Chapter 4—I Live in a Hick Town
“And Twilight was with him? Twilight?!”
“Ah told you, it was Twilight!”
“Oh my…this is quite detrimental! Caramel’s been depressed for weeks, and I finally convinced him to tell Mac his feelings, and this happens. Oh, this isn’t good.”
“Ah know…Twilight feels awful, poor filly. She thinks it’s her fault, that she shoulda told Caramel that she liked Big Macintosh sooner. Ah didn’t have the heart to tell her that he wasn’t actually in love with her.”
“I’m going to check on Caramel. He’s quite fragile, and I’d hate to see him all sad and solitary.”
“Ah’ll come with ya. Maybe Ah can help.”
Rose knocked on the door. There was no answer, except for the faint sound of cries and whimpers. “Oh Luna, he’s really sad…”
“Ah’d be sad, too, if I caught Fluttershy with another mare.” Applejack nudged Rose aside. “Let me try.” She knocked again, harder than Rose did. To their surprise, the door creaked open. It wasn’t latched on properly; nor was it locked. “Ya think he’ll mind if we go in?”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“Caramel!” they both called out into the dark room. The sun had gone home, and Luna’s orb had begun its shift. The moonlight was blocked out by the curtains, which Caramel had purposely closed so nopony could see his wallowing. Applejack ran her hoof along the walls until she found the switch.
The room was suddenly bathed in yellow light. To the left was a small television. In the center of the living room was a coffee table with magazines on it. Rose blushed when she saw the slightly more suggestive ones in the stack. Further off was the hallway, which turned a corner and out of sight. To the right was what they had been looking for—Caramel lay on the fuzzy dark blue couch. His face was buried in his forelegs, his hind legs were tucked in under his body, and he was still sobbing.
“Hey buddy…” Rose said gently, sitting down on the ground next to him and putting a hoof on his shoulder, “There are lots of stallions out there.” She coughed. “Well okay, maybe not in Ponyville, but I just know you’ll find somepony someday.”
“She’s right,” Applejack added as she sat down as well, “That silly pony Mac just doesn’t know what he’s missin’. You’re a wonderful colt, Caramel. You’re a hard worker, you’re kind, and you’re also cuter than a pickle in July.”
“You don’t get it,” Caramel choked, “He was my first…”
“The first pony I’ve ever had a crush on.”
“You’ve never had a crush on anypony?!” Applejack exclaimed. Rose slapped her other hoof into the orange Earth pony’s mouth. Applejack removed it and continued, “Sorry…It’s just that Ah rarely see a full-grown stallion that’s so…pure…” Rose smiled at the last word.
“Ah actually got to get back to the farm. Ah’ll be sure to have a talk with that ditzy big brother of mine, and Twilight, too. Ah’ll let ‘em know that you’re not really interested in Twilight. G’night, Caramel. Y’all take care of yourself.” With that, she put on her hat again and left, closing the door behind her.
Rose continued to comfort Caramel until his sobs became soft whines, and she stayed until these whines also disappeared. “Are you hungry, Caramel?”
He shook his head.
“You know what you need? And I know you might think it’s kind of soon, but…I think you need a stallion.”
“I don’t want a stallion. I just want—”
“I know I know! You want Mac. But you saw what happened today. And I think you’d be happier with another colt anyways. I know a somepony who just might be interested, okay? If you’re up for it, I can set up a date for you. I know you might still have feelings for Mac, but you really need somepony in your life. And since he was your first crush, I think you need to broaden your horizons. And I think you’ll like him. He’s really funny. His name’s Thunderlane.”
Caramel didn’t say anything, so Rose took his silence as an “I’ll think about it.”
“I’ll let you mull it over. If you need anything, just say so. I’ll come back tomorrow.” She left.
She’s right. I do need somepony. Rose is always right. I wish I could date Rose. She’s such a good friend. But no, I have to be a bucking coltcuddler. There aren’t any stallions around. Who the buck is Thunderlane? He’s no Big Macintosh…but…I can’t have Big Macintosh…He felt another wave of sadness rush over him, but it disappeared as quickly as it came.
“Should I go out with Thunderlane?” he asked the air. He reached over and pulled out one of his magazines. He suddenly realized which one was on top of the stack, and he hoped to Celestia that neither Rose nor Applejack noticed it.
This stallion’s hot. He’s probably a jerk, though. Just like Big Mac. No, Mac’s not a jerk…I’m just deflecting…He started flipping through the pages. I know I saw this big article on dating earlier. I didn’t have time to read it before. Okay, I wasn’t interested in it before, but maybe it has something about going out with someone you don’t love? I doubt it, but still. Plus, it’ll take my mind off of things.
He flipped to a page with a computer-generated image of two colts…well…cuddling… The text began on the next page:
“If you’re like me, you get lonely sometimes, and a one-night-stand just won’t cut it. It’s time for a long-term relationship. If you’re lucky, then you live in a large modern city such as Canterlot or Fillydelphia. With a higher population, statistics are on your side, and it becomes much easier to find a stalliosexual. As long as you don’t live in some rural, provincial village like Ponyville or Appleloosa, you should be fine.
“Identifying a coltcuddler can be daunting. While some are what I call ‘flaming,’ others seem to be completely masculine and show no signs of stalliosexuality. Since it is so difficult to know just by seeing or interacting, ask!
“Getting that first date can also be a point of issue for many ponies. The first thing to make sure of is that your pony of interest is currently single. Nothing is more awkward than the ‘I already have a coltfriend’ response. So how do you ask him out? Well, these follow the normal rules of dating. Some advice that I always give stallions is this: You’re not in high school anymore, and there really is no need for an elaborate scheme. That being said, you should still be courteous and show your interest in him. Of course, if it’s a blind date, then the first step of asking is done for you. Otherwise, just be kind and polite. If you ask at the right time, and you maintain an air of confidence yet kindness, then stallions will generally agree, even if they initially have no feelings for you. If he refuses, however, it’s no big deal. Just dust yourself off and try again. There’s no reason to let one, or even ten no’s make you lose your hope for the one yes you’ve been waiting for.
“When the time comes, the first date itself is the largest hump in any relationship—no pun intended. If there’s one thing that ponies really need to know, regardless of their sexuality, is that they need to be confident! There’s no such thing as sound advice for a first date except to be yourself! If you’re compatible, then things will be great. Otherwise, move on and find another stallion.”
The article continued for another page, but Caramel had lost interest. It’s no big deal, huh…somehow I doubt that…But that last line really struck a chord—or three—inside of him. Move on and find another stallion. Maybe that’s what I should do…Caramel let out a few more sobs before taking a couple of deep breaths. He felt better…but only barely.
“Alright, Rose. I’ll go out with Thunderlane.”
She giggled. “I knew it. Your date’s tonight.”
“What?! How could you possibly schedule it? You just found out I wanted to two seconds ago!”
“Call it my Rosy Sense,” she winked, “but then again, you’re quite predictable.”
Caramel looked down.
“Hey, it’s okay! You’ll have a great time tonight!” She handed over a slip of paper with an address on it. “Come here at six, and don’t dress up. Look for the gray pegasus with thundercloud cutie mark.”
“Thanks, Rose,” he said, voice filled with dejection.
Rose sighed. “Okay, I know it hurts. I really do, a long time ago, somepony broke up with me, and I kept thinking about him. It just wouldn’t go away. But then I started dating again, and even though I’m single, I’m happy with it. I’m happy with myself. And you should be, too.”
“Okay…I’ll give it a shot.” Caramel managed to pull out a smile—the first one in two days. “Thanks.”
Caramel left the shop; he didn’t have any work today, anyways. Normally, he’d be going to Sweet Apple Acres, but he knew that wouldn’t be a good idea. Even though he knew he could never be with the one he loved and it hurt every time he reminded himself of it, he felt…lighter. Even though his mind was still imbued with the image of Big Macintosh, he knew he had to move on, and he finally accepted it. Instead, he went home and decided to finally read that magazine he’d been meaning to. And now for little me-time.
Two hours behind a locked door later, Caramel threw the soiled magazine away, slightly disgusted at himself. I’m a monster… He shook his head, and in doing so, he caught sight of the clock. Oh buck! He rushed to ready himself for his first date. He started brushing his teeth, when a de-motivational string of thoughts hit him. Why bother? It’s my first date, but it doesn’t feel special. It should feel special. It’d feel special with Mac. He put down his toothbrush, forwent the shower, and just left.
He contemplated picking up some flowers for Thunderlane. He did have a full discount at Rose’s shop, anyways. But something inside of him told him it wasn’t right. Maybe it was the part of him that still loved Big Macintosh. But then again, that was every part of him.
He entered the restaurant alone. He halfway expected Rose to see him off, but she wasn’t there. Might as well try and have fun.