Chapter 1—Rarity’s Recommendation
“Oh Applejack,” she sighed, “our love will last forever, won’t it?”
“Yes, sugarcube,” she replied, “forever and forever. Just you and me, Flutters.”
The sun was slowly setting to the West, and they could both see their shadows lengthening. Below a single tree sat the two mares, hugging so tightly that if it had not been for the difference in fur colors, nopony could tell them apart.
Fluttershy could feel the soft grass beneath tickle her back as she moved. “I love you, Jackie.”
“Ah love you, too, Flutters. Ah love you, too.” She nuzzled the yellow neck before her, making the timid pegasus gasp softly.
Fluttershy put down her pencil. “That’s not a lot,” she thought. It should be longer.
Her cottage rustled with activity with animals flying, scratching, and clawing everywhere, but her focus on her story never dwindled—that is, until now. What should I put next? Oh, this is so hard!
A sharp tapping on her hoof pulled her away from her thoughts. “Yes, Angel Bunny?” she asked politely at the small furry rabbit. Angel squeaked, screamed, and yelled at her in his own language.
“Oh…what is it?”
He hopped onto her desk and pointed at her day-by-day calendar.
He shook his head.
“March 15th? The Ides of March? Number? Date?”
He nodded and smiled. Then, he put a paw to his forehead and swooned.
“Theater! Uh…tragedy? Drama?”
Angel thought for a moment and nodded. Then, he put a rubber band on his head and took the pencil in his right paw.
“Queen! Drama Queen! Rarity!”
The small rabbit nodded furiously.
“Date…Rarity! I don’t get—OH MY! I forgot! Thank you, Angel Bunny!”
Oh, I almost forgot my spa date with Rarity! I hope I’m not late. Rarity would understand, though. She’s such a good friend
“Oh there you are!”
“Sorry, Rarity. I lost track of time.”
“Still working on that story, I see,” she winked.
“Oh yes. I need to make it longer.”
“Well when you’re done, be sure to let me read it first!”
“Oh I will!”
Rarity gestured with a white hoof toward the open door of Lotus and Aloe’s Spa. “The usual!” she waved with another regal flourish.
The interior of the spa was painted a calming shade of sky-blue and light pink. A small fence separated the waiting room and the actual spa area. Luckily for the both of them, Rarity was such a frequent customer that she had a special reserved time and section in the spa area. In fact, since her expenses at the establishment paid for that wing, the spa twins considered naming it the Rarity Room of R-and-R.
As they settled into their first mud bath (Rarity insisted on at least three to rejuvenate her complexion as much as possible), they began their small talk.
“So, how was your day?”
“Oh…” Fluttershy said, “I guess it was okay.” She skimmed the top of the greenish glop with her hoof, drawing little hearts.
Rarity moaned and tilted her head, but not so much as to let the cucumber slices fall off. “I’ve had the busiest day one could ever imagine! It all started this morning when Twilight asked me to fix her dresses because Spike accidentally burned them! I mean, do you know how difficult fire damage is? You have to save as much as possible, and then find the right pattern and put it on so the seam is invisible. Of course, I would obviously do it anyways because it’s Twilight, but still! How busy!”
“Oh yes, Rarity. But can’t you use magic?”
“Well yes, dear, but pattern-lifting magic is quite difficult. Anyways, and then I hardly get a break when who should come but Big Macintosh? He asked me to make another hat for him. Apparently, his old one broke the last week. So I say, ‘Of course, Macintosh! I’ll have it ready by next week.’ But wouldn’t you know it; I didn’t realize that next week is also the deadline for the Haughty Couture Line submissions! As a result, I panicked, darling! I know it’s hard to imagine my getting flustered, but try!”
Fluttershy mentally giggled.
“So I worked triply hard this morning! And with all honesty and a hint of incredulity, I finished my submission in two hours! Call it a stroke of genius. I was wondering if you could come model it for me tomorrow? Of course, no obligations, and you wouldn’t have to do it in front of a crowd again. Just for me, so I can see what needs to be altered.”
“Oh sure, Rarity. If it’s just for you, then I can do that.” She smiled.
“Oh, thank you, darling! Now tell me. How much of that story for Applejack have you finished?”
“Oh it’s not for Applejack!” Fluttershy blushed profusely. “I could never show it to her…”
“Oh but you must! When it’s done, at least.”
The buzzer rang and they emerged from their mud bath, dried off, and entered the sauna. The walls were wooden, or maybe bamboo. Aloe stood in the corner, ladling water onto the furnace, filling the room with steam.
“As I was saying, you simply must show her! What better way to convey your true feelings?”
“Oh I don’t want to convey them. I just want to get it out of my system.” In truth, Fluttershy had no intention of showing the story to Applejack. She would hate me! Over the past few months, her feelings for Applejack had been eating her up inside, and she needed to get it out. She told Rarity first, and the white unicorn advised that she write down her feelings.
Her diary of feelings evolved from a quotidian diary to elaborate fantasies and wishes. These transformed into the beginnings of a story.
“Well, we’ll deal with that later. What have you written so far?”
“Um, we’re just under one of her apple trees, cuddling.”
“I just started…”
“Well, you must continue!”
Suddenly, Aloe put the ladle down and asked, “You’re writing a story, Fluttershy?”
The pegasus blushed and nodded shyly.
“Sorry I couldn’t help but overhear. It sounds like you’re having trouble thinking of what to write. You know, Lotus was working on a short story last winter, but she also hit writer’s block. So she talked to the town librarian. Twilight Dazzle, I think. I’m not sure. Purple, nerdy, saved Equestria like…three times with five other ponies…I can’t believe I can’t remember. Oh, so you do know her. Anyways, talk to her. She’ll help you a lot. And uh…good luck with Applefritter.”
She left, whistling the tune to “Clippity Clop Means Stop,” leaving the two mares alone.
“Why didn’t I think of that?!” Rarity exclaimed, “Ask Twilight! You know, she’s great with books. Romance, not so much, but she can definitely help you with the writing.”
“I don’t know…she doesn’t know I’m…this way…”
“She does.” The unicorn averted her eyes and coughed softly.
“She…does?” Oh no, oh no, oh no…oh…no…
“Yes…erm…she knows it was you who checked out ‘Coming Out for Beginners.’ In all honesty, it was a bit obvious that it was you under that overcoat.”
“Oh…She hasn’t said anything…” She hates me…She’s trying to ignore it…
“Well you know, darling. She’s a good friend like that,” Rarity continued, “and she’ll definitely help you with your story.”
“You think she won’t mind?” I hope you’re right. No, you are right, Rarity. Twilight is a good friend.
“Of course she won’t! Now, let’s get out of here before my fur turns red!”
“So, you’ll need a dress, right?” Rarity asked when they returned to the Boutique. She always asked Fluttershy to come back with her for a cup of tea. She insisted it was “most excellent for rejuvenating the face after a long time under steam,” but the pegasus knew that it was just an excuse to get to talk.
“A…a dress? Whatever for?” She took a sip—with difficulty, due to her lack of magic—and sighed in relaxation. I really do love this tea. What is it again? Oh yes, Hoofington Pleasure. I do love this…maybe I’ll buy some of my own.
“When you tell your feelings to Applejack, of course!” she exclaimed.
“Oh no, no, no! I’m not telling her! I’m going to keep it locked up forever!”
“Darling, you can’t be serious!”
“I am! I mean…I know she won’t…she won’t…she won’t like me back.” She said the last few words with some difficulty as she began to choke over her words, stumbling over them with sadness and fear.
“You have to try, darling. Go see Twilight tomorrow. In the mean time…” she paused and left the room for awhile.
Fluttershy sat, confused, until the unicorn returned, levitating a pale blue periwinkle dress with a matching headband. “This will do nicely.”
“If you—when you—finally decide to tell Applejack your true feelings, wear this. It complements your coat quite well, and the headband has an apple-blossom on it. It’s perfect, is it not?”
She really is the Element of Generosity… “Okay,” she said, “I’ll take it, but no promises…”
“Good enough for me!” Rarity said, smiling. “Now, let’s see that story!”
Fluttershy reached into her saddlebag and took out a thin stack of papers. The first, she flipped over onto the table. “It’s my drawing,” she explained. The second was full of scribbles. “Scratch sheet.” The third was much neater—the words stayed on the lines. The fourth was blank, for future ideas. Rarity levitated the story-in-progress to her face and began reading. Twenty seconds later, she fetched her glasses and began anew.
“Not bad. A bit short. Okay, very short. We need to lengthen it. Surely, you must have some other ideas!”
“I do!” the pegasus insisted. “But oh, it’s so hard to put it on paper!”
An aura of white magic surrounded a nearby quill and flew onto the sheet. “Tell me then, darling. Tell me what you want to say, and I’ll put it on paper for you.”
She began recounting all of her fantasies. She talked about the apple orchard cuddling. She broached the topic of their wedding. She glided over their kissing. She giggled at the thought of any foals. I really am revealing a lot about my crush. Maybe not just to Rarity. To me, too. I think I really love her.
“Do you think this will work? I mean, aren’t these your words on the paper?”
“Of course not, darling!” Rarity exclaimed, “This maybe in my writing, but the words are one-hundred percent yours, I guarantee it! This past half hour, all I’ve been writing down are some choice quotations that you yourself spoke! These are your words, darling, and I want you to take them to Twilight tomorrow and incorporate them into a lyrical melody of passion and love.”
Fluttershy glanced at Rarity’s work. She was right. They were all her words. She spotted, “And I’ll love her forever and ever,” as well as “We cuddled until we fell asleep in each other’s warm embrace.” She also found “I won’t ever judge her negatively because she’s perfect in my eyes” scrawled in the corner with a star next to it.
“Thank you, Rarity. You’re so good at this romance thing. You know exactly what to say.”
“I don’t, darling. These are your words, remember? I just picked out the best ones.”
“Why don’t you have a coltfriend yet? If you don’t my asking…”
Rarity blushed and cleared her throat. “Well, darling. That’s um…I just haven’t found the right one yet.”
“I’m sure you’ll find him soon. Any stallion would be so lucky to have you.”
“Aww, thank you! So long, darling! Don’t forget our spa date next week!”
I could tell she wanted me to stay a little longer, but I really have to go. Rarity is such a good friend. I’m so lucky to have her. I’m so lucky to have all my friends. Applejack, especially. I still remember that time she carried me up that mountain. I was so scared to face that dragon, but she never gave up on me. And all the times she calls me “sugarcube.” Oh, that just makes me…melt…
I have to tell her sometime, don’t I? Rarity’s right. I have to tell her. I don’t want to. I won’t. But I know what would happen if I did. Her eyes began to water as she was walking home. She would reject me. She’d reject me like I always get rejected. And it’d hurt so much more than last time.