Trading Riches for Rags

by RarestRarity1779

Chapter 3

“Madam,” Fleur heard a whisper and felt a shake, “madam,” she heard once more and opened her eyes to see one of the maids. “Sir de Lis asked that I bring you this breakfast. We have today fresh eggs, pancakes, warm oats, and a nice cup of coffee.”

Fleur propped herself up against the headboard and eyed the food hungrily. It had been quite some time since she had eaten anything, almost twenty-four hours. “Thank you Rose,” she said politely and smiled at the young mare.

“Can I get you anything else madam?” she asked.

Fleur giggled a little, “No thank you Rose, I think that will be all. You’re doing excellent,” she complemented the smiling maid’s service before she exited the room.

Once she was all alone in the room, her old room with her high school cheerleading photos and all still there, Fleur took a bite of her food and leaned back against the headboard as she tried to gather her thoughts and form a plan. Deep inside of her, she hoped that it had all been a dream. Everything from when she first conceived the idea of trying to impress Fancy, to him having told her that he was unfaithful, and to her having flung the ring and slapped him. Yet she hoped it hadn’t been a dream. She felt free, liberated now. She observed herself in the old desk mirror across the way and thought about how it felt rather good to have that dreadfully heavy ring off. She just felt so confused right now. She felt the best thing she could do after applying for a divorce today would be to get back into modeling and get her life back together. She had quite a vast savings account, a private home which belonged to her and her only, and a popular reputation with the modeling and fashion communities. She was quite an important pony in Canterlot, though she shuddered to think of what her heated separation with Fancy could do to that reputation.

But now wasn’t the right time to think about her career. Right now she just had to think about the task at hoof, and that was getting out of this marriage. She had told herself a week or two ago that she was going to get out of the marriage, she had her doubts, and now this perfect excuse came along. She sighed and poked her eggs as she really thought about and reflected on how that wasn’t healthy. She finally admitted to herself that the marriage hadn’t been healthy, and it seemed like it probably hadn’t since day one. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be? Maybe her suspicions that Fancy had only dated and married her for his image actually were true? She sighed once more as she thought about how it was so strange how these things worked.

She glanced over at the headboard post and spotted the coat which Hayseed had given her last night and then she remembered how she had promised to give it back to him. She remembered she told him to be here this morning, and the way he was dressed paired with his low intelligence would get him one of two things the minute he knocked on the de Lis door; a hateful run off from one of the staff or her father, or a call to the Canterlot Police. She saw the clock and saw that he would be here soon! She hurried with her food and got out of bed to groom herself and put her favorite dress on, a purple one with a red bow around the midsection, before she walked downstairs. Just in time too! It seemed as though the minute her hoof hit the floor, the mansion’s doorbell rang. It had to be him! But what if it was Fancy? What would she do if it was him? Would she slam the door in his face, or would she collapse into tears, jump to embrace him, and decide that she wanted to give it one more chance? “I’ll get it!” she called.

The doorbell rang once more as she approached the massive oak thing and breathed a sigh of nervousness. There were no windows around the door, so there was no telling who was on the other side of it. She pulled the door open and, to her greatest relief, saw that it was in fact Hayseed. “Howdy there ma...” the stallion cut himself short and only stared at her. She was gorgeous! He had never seen such a beautiful mare.

“Is everything alright?” she asked with concern. She knew he was looking towards her, so she turned her head around and looked behind her. There was nothing there to be looking at.

“Yah look amazing,” the stallion said to her. He cleared his throat in an embarrassed type of way (he had never been too good at keeping his thoughts to himself).

Fleur blushed again. All three times she had run-ins with this pony, he had made her blush. She cleared her throat and said, “Thank you.”

“Forgive mah bein’ so rude,” he apologized, “ah er... ah came hur for mah jacket. This is the right address right?” he asked stupidly.

Fleur giggled and replied, “Yes, it is. Won’t you come in? I’ll just go get it,” she said and stepped aside so that he could enter, and took his hat from his hoof to hang it on the rack. “Wait here,” she smiled to him and walked upstairs to retrieve the jacket.

Hayseed couldn’t help but circle around and around in the wide hallway as he admired the huge mansion. Where he came from, houses didn’t even get anywhere near this big, nor did they ever come this beautiful! Maybe he would call the nice mare some time and offer to clean the windows? On his walk up the driveway, he did notice it looked to be behind a few months (or years) on a decent window wash.

“Here you are Mr. Turniptruck,” Fleur said as she came down the final three steps. She levitated the jacket towards him.

“Thank ya’ kindly,” he said and took the coat from her. After that, as they had the two times before, they found themselves in an awkward position with nothing to say to each other. It was quite strange to the both of them. The nervous Hayseed cleared his throat (he was always nervous around these fancy ponyfolk, especially the females) and said, “”Well ma’am ah guess ah’d better git a goin’ and git out of yer’ mane. Thank ya’ again for returnin’ it to me.” He took his hat off the rack and threw it on his head.

“It’s my pleasure Mr. Turniptruck,” she assured him, “and thank you for letting me borrow it last night. That was a very generous thing of you to do.”

“Shucks, it ain’t nothin’” he said that phrase once more. She used her magic to open the door for him and walked out behind him. It was best if she went ahead and visited the divorce lawyer this early in the morning, that way she’d have less of a chance of running into traffic, or worse yet, running into Fancy. “Ya’ll headed somwhar?” he asked once he noticed that she was following him down the path.

“Yes, indeed I am,” she smiled, “and you?”

“Ah, ah guess ah’m headed off to do nothin’ important,” he chuckled, “You want me to come with ya’?” he asked, “It might be nice to have somepony to talk to,” he pointed out.

“I would be honored,” she smiled, “how very noble of you.”

They walked out of the driveway and a little ways down the street mostly in silence, though after awhile Hayseed asked a question about something that had been bugging him. “Mizz Fleur, if you don’t mind mah askin’, what you dressed up all fancy and purty fer?” he asked.

As they walked slowly by, Fleur observed herself in a shop window that they passed. “If you must know,” she replied, “I’m going to see a pony who can help me out with some troubles I’ve had recently,” she looked down, almost ashamed to be talking about the subject. Somehow though, it just felt good to get it off her chest.

“Oh,” Hayseed replied, “And also, again if ya’ don’t mind mah askin’, why were ya’ll out so late last night. Ya looked tired and ya was all lonely and cold. Walkin’ the streets in the cold early mornin’ hours alone don’t seem like something a fancy, pretty mare like you should be doin’.”

“You are quite right Mr. Turniptruck, it isn’t,” she replied, that feeling of hostility for Fancy returning. “I know it hasn’t been long since we first met, and only a few days since I’ve gotten to know a little more about you, but I just can’t help but feel like you’re somepony I can trust,” she admitted, “Silly, I know.”

“Shoot, that ain’t silly,” he replied with a blush and an embarrassed smile, “I’m flattered ya’ll think that ‘bout me. And yes ma’am, ya’ll can trust me with anythin’. Not like ah got anyone to tell it to,” he chuckled about the serious statement. Fleur felt somewhat bad for him. He really didn’t seem like that kind of pony that would have many friends. She wondered if he had ever been in a relationship before. “But enough ‘bout me. What was you sayin’?” he prompted her to continue on.

“Oh, er right,” she began, “I er...” she hesitated, “I had a fight with my husband last night. He... he cheated on me,” her voice broke slightly, “I had a suspicion that it had been going on for quite some time, but I was never sure, I never saw any solid proof other than his staying out all the time. There are so many other things too, but... but I don’t wish to talk about them,” she looked away from Hayseed, “Last night was the final straw I guess. I’m getting out...officially, so I’m going to see a lawyer to do just that.”

Hayseed only looked at the ground as he walked on, lost in thought. “Gosh,” he replied after awhile, “I’m mighty sorry to hear that. It just ain’t fair. A pretty, kind mare like you deserves somepony who’ll treat her right.” They stopped and Hayseed picked her head up ever so romantically. “And I just know, ya’lls gonna find him someday.” He smiled at her confidently. Perhaps he wasn’t as stupid as he came off to be?

“That’s very sweet,” she choked back tears; she was so very touched. “You’re absolutely right,” his words inspired her, “this is nothing but a block in the road, a block which is easy to get around.”

“That’s the spirit right there,” he said cheerfully.

Ever since his little pep talk with her, for every minute that she would be alone, Fleur decided that she would walk with pride. True, loneliness was a bad thing for her, but there was no guarantee she would be alone for a long time, and deep inside, she already had her sights set on somepony.

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The meet with the lawyer had been a smashing success! A date had been set for the finalization, and Fleur was free. She felt so relieved, so happy of what she had done! She didn’t care what he said, what he presented, she would never go back to Fancy. It was true that some ponies could change, but for some reason, Fleur believed that he would continue to place his own image above all. She didn’t think he was a bad pony, just a sorry one. But that didn’t matter now, she was free! With luster in her steps, she led Hayseed down Sunrise Boulevard towards a modeling company she was always welcome to.

“Yer a model?!” Hayseed asked incredulously once they arrived at the building, her face plastered all over it. Who’d have thought it, him becoming friends with a model? The ponies back home wouldn’t believe this! On the way out of the lawyer’s office, Fleur turned to the stallion, jumped to hug him and had called him her ‘best friend’. It sure was funny how a stranger could turn into a friend almost overnight.

“I most certainly am!” she responded joyously, full of pride. “Hayseed,” she called him by his first name, “would you like to come inside and see what it is models do?” she invited.

“Gosh, that’s sure to be a real humdingin’ good time!” he said. “Ya’ll can count me in!”

Fleur giggled, “Very well then, come along.” She walked inside with Hayseed close behind her.

“Afternoon Miss de Lis,” the security guard by the door smiled and tipped his hat. Fleur passed right by him, but then he saw Hayseed and a frown crossed his face. He stepped out in front of the scruffy looking pony. “Hey buddy, we don’t allow your kind in here. Unless you’re applying for a job, get out-”

“He’s with me Reginald,” Fleur clarified and turned to observe the scene. Poor Hayseed look so frightened.

The security guard looked back at Fleur for a moment and then back to Hayseed with a confused look on his face, but holding a client up for longer than was necessary was a surefire way for him to lose his job, so he backed off of the pony and used his hooves to adjust Hayseed’s collar and jacket. “Very good sir, my apologies,” he said, “Welcome to Canterlot Modeling Incorporated.” He tipped his hat and returned to his post.

“Aw shucks,” Hayseed said as he walked on to join Fleur, “ya’lls only doin’ yer job, and that’s mighty kind of ya’.” He tried tipping his hat and found that he rather liked the fancy gesture.

“So sorry about that darling,” Fleur apologized when he joined her, “I guess I’m just so excited that I forgot to warn you about the guards. Just stick close to me and you’ll be fine.”

“Will do,” Hayseed nodded his head and followed her throughout the neat building. As he had with the de Lis mansion, he was absolutely taken by the beautiful architecture. First he saw the fountain, then his reflection on the smooth tile floor, and then the huge skylight above which seemed to be miles up. Oh what he wouldn’t give to clean that window! He thought it might be a good idea to come back one day and ask that nice security pony if they needed any window washers.

After Fleur gave Hayseed a little tour of the place, she proceeded to go towards her usual studio. “You’re welcome to stay and watch the shoot if you like,” she told him, “but if you don’t, well...” she hesitated, “I know this is a bit sudden, but would you meet me at my home later? Around nine thirty tonight?”

“I sure will stay and watch. I ain’t never seen a photo shoot befer,” he replied and looked all around the dark studio at the cameras, lights, and screen.

“Glad to hear it,” she said and kissed him on the cheek, leaving a big lipstick stain which prompted him to blush, “but I still want you to meet me at my place later,” she winked at him.

“You got it Mizz Fleur,” he said, “Uh... Fer what?” he asked. “Now what in the world did that wink mean?” he thought to himself.

“I want to thank you properly for taking the time out of your day to spend time with me,” she explained, “You really have no idea how much it means to me. Just to have somepony pay attention to me, sincerely, that’s all I want, and I get it with you.” She had already said too much, so before Hayseed could open his mouth to say or ask something, she ran off to get in front of the cameras.

Once the shoot began, Hayseed was absolutely fascinated with it all. He tried to ponder out the hidden meaning in Fleur’s words, but every time the camera flashed and Fleur flipped to one of her stunning or intimate positions, he couldn’t help but forget everything and focus on her. He could even swear that she looked at him a few times, but then again, he was right behind the camera.

“Ya looked great up thar,” Hayseed complimented her as she walked off of the white stage.

“Thank you,” she blushed and retreated into the dressing room. “Do you mind tying my bow?” she asked once she exited and levitated the dress item towards him.

“Ah can give it a shot,” he said and took the bow in his hoof. He wrapped it snugly around her midsection and tried not once, not twice, but three times before he got a decent knot in. It looked absolutely horrid dangling free like that, but she couldn’t be rude to him, and she couldn’t help but hold back a giggle. The clueless country pony was absolutely darling!

“Thank you very much,” she smiled at him, “it looks excellent.” Hayseed walked ahead of her towards the door from which they had come. Fleur stopped him, “No darling, we go out this door,” she pointed to a door with a big exit sign over it, “it’s much faster.” He only smiled and walked to open the door for her while she discreetly used her magic to fix the knot. As expected, Hayseed took no notice of it.

They exited the studio and found themselves in the side alleyway. “Thank you so much for doing all of this with me today. I couldn’t ask for a better friend,” she smiled at him. “I look forward to seeing you later. Remember Hayseed, nine thirty,” she smiled at him and kissed him on the cheek once more. “I’ve got to go!” she shouted and began to trot off, “but I’ll be waiting.”

It had happened to him again, Hayseed Turniptruck left standing there with a blush on his face, a lipstick imprint on his cheek, and a deep admiration for that white mare that had asked him to come meet her. He might have been stupid, but he knew how loved work. Deep inside of his heart, he had a feeling that he was falling in love with this mare. But he also knew how society worked. There were ponies with money, fame, and power, ponies like the beautiful Fleur de Lis, and then there were those ponies that were just menial workers at the bottom of the social ladder with little chance of advancing, just like himself. He frowned and observed his scruffy self in a broken mirror which was leaned next to a dumpster in the dark alleyway.

He walked out of the alleyway and tried to gather his thoughts. He sighed as he thought about how bad he wanted her, but was not allowed to have her. It just wasn’t meant to be. Who had ever heard of a mare like that going for a stallion like him? She was smart and beautiful and rich, and he was dumb, poor, and unattractive. But could he just give up? Was it the right thing to do on his part, to just let her slip through his hooves like that? All of a sudden, he was hit with a sense of determination. He thought about how she had treated him all the times she had seen him. She laughed with him, not at him, she smiled at him, she was nice to him, she was patient with his blunders, she listened to him, and now he was sure more than ever that she had made eyes at him a few times, so who was he to just let her get away from him like that when he was this close? He was a fool, that’s what, no better than that stallion who had let go of her. It all had to count for something.

He didn’t need to think about it anymore, he was going to do it. Tonight, when he met her, he would ask her out on a date. A real one. He would take some of his bits and take her to a real nice restaurant or to one of those new projected and expensive to enter films. He had a suit at home, an old one which had lost some of its luster over the years of sitting in the closet, that had been given to him by his family in Ponyville when he first moved to the city. It wasn’t fancy like the one the stallion that passed him was wearing, but he figured it would do. He would go to a regular customer’s barber shop and take advantage of the free services he was given and get his mane groomed neatly and his face prepped. He had a feeling that she would be one hard mare to impress, but he didn’t care. All that mattered was that he wanted to go through it. He had never felt that way about a mare before. Then again, never had he had much time for relationships, and nor was he ever popular with the fillies. But maybe that would all change tonight.

He had a plan formed and he felt confident. As he trotted on, he couldn’t help but let a smile cross his face and his trot turn into more of a skip. Tonight was the night he went after the mare he had fallen in love with. Everypony had a special somepony after all, and all you had to do to find her was to look.

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When Fleur returned home later that day, she observed that her father was still polishing his knife set and reading the paper. She couldn’t keep anything secret from her parents, especially her father. She was his little filly. When she had arrived at their home the previous night and had told them of the night’s events, she remembered their reactions as she walked upstairs and began sorting through her closet of old clothes for the best thing she had. Her mother dropped her drink, clenched her teeth, and rambled on about how she knew Fancy was no good. Her father, on the other hoof, had a more hostile reaction. He quietly drained his shot glass with one sip, slammed it down on the table and rang the bell for the butler who quickly came. “Fetch my hunting bow and my walking shoes,” he had said. “No ‘Pants’ is going to mess with the de Lis family!”

The servicepony did as he was told, though Fleur had used her magic to wrench the expensive contraption from him and set it on the hearth. “Oh no you don’t,” she had said to him, “we’re going to do this the legal way.”

Her father only mumbled under his breath and took his seat once more. He wasn’t going to kill him, just ‘shoot his leg or something’ as he had put it. She wouldn’t have it though. She hid the military grade thing somewhere, but upon coming downstairs earlier to give Hayseed his jacket, saw that he had found it and had taken to his usual hobby of tinkering and cleaning his collection of weapons.

She couldn’t help but giggle at the mental scene as she walked into her room and entered her closet to search through her old collection for the most beautiful dress that she could find. She hummed a gentle tune to herself as she flipped through gown after gown and eventually picked on out, a pink one, an old favorite of hers. As she slid it on, she could hardly believe that she still fit in it. It was sure to impress him, sure to impress that stallion that had made so much time for her. She knew it hadn’t even been twenty-four hours, and anypony else, any other mare would have been in an unstable state or would have wanted to wait, but she just couldn’t say no to what was in front of her. She was strong and it was what she wanted. This stallion, this Hayseed Turniptruck, treated her like a mare, not like an object. That was all she wanted, that was all she had ever wanted.

She sat down in front of the mirror to comb her mane with that gentle tune still humming in her throat. All was good for a moment, but then she hit the tenth stroke of her mane and stopped dead in her tracks. Suddenly, it hit her. She instantly realized that maybe this wasn’t meant to be either. She stared at her big beautiful purple eyes in the mirror and continued to brush as all these negative thoughts rushed through her mind. He was so much lower than she was. “What will happen to my career? Would some of my friends leave me? What will mother and father think?” she tried to ask herself and answer all of these questions and more at once. She finished brushing her mane and put the comb down. It didn’t matter, she didn’t care about what they thought, she didn’t care how her career turned out. She had had a terrible relationship life in the past, and this breakup with Fancy just made things worse. She liked being treated nice, and so what if the pony who treated her like this with such sincerity wasn’t anything more than a lowly worker from out of town? It didn’t matter, it should never matter when love is concerned. She was going to try, and by Celestia, she was going to succeed.

When she finally finished with all of her grooming, she smiled at herself. She looked nearly like she had the previous night when she had tried to impress Fancy. She looked beautiful and full of life. It was close to an hour before the time in which Fleur had told him to meet her, so she walked downstairs and curled up by the fire all alone in the living room. She wished she had a stallion to cuddle up there with her. She laid there on the sofa, careful not to wrinkle her dress, and closed her eyes. She couldn’t help but imagine that charming Hayseed walking slowly up to her, kissing her on the forehead, and laying down beside her. The scene brought a smile to her face as it played out in her head. She just knew that he was every bit as sweet as he was in this vision.

She jumped up though when she felt a hoof touch her shoulder and blushed when she saw who it was. It was her mother, she was in her nightrobe and had a tired look in her eye. “Fleur darling,” she said, “you’re up awfully late. Is everything thing alright?” And you’re all dressed up too, what’s the occasion?”

Fleur was a bit embarrassed. Her goal was to keep the meet as secret as she possibly could, but at the same time, she just couldn’t lie to her aging mother. “I...I’m meeting somepony,” she admitted with some hesitation.

“Hm?!” her mother mumbled through a sip of water. She started coughing. “A stallion?” she demanded after she finished her coughing fit. Fleur only nodded her head. She gasped, “It’s not that good for nothing ex husband of your’s is it? I can’t say I agree with you, but I shall allow it. Your father is joining you though. Francois!” she called her husband’s name, “Francois!” she called louder.

“Shh! Shh!” Fleur quieted her mother, “It’s nothing like that mama, I swear!” she whispered. “It is a stallion,” she explained, “but he’s only a friend. We met earlier and remembered each other from high school,” she lied; it was the only way to not look suspicious, “and he said he would like to take me out tonight so that we could get reacquainted.” Her mother eyed her suspiciously, “Mama, I swear,” she reassured her, “Please don’t wake father. You know how he is.”

That suspicious look still in her eye, her mother thought a moment and said, “Very well Fleur. You’re my little filly and I can’t say no to you,” she smiled, “but please, be careful. It’s awfully cold outside, so make sure that you bundle up.”

“Yes mother,” Fleur agreed, relieved that she had thrown her mother off.

“Oh, and darling,” her mother poked her head back into the room with a cocky smile on her face, “Go get him,” she winked at Fleur and then disappeared back behind the wall. Fleur listened to her hoofsteps as they went up the stairs and across the second floor. She breathed a sigh of relief and sat back down on the sofa. She stared into the fire and began to think about what all she could do to make him feel special. It was obvious that the stallion never had much attention, maybe never any attention from a mare. She decided she would have to ease into it, start off casual and then just give it her all, make that stallion feel like he’d never felt before.

The doorbell rang and she jumped up. It had to be him, she knew it was him. She smoothed her dress out and walked briskly into the hall, though she tried very hard to not make too much noise. Her parents just couldn’t know about Hayseed and her love for him, not now, not just yet. They wouldn’t understand her position.

She opened the door and was absolutely blindsided by what she saw. It was Hayseed alright, but he looked like such an important and classy business stallion of some kind. His mane was combed neatly back, his moustache was trimmed completely off, his freckles and bits of acne were treated (magically, no doubt), and his bucked teeth were corrected (Fleur could tell magically as well) and pearly white, he looked stunning. “How... I mean, Hello Miss de Lis,” he said with a nervous, though smooth, suave, and dreamy new tone.

“Hello Mr. Turniptruck,” she politely said and stepped outside. She closed the door behind her.

Hayseed cleared his throat nervously and came right out with it, “Miss, Fleur, I was wondering if you would like to maybe...”

Before he could get another word out, Fleur reared up on her hind legs, wrapped her forelegs around his neck, and gave him a passioate kiss. Forget her previous intentions to just ease into it, this was the way to do it.

Their eyes closed and lips locked, it was total, forbidden bliss. She broke the kiss, only for a second to say, “Yes. Yes I will,” and then she planted her lips firmly back on his. Seconds turned into minutes and the snow began to fall as the ritzy Fleur de Lis and the underprivileged Hayseed Turniptruck kissed and cuddled passionately. She broke the kiss and stayed there locked in a hug with him. “This... this is insane,” she admitted with a hearty tone.

“I know,” he said, “it is. So... You had the same thoughts I did?”

Fleur giggled slightly, “Yes, it seems I most certainly did,” she reassured him, still hugged closely into him. “I just met you, but...but...” she just couldn’t get the words out fast enough, “I never want to let go of you.” She began to cry a little bit. The passion for this stallion that hit her was just so powerful that she couldn’t handle it. Did it make any sense that she loved him like this, like she had known him her whole life? No, it didn’t, but she didn’t care. She loved him!

“Don’t cry,” he said gently, “I’ll still be here when you let go.”

She hugged him tighter. “I know you will,” she said, “I know you will, and I never want you to leave.”

“I never will,” he said. “I promise.”