Chapter 6—Faith in Ponykind Restored
For the next ten minutes, Caramel poured his heart out to Rose, telling all about his desire for Mac and Mac alone. He told her about how Thunderlane was an absolute jerk who didn’t respect him at all, and how he could only think about Mac the entire day.
Rose closed her front door and sat down with the stallion on the front steps, comforting him. Once the crying had subsided, Rose pulled him close. “I’m sorry, Caramel. I didn’t know Thunderlane was so…perverted…he’s usually very nice to everypony.”
“I should go back and apologize,” Caramel sniffled, “I was really mean to him.”
“It’s not your fault.”
I can’t help but think that it actually is. “I want to go back and apologize to him.”
“That’s…very chivalrous of you…”
“And um…thanks, Rose…” he gave a shuddering gasp.
“Whatever for?” she asked with a smile.
“For…for being such a good friend this week.”
“I know you’d do the same for me. Are you sure you want to go back? There’s no guarantee he’s still there.”
“I still want to try.”
He walked back to the restaurant alone.
When he arrived, the level of chatter sunk into an abyss, and all eyes were on him. He could hear the whispers: “Is that the guy that went crazy?” “The nerve he has coming back!” “Is he okay now?” “They shouldn’t let him inside!”
“There you are…listen, I’m sorry…”
“You’re sorry?” Okay, well I guess he does have reason to be.
“I was a total jerk, and I should have known that you’re not that kind of pony. I shouldn’t have…objectified you.” He glanced over at Fluttershy, who nodded with a smile.
“Apology accepted. And um…I’m sorry I was so rude to you. To be honest, this whole thing was sort of on a rebound. My mind was somewhere else, and I didn’t give you the chance you deserve.”
At that moment, Applejack rushed in, short of breath and with a mane that could have passed for a frayed rope. Slightly confused at the fact that everypony was staring at the stallion couple, she approached them with caution, as if they were going to explode at any moment.
“Er…hey, Caramel. Ah hope Ah ain’t interruptin’ anything.”
Caramel turned to her. “No, you’re fine.”
“Ah told Big Macintosh and Twilight. She really feels bad about this whole deal, and they were still discussing this thing when they left. To be honest, Ah think things just might work out. Judgin’ by the stares you two are getting, Ah suppose your date went great?”
“Just the opposite, actually,” said Fluttershy.
“Oh…Ah’m sorry, Caramel.”
“It’s okay, Applejack.”
“Why do Ah always arrive late?”
“Well, coming early isn’t always the best trait,” Fluttershy said softly.
“You dirty filly!” Applejack said with glee.
Looks like things worked out well for them from the start. I wish I could have love like that…I guess I should go home and wallow some more. He left the restaurant without another word, letting the level of comfort rise back up to normal levels among the diners.
I guess I’m just doomed to be lonely for the rest of my life.
He was not two blocks from the restaurant when a flash of purple light blinded him. There was a sudden loud bang, and the dark shadows of two ponies approached him. Before his eyes could adjust back to the darkness of Luna’s night, a pair of hooves held him tightly. He screamed. “Help! Help! I’m being mugged! Oh Celestia help me please!” He was on the verge of crying and begging for mercy. He squirmed and tried to wrestle his way out of his attacker’s grip, but he was too weak.
“Wait, no! It’s me, Twilight!”
The urge to cry and beg did not diminish. What does she want? He stopped struggling. “Hi Twilight…” he said softly. The purple unicorn let him go and opened her mouth to say something.
Nothing happened. No sound came out. Caramel was sure that a bug would eventually fly into her mouth if she kept this up. Finally, something came out—but not from her mouth.
She started crying. Caramel stood still, not knowing whether to comfort her or leave her alone. A red stallion put her hoof around the sobbing unicorn.
Mac! Caramel stepped back, knowing he should stay away from the stallion for his own good. “Mac…” he whispered.
“I’m sorry,” Twilight suddenly said.
Apology not accepted. “Whatever for?” Caramel asked, taken aback.
“Applejack…Applejack came and she talked to us, and I…Oh, I didn’t know you felt this strongly about him!” She continued crying, but was making an active effort in stemming the tears. It took a couple of minutes, but she got there in the end. Meanwhile, Caramel continued his stolid stance.
“I um…okay…I’m okay now…Let me tell you what happened, okay?” She took a deep breath and composed herself. Caramel was surprised at how calm she sounded.
“One day, Rainbow Dash came to the library, as she does from time to time. Usually, she just checks out a Daring Do book and leaves immediately, but sometimes she stays and we converse. That day was one of those times. This was about a month ago, so the snow was still very thick, and we stayed inside, talking.
“Our confabulation continued until she broached the topic of dating. I’m sure it happens a lot. There might be a corollary to Godwin’s Law about this, but anyways. She told me that she was looking for a nice mare to settle down with, and she gossiped a little about Applejack and Fluttershy. Then she asked me if I had anypony in my ‘love radar,’ as she articulated it. I confessed that I didn’t exactly have my eye set on anypony, and she suggested Big Macintosh.
“The more I thought about the idea, the more it grew on me. But it was never more than just a schoolfilly crush. I mean, I knew I liked him as a good friend, and I toyed with the notion of having him as my coltfriend, but I never felt true love for him.”
She turned to the red stallion. “No offense, Mac, but you’re not really my type.”
“Then why did you…ask him out?” Caramel asked.
“Let me finish. I’ll get to that part. Anyways, I started thinking about him more and more, but I now realize that it wasn’t the idea of Big Macintosh that I liked; it was the idea of having somepony. I…I didn’t feel the true love that you feel for him, Caramel.
“Remember when I asked you if he talked about me? Well, I just wanted to know if he liked me or not. When you said he didn’t, I knew that either he kept it secret, or he did not have any feelings for me. That was when I started reading these dating advice books. I still have the notes that I took. I also asked Fluttershy—Applejack is a good friend, but I think her marefriend has better relationship advice. Anyways, she said that I should ask out somepony even if he doesn’t have feelings for me at first, because he could eventually love me in the end. She didn’t know who he was.
“In a few weeks, I had gathered enough information on romance, asking somepony out, flirting, and dating from my research. I also compiled them into a set of portable notes through cross-referencing and appendices. I went to Sweet Apple Acres and I asked him out. The books said that confidence is key, so I didn’t bother sugar-coating it.
“To be honest, he said no at first. He refused. I should have known something was wrong because I didn’t feel all that bad inside. It hurt slightly that somepony didn’t want to be my coltfriend, but I didn’t care very much. I was going to leave right then and there, but he called me back and said yes.
“So, we ‘went out,’ as the term is used. We cuddled and had dinner and kissed, but…there was no spark. My books said that there was supposed to be a spark, and there wasn’t one. I just attributed it to my false perception that you, Caramel, had a crush on me, and I simply felt guilty.
“Then, tonight, Applejack told me what really happened. Oh Caramel, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know I was causing you this much pain! When she told me how much you cried, I knew that I didn’t love Mac. You do, Caramel. I never felt this…devotion to him, but you do. I never cared for him this much, but you do.
“I didn’t know what to do, so Mac and I talked about it. I also sent quick letter to Princess Celestia to ask for her advice. Luckily, she received it and sent a reply within two minutes. Our final decision agreed with her advice. Caramel, take good care of him.
“I know you love him, and that’s more than what I ever felt for him. We already discussed this, and we’re both complacent with this decision. I’m really sorry, Caramel. I hope we can still be friends after this.”
Caramel hadn’t moved since Twilight’s long-winded monologue began, but tears had been sliding down his muzzle for awhile now. She’s…giving him to me? Just like that? She’s giving up on the most perfect stallion ever? I…I appreciate her thinking of me, and I appreciate her sympathy, but how could she? She’s treating him like…an object! Like she owned him! Just like…Thunderlane…
“It doesn’t matter anyways,” he said softly, “He doesn’t love me. If he loved me, he wouldn’t have agreed to go out with you. Enjoy your life with him.” He whispered the last sentence and turned around to start walking back home.
“Caramel! Wait! Let me explain!”
That didn’t sound like Twilight. He turned his head to see Big Macintosh galloping toward him. He stopped right in front of him. Caramel turned around to face the stallion.
Big Macintosh took a deep breath and began his own explanation.
“Ah never meant to hurt ya, Caramel. Ah never wanted to ever see you cry. Ah’m not a very intelligent pony, and Ah never figured out that ya liked me. Ah wish Ah had, because you’re everything a stallion could ask for. The truth is, Ah love you, Caramel. Always have, always will.”
Did he just…Oh Celestia…Please don’t be a prank, please don’t be a dream, please don’t be a fantasy. Caramel gasped in surprise, then let out all of the air in sheer pleasure. It was the most he had ever heard the normally reticent stallion speak, but he could listen for hours if this was what it was about. He vaguely noticed another purple flash as Twilight disappeared. It was the first genuine smile in weeks, and it never felt so good. He could already imagine Pinkie Pie with a satisfied smirk on her face. But he didn’t want to imagine Pinkie Pie’s face when the most perfect face in all of Equestria was right in front of him, confessing his love for him. Please continue. I’ve waited for this for so long. I’ve lost hope, gained it back, got it destroyed, and now you’ve given it back to me. Please don’t take it away again. Tell me that you love me again.
“Ah’m four years older than you, Caramel, but you know more than me. You know how to tell somepony you love him. You know how to have the courage and bravery to tell him. When Ah met you three years ago, Ah didn’t know Ah had these feelings for ya. You were just volunteerin’ at the farm, and back then, Applejack was in charge of all the volunteers. Ah didn’t really see you that often, but Ah wish Ah spent more time lookin’ at ya.
“You were the most hard-workin’ pony there, and even though you had a bushel of accidents every week, you helped just about as much as any Apple family member would. Ah started starin’ at ya more and more. Ah started to realize Ah liked you. Ah liked ya a lot. It started with just your hard-working personality, but then Ah realized how beautiful you were. And besides for the good work ya did, Ah had another reason for seein’ you all sweaty. About a year ago, I realized Ah really loved ya. Ah fantasized about ya a lot. Ah’m usin’ that word right, right?”
Caramel nodded, and he continued, “But Ah never had the bravery to tell ya. Ah wanted to so bad, but there were so many things stoppin’ me. Firstly, Ah didn’t have the strength. Ah really admire you, Caramel, cause you wanted to tell me, and Ah was never able to. Secondly, Ah didn’t know if ya liked me or not, and Ah didn’t want to be rejected. Ah’ve never had a relationship before, and Ah wasn’t sure how Ah’d take rejection. Thirdly, mah family. Mah family ain’t the most free-thinking, and they’re very traditional. Ah knew ah was a coltcuddler since Ah was in school, but Ah never told them. Ah was afraid what they’d think.
“When Twilight came and told me that she wanted to date me, Ah told her Ah didn’t want to, at first. Ah knew Ah loved you, and Ah knew Ah didn’t like mares. But then Ah realized, you probably didn’t feel the same way, and Ah knew you’d never love me back. So Ah told her yes. Ah thought maybe Ah’d try a mare.”
“When Applejack came and told us what happened, Ah…Ah’d never felt so bad in my life, Caramel. Ah’m so sorry I hurt ya like this. She left to go back to the restaurant and so we could talk, and as soon as she left, Ah started crying. Ah don’t cry a lot, Caramel, but…knowin’ that Ah hurt you like that…Ah just couldn’t help myself. But Ah was also very happy. Now Ah know that ya love me, Caramel, and…even though Ah love you back with all mah heart, Ah don’t expect you to want to be with me. After all the hurt Ah caused ya, Ah wouldn’t blame ya if ya wanted to go back to yer date.”
Caramel had been listening to very word, and every single one made him feel lighter and lighter. He wrapped his hind leg around a lamppost to make sure he didn’t drift away.
He loves me! Oh he loves me! Ah’ve never been this happy! And I just thought in his accent! Oh, I love his accent! It’s so sexy, it’s so…Southern…it’s…perfect! It’s perfect because it’s him!
“Mac…I…I love you so much, Mac!” He ran into the red stallion and they both collapsed onto the ground from the impact.
Mac wrapped his hooves around the tan stallion and kissed him once on the forehead. Where his lips had touched, Caramel could feel a warm sphere spread through his head, across his body, and down to his hooves. It filled him inside and for once, made him happy to be alive.
“Ah’d…Ah’d like to take ya home with me, Caramel, but Ah’m still afraid of mah family seein’ us. Ah’m sorry. Ah’m not ready for them to find out yet.”
“It’s okay, Mac. I don’t care. As long as we can be together, I’ll never need anything ever again. Come to my house, then.”
They left together.
Macintosh lifted the tan stallion onto his back, and he proceeded to walk to his home. Caramel could feel all those muscles and tendons working underneath that soft layer of fat and fur, and he loved the feeling. This time, he snuggled into the yellow mane. He left kisses on the red neck, and he rested his head on the soft back.
As they passed the restaurant, he could see ponies staring at him outside. He didn’t hear any of their conversation, but he imagined many of them calling him a slut for being with two stallions in one night. He saw Applejack and Fluttershy enjoying their date. He also saw Twilight and Thunderlane giving each other smoldering looks at the table he had been at just an hour ago. So I guess Twilight’s with Thunderlane now. I hope she likes him…I hope she has her own happy ending. He felt silly for hating her before, and now that he had his strong stallion carrying him, he could see clearly, and he wished Twilight all the luck in the world.
“We’re here,” Mac said, letting Caramel off so he could open the door.
They both entered the home, and Caramel turned on the lights. As Caramel closed the door behind them, his face flushed and he had another miniature heart attack. Buck! I forgot to hide those magazines!