Luckily enough, Fleur had made it home in time, albeit by a hair. She arrived home literally minutes before Fancy walked in the door and had jumped in the shower to make it seem like she was removing the makeup from her "modeling job". And even though she did good, it looked as though she would be spending the night all alone again. It was certainly no new sensation to her, especially over the past few weeks, but it still hurt her all the same. She raised her head up from the pillow upon hearing the front door slam shut and walked over to the window. It was snowing outside and the windows were somewhat foggy, so she used her magic to defog the bedroom window and looked down at the front terrace just in time to see Fancy climb into a chartered carriage. She frowned and watched the carriage roll around the driveway and then out onto the streets.
This was it, this was all she could take. She was tired of the lack of attention, tired of all the fighting, tired of the meaningless sex, tired of the meaningless everything! She truly wanted to work this relationship out. She married him for a reason! He was kind to her, he had treated her exactly how she wanted to be treated before they had married. Before any more anger and distress could run through her, she stopped dead in her tracks. “Maybe it’s... my fault...” she said quietly aloud as she placed her forehoof on the window. How could she have not come to this conclusion sooner? Yes, it had to be her. Before they had married, they had been closer than anything. Fancy used to always make time for her, loved every second he spent with her, kissed and caressed her for no reason at all, and so many other things, all before the marriage. She was weighing him down, she just knew it. But by Celestia, she was going to make this marriage work. She just knew she could fix it if she tried hard enough. She decided that she would wait up all night if she had to, and when he got home, she would talk to him, find out what was wrong, and then love him and just be the best mare she could be.
So that was exactly what she did. The beautiful Fleur de Lis walked downstairs and poured herself a glass of wine to keep her going. Once she downed the glass, she curled up on the sofa by the fireplace and thought about what she could say, what she could do. After thinking for awhile, she wondered if it would help if she looked attractive for him. She walked back upstairs and went into the closet so that she could find the tightest, most attractive nightdress she possibly could. She put her mane down and brushed it to a fine, silky point and then arranged it in the most attractive way she knew possible. Still, it didn’t seem to be enough. Still in front of the mirror, she used her magic to grasp her eyelash curler and brush her big, beautiful eyelashes up to a fine point. Even after all of that, it still didn’t feel like it was enough to impress him. Being one of the most successful businessponies in Canterlot, Fancy was used to attempts to impress him, so she would have to work harder. This time she brought her entire makeup bag into the room and threw on a small dash of blush and applied a thin layer of lipstick and other little things that she thought would help (though she was careful not to exaggerate any of it).
She observed herself in several sensual positions in the mirror. She had to hoof it to herself, she looked great. Any stallion who didn’t turn his head towards that had some kind of serious problem. She smiled at herself in the mirror. It felt like she hadn’t looked this great in a long time. She knew it had only been perhaps a month or two, but it felt more like a few years. She was confident though. “Some initiative,” she thought positively, “yes, that’s it, that’s all it takes sometimes.” She flipped her neatly combed mane and smiled at her reflection.
She was getting awfully cold in the marble encased bedroom, so she walked back downstairs and curled up by the fire. She truly had no idea how long it would take for Fancy to get back home. Sometimes when he left it would take him hours before he got home. She tried not to fret, but she was just worried that the warmth and the alcohol would get to her and that she would fall asleep before he got home. “Think positive,” she told herself, “to succeed you must think positive.”
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Minutes turned to hours, and hours into more hours as poor Fleur was left all alone in the dark house. She would keep the fire alive and stretch out, but when the fear of sleep hit her, she would stand and go take just a tiny sip of wine from a single glass she had poured, though she had another empty glass set out for Fancy. She shuddered as she thought about how her hooftaps were the only signs of life in the monstrously huge mansion. How could anypony want to die alone? Loneliness was an absolutely horrible thing for her.
As the massive oak clock ticked on, Fleur was about to give up hope. Perhaps it was going to be another one of those nights when Fancy didn’t return at all. Maybe he was at an event, or perhaps at a bar or club, or maybe he had even fallen asleep at his office again.
With a bored look on her face, she went back into the dining room and propped herself up on the bar. She shot a bored glance at the wine glass and took another sip of the liquid inside of it, leaving only a tiny puddle inside. She sighed, and with that same bored look on her face, used her magic to circle the glass around on its base. She glanced over at the clock and saw that another hour was about to add itself to the four before it. As the thoughts of giving up swirled around in her head, she casually observed the glare from the fire in the glass. Eventually, her exhaustion overpowered her, and she drained the last of what was in her glass.
But just as she began to walk up the stairs, she heard the front door open and close rather loudly. She had to admit that she was nervous, nervous of her own husband, but it was now or never. Tonight may be the only chance she’d have to save her marriage, or at least lay the foundation for it to be saved. She calmly turned and walked slowly down the stairs. “Hello darling,” she said with a sensual type of tone as she slowly turned around the wall and entered the living room.
“Hello,” he simply replied as he sat down on the sofa; he didn’t even turn to look at her.
Fleur was far from deterred though. “Is there something wrong?” she asked as she walked up behind him and placed her hooves on his back.
“Nothing,” he replied, still not able to look at her.
“Are you sure? Why don’t we talk about it? I’m sure I could make you feel better,” she smiled to herself and began to rub his back. She craned her head down and began to kiss his neck and shoulder, but she was cut short as he gently shoved her head off of him and stood up.
“Fleur, darling, this... this isn’t right,” he turned and said to her, “I feel like such a damned fool for ever having done this to you, but, you need to know. I can’t keep it a secret forever. Sit down, please,” he indicated a spot on the sofa. Once she sat down, Fleur was about to be in for the shock of her life. Fancy sighed heavily and stared into the fire. “I’ve been seeing somepony,” he sighed, “another mare.” The news smacked Fleur like a hard hoof across the face. She couldn’t do anything, drowned in silence either anger or sadness as she was forced to sit there and listen to his tale of how he had met a mare and had been leaving to see her for quite some time. She was younger than Fleur, ready for adventure too. So many things she could give him that Fleur couldn’t, that’s why he saw her.
Once Fancy had told his explanation, the room grew a deathly quiet as Fleur only stared into the fire. “How long?” she asked after a minute or so.
“I don’t re...” Fancy began, but he was cut off.
“How. Long?” she asked once more, only louder and with a choked voice.
“One month after the wedding, nine weeks into it at the most,” he replied. “Listen, darling...” he began, though he was cut off once more.
Fleur stood and shouted angrily through her freely falling tears, “No, you listen! I tried to make this work, I married you for a reason! I can handle the alcoholism, the... the oppression, the threats even, but the lies and the cheating...” she stopped and looked at him, “Part your mane,” she demanded.
“Fleur, please,” he tried and took a step towards her.
“Don’t you dare touch me,” she scowled at him and backed up a little, “part your mane. Part it right now,” she ordered once more.
A lost look on his face, Fancy dropped his head and used his magic to open the front of his mane so that she could get a better look at the base of his horn. Just as she suspected, no ring. “I am so sorr...” he tried one final time.
Fleur only clenched her teeth. “I don’t want to hear it!” her voice boomed throughout the entire mansion, “You know what? Here!” her broken voice returned as she used her magic to remove the ring from her horn and fling it at him. And before she knew it, she found herself to be dangerously close to his face, “You aren’t even half the stallion I used to know,” she reared back and slapped him across the face with her hoof, “It’s over!” she said loudly. “It’s over,” she repeated, “I don’t want to try to fix this anymore.”
With that, she turned away from him and ran across the room and to the foyer. She yanked the door open with her magic and began to run down the driveway towards the bustling city below; she didn’t even glance back at the house, though she was sure she heard Fancy call her name.
As she ran through the city, she began to come up with a plan. She would go to her parents’ house tonight and would see a divorce pony first thing in the morning. She would send for her things, and after that, well, she wasn’t quite sure. She slowed her pace to a casual walk. It was freezing outside and the wind blowing past her wasn’t helping that too much. She had left her purse at home, though she had a few bits on her, so she stopped and got a nice, warm hot cocoa.
She walked down the street while the warm drink levitated close to her. She stopped at a crosswalk as one of the newly installed sign changers signaled for the carriage traffic to move. To her, it was like this was the longest sign in town. She swirled the whip cream in her cocoa around and brought it up to her lips to take a drink. Before she could though, she felt a drop of cold water land atop her head, and then she felt another, and then another.
She looked up to see that the source of the liquid was a window washing platform with none other than that nice Hayseed she had met a few day ago sitting on a sling above it. She felt she should point out that his bucket had a leak in it, seeing as how some ponies who passed through might not have taken too kindly to slipping on the ice that was already forming. “Oh, er, yoo hoo,” she called out politely, “Mr. Turniptruck!” she said.
The redneck pony turned quickly and smiled that same stupid smile as he noticed who it was. “Well howdy there!” he shouted and waved; the platform swiveled dangerously. “How ya’ll doin’?” he asked.
She smiled and giggled a little, “I’m fine Mr. Turniptruck, thank you for asking. I just thought I’d point out that your bucket is leaking. Wouldn’t want somepony to come along and slip on the ice,” she called back up to him pointedly.
Hayseed flopped and rolled around in the loose sling until he got a good view of the bucket. “Well tarnation!” he cursed, “Thank ya’ kindly for pointing that out! I’ll just go and fix er’ right u-” that was all he got out before he took his last clumsy roll and slipped out of the sling. Fleur gasped as he landed hard on the platform and fell right through the wooden base of it and jumped back and put her hoof over her mouth as he landed on the pavement in front of her and the bucket of water came spilling down on top of his head.
“Oh Mr. Turniptruck!” she said and kneeled down to help him, “Are you alright?” she asked and used her magic to lift the bucket off of his head.
“Shoot, ain’t nothin’ but a thang. Ah’ve fallen on my head a hunderd times!” he said as though it were something to be proud of.
“You must learn to be careful,” she scolded him as she used her magic to dry and dust him off. “Good as new,” she said once she had finished and helped him up.
“Gosh, thank ya’ ma’am,” he said, “Ah’ll try to be more careful. Well, guess ah gotta get back to work,” he said and looked up at the destroyed platform with the sling sitting on it.
Fleur glanced back and noticed that the sign had switched red for the carriages and was allowing sidewalk traffic to cross now. She knew she had better be on her way before the signs switched again, but she just couldn’t help wanting to stay and chat with him for a little while; it was nice for her to just have somepony to casually talk to, a friend of sorts. “It’s a bit too late and cold to be washing windows, don’t you think?” she asked.
“Uhh...” the pony replied, apparently about to think very hard about something so simple, “Nope!” he said after a few seconds, “Ah think it’s five thirty in the mornin’. If it ain’t, why am ah at work?” he scratched his head and looked all around until he eventually found the clock tower. After a minute or so of slow, zoned out observation, he breathed a sigh of relief after he discovered it was the correct time for work. “You cold?” he asked her.
“A little, yes,” she admitted and took a sip of her drink. She felt rude all of a sudden. If she was cold, she could only imagine what it was like being all the way up there on that building. “Would you like some of this?” she asked him, “It’s hot cocoa. If you have something I could pour it in, I’m sure it would warm you up while you’re up there.”
“Aw, shoot,” Hayseed replied, “Ah’m used to the cold. It don’t bother me none, I’ll be fine,” he reassured her, “But if you’re cold,” he continued, “here.” He reached back with his muzzle and pulled his long jacket off and draped it over her. It had a stench to it, but it was rather inviting.
She blushed, “That’s very sweet of you,” she said, “but I can’t take this from you. What will you do for warmth? You have no warm drink and now no jacket.” She took the coat off and levitated it towards him.
“Keep it,” he insisted politely, “Ah got a healthy coat for a reason,” he smiled kindly and used his head to nudge it back towards her. “It’s a cheap thang anyhow. Ah can pick up another one later.”
“Listen,” Fleur replied, “thank you.” She kissed him on the cheek. “If you’ll meet me at this address,” she told him the location of her parents’ home, “I’ll gladly give this back to you. You’ve already given it up to me like such a gentlecolt, and it wouldn’t be fair to you if I made you go out and buy a new one.”
Hayseed thought for a moment, “I guess ya’ll right,” he said. “I’ll be sure to do that ma’am...”
She cut him off, smiled and said, “Oh, please call me Fleur.”
“Aight then Miss Fleur,” he resumed, “but it really don’t matter to me as long as ya’ll get home warm.”
She had never been so sincerely acknowledged or cared for like this, not even by Fancy or even all the other stallionfriends she had in the past. It wasn’t the fact that he simply did it, it was the fact that he was sincere with it. “My word,” she said, “How did you come to be such a sweetheart?”
“Gosh,” Hayseed chuckled stupidly, “Ya’lls makin’ me blush.” He’d never had a pretty mare call him ‘sweet’, but then again he’d never really been approached by any mares. Unless one counted that nice Rarity mare, though she seemed to try to keep her distance from him.
“Well, thank you again Mr. Turniptruck...” she began.
He cut her off and said, “Call me Hayseed.” If Fleur didn’t know any better, she’d think that he was trying to flirt with her, and he was doing a pretty exceptional job of it too.
“As you wish Mr. Hayseed,” she corrected herself and smiled, “I’ve er... I’ve had a bit of a rough night, so I should really be going. But, thank you, for everything. You... have no idea how much it means to me to be treated like this.” she smiled.
“Aight then,” he said, “Go on, get out of this here cold,” he smiled, “get home safe.”
“I will,” she smiled and turned, “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.” She blushed once she realized what she had said. Deep down, though she might not have known it, she really did look forward to seeing him.
“Bye now!” he called to her as she walked away from him and crossed the street. As she walked on, not far from her parents’ home, she thought about how this stranger turned friend, this Hayseed Turniptruck had jumped in to treat her like a princess once more. Something inside of her said that it wouldn’t be the last time either, and the more she thought about it, the more she liked it. On that cold, snowy night, the beautiful Fleur De Lis walked alone once more. Though this time, even after all that had happened, she managed to have a smile on her face, just because of that one, simple thought of that kind, simple stallion a block behind her.