pizza, you had no excuse for not coming to Chicago before. It was simply one of the best pizzas you had ever tasted. You ate even more than you normally would have. By the time you had arrived back at the hotel and said goodbye to Mark and Cool Breeze and arrived in your hotel room, you were exhausted. You lay down on the only bed in the room and almost fall asleep before it hit you.
“Uh, Fluttershy, you got us a room with two beds right?” You ask. She puts her suitcase down and stares at you, before the realization hits her too.
“Um- maybe.... Not? I'm so sorry...” She frowns
“No Flutters, it's fine, I'll just ask for a cot or something.” You jump up off the bed and walk over to the elevator, starting towards the front desk. A quick explanation of your situation and they promise to get you a cot as soon as possible.
You return to a silent hotel room. Fluttershy evidently fell asleep in the bed. Probably better that she was asleep so she didn't try to offer to take the cot anyways. You sit down on a chair and yawn. After 10 minutes of waiting, you're too sleepy to think. You lay down on one side of the bed and wait for the cot to come.
You are asleep a good 30 minutes before the cot arrives, peacefully dreaming. Dreaming of feather pillows. Soft, yellow, feathery pillows.