Within an hour, it seemed that half of Ponyville occupied Sugarcube corner. It was one of the largest parties that Pinkie had thrown, even larger than the one on the night of the Summer Sun Celebration. The air was filled with laughter and a hundred different conversations all going on at the same time. In the corner, Vinyl Scratch was talking to Spike, asking him what songs he wanted. After all, it was his party. Fortunately for the party-goers, Spike was a young dragon and not a young pony. If he had been, he probably would’ve chosen something by Oat Direction, or some other type of tasteless modern music. But Spike was in to another type of music. While Earth Ponies had country and Unicorns had classical, it was the Pegasi who had created what he considered the greatest genre: Rock n’ Roll.
A few months ago, Rainbow Dash had taken Spike to a Nickerback concert, and Spike had loved it. But soon after, the young dragon found out that Nickerback - as rock bands go - was pretty lame. After being exposed to some of the older classic rock bands, his love of the genre grew tenfold. So of course, his requests were all classic rock songs. Currently, there was a song playing by Pony Jett and the Blackcolts, and the Pegasi and Earth Pony dominated room was loving it. Some of the unicorns weren’t, but it was a pretty small number.
As good at the music was, it wasn’t a very fitting soundtrack to the scenario playing out between Twilight and Pinkie Pie. They hadn’t talked nor seen each other since the party guests had started arriving, and they’d had plenty of time to think it over and second guess themselves. Currently, Pinkie was sitting at the drinks table taking shots of Sarsaparilla to try and take her mind off of Twilight. She sat alone until a certain daredevil pegasus noticed her lack of company.
“Hey Pinkie, what’s up? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you sit still at one of your parties. Well, except that one with the bucket of radishes, but I’d just like to forget that one, personally.”
Rainbow Dash’s attempt to lighten the mood went unnoticed. “It’s nothing, Dashie. Why don’t you go enjoy the party? You love Pony Jett, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but how am I supposed to enjoy the party without Ponyville’s premier party pony?”
“You have been so far,” commented Pinkie, pouring herself another cup.
“Well, yeah, I guess I was, but I don’t feel like partying right now. Seriously, what’s going on? I know it’s something, or you’d still be out there doing your thing.”
Sighing, the depressed mare downed her glass before answering. “Dashie, have you ever had a crush before?”
Pulling up a chair, Rainbow sat down next to her distressed friend. “Well, yeah, a few, but not too big. How bad to you have it?”
“Oh. So, you haven’t told her yet?”
For a second, Pinkie was going to ask Dash how she knew she was into mares, but she remembered that she’d told a Dash a while ago.
“No, I haven’t.”
“Well, why not? It can’t be that bad, right?”
Pinkie thought her response over. She didn’t really want Rainbow Dash knowing she had the hots for Twilight, at least not yet. And if she said it was a friend, she knew the cyan pegasus might be able to guess. The earth pony went for a more vague approach.
“Well, I’m afraid she won’t like me. Heck, I don’t even know if she’s a fillyfooler or not.”
“Huh,” said Rainbow, pondering Pinkie’s dilemma. “Well, is she an earth pony?”
“Well, that helps. As long as she’s not some unicorn nobility, I doubt she’ll be a homophobe, right?” Rainbow joked.
Pinkie laughed nervously. Technically, Twilight was part of the nobility because of Shining Armor’s marriage.
“And also, let’s just get this part out of the way. Would you be okay telling me who it is or is it a secret?”
“Secret.” She answered quickly.
“Oh, okay. Well, I get why you don’t want her to hate you. You’re friends with everypony here, and I wouldn’t want to ruin that. But sometimes you’ve got to take risks, Pinkie.”
“But what if she does hate me?”
Rainbow sighed, putting a hoof around Pinkie’s shoulder. “I’m not too good with this romance stuff, but I do know what it means to be a friend, Pinks. If this mare is really worth being friends with, would she ever hate you?”
Would Twilight ever hate me? Pinkie wondered. Looking back in her memory, all she ever found were good times. Twilight had never really been angry with her. Sure, exasperated once or twice, but never angry. And she couldn’t imagine that mare hating her either.
“No, she wouldn’t. A true friend sticks by your side, no matter what!”
Dash smiled in triumph. “That’s right!”
Pinkie stood back up, determination in her eyes. “I should tell Twilight how I feel!” Running away from the table, Pinkie didn’t get to see the shocked expression on her friend’s face.
“Wait, we were talking about … Twilight?”
At about the same time, Twilight was seated on the other end of the room. Unlike Pinkie Pie, she had genuinely tried to enjoy the party, but after a few conversations she gave up. She didn’t feel like talking with anypony. Her fear of telling Pinkie how she felt was irrational, after all, could that always-happy ready-to-party pony ever hate anyone? Sure, the mare had a slight case of split-personality disorder, but that was rare, and only triggered by people not liking her. Twilight doubted Pinkamena would make an appearance if she told pinkie she liked her more than anything.
But science doesn’t always work consistently, Twilight reminded herself. And even if it did, Pinkie still might feel awkward around her, and if it didn’t work out, the unicorn still wanted to be friends. Was it worth holding her feelings in, she wondered.
“I can think this over better at the library where it’s quiet,” Twilight said to herself. She didn’t hate rock music; if anything, she respected it for its similarity to her favorite genre: Jazz. But sometimes, it just wasn’t the right type of music for the situation. She even recognized the song playing: Communication Breakdown. More of a jazz link that most of rock had, since it was a hit from the older days of the genre, a decade before her time at least, from what she’d read on the subject.
Of course, none of that was enough to make her stay, but as she was about to leave, a familiar voice called her back.
“Twilight? Wherever are you going, dear?”
“Oh, hey Rarity.” The white-coated mare trotted over to Twilight with a big smile on her face, an expression than became subdued when she saw Twilight’s mood.
“Oh Twilight, what’s the matter. There’s a party going on for your little spikey-wikey and you’re just leaving?”
Rarity had a point, and Twilight started to feel a little guilty about it.
“Uh … maybe.”
“Well what’s bothering you, then? There must be something wrong; I can’t imagine another reason you’d want to leave.”
“Well, I guess there is something,” Twilight mumbled.
Motioning for her to follow, Rarity walked to the sparsely-populated side of the room and sat down at one of the booths, which were the only seats available since the standing tables had been taken down to make room for the festivities. Twilight took the opposite seat.
“So, what kind of problem is it Twilight?”
Nervously, Twilight fidgeted with the salt shaker on the table. Well, at least it used to be a salt shaker. This one was full of sugar.
“Well, I might just … sort of … have feelings for somepony.”
“Oh Twilight, that’s wonderful! Now, who’s the lucky stallion … … Or mare? … actually, come to think of it, I don’t know which way you … well … go.”
Noticing her friend’s hesitancy, Rarity continued.
“If you don’t want me to tell anypony, I won’t. You can trust me. I swear it on all the dresses in my boutique.”
“Well, I’m kind of both, really.”
Rarity didn’t skip a beat. “Twilight, there’s nothing wrong with that. That must widen the playing field, no?”
Twilight shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t exactly date around.”
“Well, I suppose that’s true, but that’s not really important. So, are they a stallion or a mare?”
“Is that why you’re so tense? There’s nothing wrong with it; nopony will think less of you. Well at least, nopony worth listening to.” “It’s not that,” she replied, this time fidgeting with her hooves. “It’s just that we’re kind of friends and I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”
“It’s Pinkie Pie, isn’t it?”
Twilight was astounded. “How in Equestria did you know that?”
“Just a hunch I gathered. I tend to notice the small things, like how you could never look at her for more than a few seconds without turning away, or how every time we were in danger, you always made sure Pinkie was okay first. Until now, I wasn’t really sure of it, but what you just said filled in the gaps.”
“I see.” Twilight had always realized how perceptive Rarity was in general, but when it came to romance, she treated it like a science. That was something the studious unicorn could relate to and respect.
“So you really are in love with Pinkie. This is very interesting. I take it she doesn’t know yet?”
“No, she doesn’t, at least, I don’t think she does. And I wouldn’t really classify it as love. I mean attraction, sure, but not L-O-V-E love.”
“But it’s enough for you to want to do something about it?”
“Exactly,” said Twilight, glad that Rarity seemed to understand her issue.
“This reminds me of a love story I read once,” said the mare thoughtfully. “Actually, it reminds me of a lot of love stories I read, but one in particular. In the story, a stallion falls deeply in love with a mare, but for a while, he’s too shy to admit it. He and her and been friends for years, and he didn’t know how the mare would react. But one day, it became too much for him to hold in and he confessed his feelings. But she didn’t share those feelings.”
Twilight blinked. “How is that supposed to make me feel better?”
“Ah-ah-ah, you didn’t let me finish. The mare told the stallion she wasn’t really interested in him that way, but she still wanted to be friends and pretend like nothing had happened. He wasn’t exactly happy with the arrangement, but he was happy to spend time with her either way. But during that time, he kept trying to win her heart subtly. And of course, the mare noticed, but she decided to let it go on, seeing no harm. As time went on, he continued his attempts, and do you know what happened?”
“She started to fall in love with him. Then a good deal of other things happened, but in the end, the two got married and lived happily together for the rest of their lives.” Rarity took Twilight’s hooves in hers, staring into the other mare’s eyes.
“The point of the story is simple: even if one is rejected by the one they love, that does not mean the rejection is permanent. The stallion didn’t give up and let the mare sort out her own feelings. So even if Pinkie doesn’t like you that way, there’s always the chance her feelings might change. She might even have feelings for you that she doesn’t know about yet. But I’m not going to tell you what to do, Twilight Sparkle. Do what you think is right.”
There was no need for that last comment; she’d had Twilight sold from the first few words.
“Rarity, thank you so much. I know what I should do now!”
“It’s nothing, really,” said the fashion designer, getting up out of her seat. By the time she was out, Twilight was already halfway across the room, searching for a certain pink-colored mare.
Scanning the crowd, Rainbow Dash was easily able to find the Pink-maned, pink-coated pony she was looking for. It had been five minutes since the two had talked, and she hadn’t seen any sign of Twilight. Apparently, Pinkie hadn’t either. Rainbow thought that was somewhat odd. Sugarcube Corner wasn’t a big space, so between her and Pinkie, finding Twilight should have been easy. It was unlikely that Twilight would leave the party. After all, it was being thrown for her own #1 assistant. Still, there wasn’t any sign of the mare.
Just when Dash was about to give up, she saw Pinkie jump much higher than should have been physically possible. Landing, the excited mare ran over towards the door. Curiously, she looked to see where the mare was going. At the door, she saw Twilight. When Pinkie got there, the two ponies started talking. Wanting to know what was going to happen, Rainbow Dash headed in that direction.
After looking for Pinkie Pie for what seemed like forever to the purple mare, Twilight was all of a sudden face to face with the mare in question. Both ponies had gone into this with full confidence in what they were about to do. Both had planned what they wanted to say, and how they wanted to say it. Both plans failed catastrophically.
Pinkie, for one, was tongue-tied. It had been so much easier when she went over it in her head: Twilight, I love you. But now that the earth pony was there with her in real life, it was not nearly so easy.
Twilight was equally shocked, but was the first pony to get over her fear. It was like jumping into a cold lake: Just get the freezing part over with and get to the relief.
“Uh, Pinkie, I have something I need to tell you.”
Just like that, Twilight’s mental peanut gallery returned. Yeah, good job. Get right to it!
Letting out a deep breath, Pinkie responded. “I have something to tell you too.”
Similarly, the voice in Pinkie’s head was back. Okay, good, now go for it.
“I think maybe we should go outside where it’s a little … quieter,” suggested the unicorn mare.
Having followed Twilight back into the thick of things, Rarity saw Pinkie just after Twilight did. She knew it was better to leave them be, but her curiosity compelled her to listen in. Hiding herself in the crowd, she tried her best to listen in. Unfortunately for Rarity, she couldn’t make hooves or tails of what they were saying over the music.
“Well it’s not as I if I can just ask them to turn it off, is it? Oh well, I guess I’ll have to get a little closer.” Peeking her head around, Rarity was just in time to see Twilight and Pinkie Pie head out the door.
“They must be trying to get away from the music too,” Rarity reasoned. The mare had never been much of a fan of rock in roll, nor music in general. Ponies often thought that odd considering her singing abilities, but she still wasn’t a fan. It would be a relief to get away from the noise.
After waiting a few seconds for Pinkie and Twilight to get a head start, Rarity casually walked out the door, but as she did, somepony walked out right beside her. It was somepony she recognized.
“Wait, Rarity? What are you doing leaving the party so early?”
“Well I should ask the same of you. And for your information, I found the music a tad bit loud for my tastes.”
Rainbow wasn’t buying it. “You’re following Pinkie and Twilight, aren’t you?”
Sighing, Rarity gave in. “You too?” she asked.
“Yeah; me and Pinkie talked and she told me she had the hots for Twilight, so I figured I’d follow along to make sure everything went alright.”
“As if, Rainbow Dash. You and I know perfectly well that you are just as curious about this as I am.”
Rainbow didn’t meet Rarity’s gaze, instead scratching at the ground with her hoof. “I’m … well, I guess … maybe. You know, it’s not like I’m … opposed to the whole romance thing, or anything. I’m not really in to it like you, or anything, but even I like a little romance every once in a while, you know?”
“We all do, darling. There’s no reason to be so nervous about admitting it, and I certainly didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
“No, it’s fine Rares. I’m fine,” she said, apparently perking back up.
“Oh, good. Now let’s hurry and find them already, or we’ll lose them.”
Taking to the air, Dash started flying down the street.
“Way ahead of you!”
Twilight had planned on speaking up right away, she truly had. But as time – and the walk – went on, Twilight found she enjoyed the silence. Before, the only emotion she’d felt when she was around Pinkie Pie was nervousness. Just for once, it was nice to share a calm moment with the mare, especially considering how stressful the last few hours had been, and the emotional roller-coaster she’d led herself on.
Pinkie Pie was feeling differently. As much as the walk was nice, she was still anxious to say what she wanted to say. Her regular personality, which in their last meeting had been buried under her stress, was surfacing once again. Instead of the mask of seriousness she’d been before, she was starting to drift back to a more hyperactive attitude. One thing hadn’t changed, however: she was still a little nervous; nervous enough to hold back what she wanted to say, even now, when she was almost certain that Twilight shared her feelings. After all, why else would she be on this walk? As she thought it over, Pinkie forgot her desire to speak, becoming somewhat withdrawn.
After a while, the walk led the two mares far away from the lights and sounds of sugarcube corner, and even out of Ponyville itself. When the two finally stopped walking, it was only because there was a body of water in the way and there wasn’t an easy way to get around it.
But then again, maybe they wouldn’t want to even if they could. Stretching out like a mirror before them, the water beautifully reflected the slowly rising moon, which shined in full glory in the cloudless dusk. Other than a few frogs and water striders, nothing interrupted the smooth surface, and even those things barely did anything to ruin the image. Both ponies sat down, gazing at the sight. It was then that Twilight surprised herself by breaking the silence.
“Pinkie, you remember what you were telling me about Lyra and Bon Bon, right?”
“Yeah, I do Twilight.”
“You said you probably wouldn’t be able to tell somepony if you loved them, especially if you were their friend. And I said I wouldn’t be able to either, but now that I think about it, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t say anything.”
Pinkie felt a warm feeling rising in her chest as her nervousness was replaced with a deep contentment. “You know, I think I would say something too.”
Twilight subtly slid herself closer to Pinkie until they were touching flank to flank. “So that’s how Lyra did It: just went up to her and said it?”
“That’s what she said,” whispered Pinkie, leaning in just a little.
“Well, I’m saying something right now,” said Twilight, also starting to lean in.
“Me too,” replied Pinkie, leaning in even farther. The two stayed that way for a moment - inches apart and able to feel each other’s breathing - before they the closed the gap between their lips, quickly losing themselves in the kiss. It wasn’t a deep kiss, but it didn’t need to be one. With it, both mares felt the last inklings of doubt and fear fade away, and that feeling was much better than the kiss itself.
Even though it was a somewhat tame kiss, that didn’t mean it was a short one. The two stretched it out for tick after tick of the imaginary clock, having no reason to stop or reconsider. In the end, they only broke it off because they could only survive on shallow breaths for so long before one of them fainted. Taking a moment to catch their breaths, they couldn’t stop smiling at each other or staring into each other’s eyes.
Meanwhile, in the bushes a dozen yards away, two mares watched the scene with awe.
“Wow, they’re really going at it. I’ve never seen anypony hold one kiss that long!”
Rarity nodded in agreement. “How long has it been now … a minute? Oh, there they go, they’re splitting up.”
Silence fell again before Rainbow piped up.
“You know, I bet they’d be able to hear us if they weren’t so busy staring at each other.”
“Yes, they probably would. But Rainbow, I have a question.”
“What would you do in their horseshoes? I mean, if there was somepony you liked, what would you do?”
Rarity could see Rainbow Dash’s blush in the moonlight. “Well … uh … I … I have to go somewhere. Bye Rarity!” Keeping to her word, the athletic pegasus sped off silently into the night, leaving Rarity alone in the bushes to figure out what had just happened. It took her a while, but she finally came to a conclusion.
“Does Rainbow Dash … have a crush on somepony?”