Learn Me to Read

by Laterna Waverka



Sweet Apple Acres was a surprisingly large farm, home to many apple orchards that were not readily visible to the town, but everypony knew they were there. Unfortunately, the majority of the farm was not visible from Caramel's bedroom window... all he could do was stare at the big barn roof that he could see over the houses and imagine what Big Mac was up to...
With his elbows on the windowsill, Caramel rested his head in his hooves and thought over his master plan once again. Most of the main volunteer ponies worked on the farm during the week, when there were more jobs needing done. As Caramel was still in school, he only really had a few half days and his weekends free. Tomorrow was Sunday and, from what he'd heard, Caramel knew that Sunday was the best chance to get Big Mac alone.

Me. Big Mac. Alone. Caramel thought to himself.

With a huge grin on his face, Caramel shoved himself off the windowsill and fell backwards onto his bed. The thick red covers bounced, coming up around him at either side and wrapping around Caramel's body. As the fabric brushed against his fur, Caramel nuzzled into his orange pillow, closing his eyes and dreaming of his perfect stallion.
An image of Big Mac began to form in Caramel's mind... a large stallion, his muscles visible through his soft red coat. He would look at Caramel and smile, his beautiful orange mane would fall over his dazzling blue eyes.

“Good morning Mac!” Caramel would greet him with a spring in his steps.

“Good morning,” Big Mac would return the gesture, still smiling.

Naturally, Big Mac would recognise the importance of his studies and they would do all that first. Big Mac would also be mindful of all the extra work that Caramel was doing just for him... and, of course, Big Mac would be very grateful.

Caramel, however, would be modest, “oh, r-really, it's no trouble at all...” and he would flutter his blue eyes, “for you that is...” and gaze dreamily at his soon-to-be-coltfriend.

Then, once all of the school-work was done, the two ponies would take a lunch break. Caramel always imagined Big Mac to be really protective, caring and romantic; so naturally lunch consisted of an intimate picnic set out in a secluded spot of the farm, preferably amongst some fresh-smelling apple trees.
There would be tremendous chemistry between the two colts, a heat that neither of them could resist. Just as they are about to share their first kiss, Caramel would draw away. No. Lunch was not the perfect moment for their first kiss – there was a more finer moment still to come.
Then it would be time for chores because, naturally, Big Mac would want something in return and what would be more perfect for two teenage colts than some manual labour that allowed Caramel to stare at Big Mac some more? Caramel would work exceptionally hard, but his clumsiness would ultimately prevail. Big Mac, however, being the gentle soul that he is, would be very sweet about it and would reassure the cute pony who really is just trying to help out.
Then, at the last task of the day, just before he is due to return home, Caramel would finally get something right. In the heat of a spontaneous celebratory play that would break out between the cheering ponies, there would be a sudden spark.
Everything would stop.
Caramel and Big Mac would gaze into each other's eyes.
Then... they would kiss...

Suddenly – shock! Doubt would come as Big Mac draws away, too late to hesitate. The kiss and the moment are over. Big Mac is left stunned and, gasp, there is no more time and Caramel must return home, their precious moment unresolved.
However, the two ponies would be bound together by that kiss forever and they would simply have to meet again! The doubts in both of their minds must be quelled. Through that time apart (hopefully, not too long a time), Big Mac would come to realise his true feelings for Caramel and they would live happily ever after.

Caramel certainly had it all planned out and he was certain that his day with his perfect stallion would go just as he imagined. With his face now beaming, Caramel snuggled deeper into his covers and dreamt of his happy ever after...

Morning came in fairly quickly and it was not long before Caramel found himself bounding up the dirt path to the gate of Sweet Apple Acres, his brown satchel bouncing along on his back. Even though it had been raining through the night and he slipped a few times, Caramel was not about to let anything deter him from his perfect first date. The large white wooden arch that served as a gate was soon towering over him and Caramel practically bounced through it – straight into a giant puddle of mud! Looking down, Caramel's spirits also faltered as his hooves and legs were now partially covered in icky mud. Not that he had put too much time into his appearance, but Caramel wanted to look as good as possible. With a hefty sigh, Caramel looked up from his hooves and out towards the rest of the farm, searching for the one thing that could cheer him up.
Immediately, Caramel's attention fell on the large red barn building, which had extensions that served as a living area for the Apple family. Caramel decided quickly not to look there as he trotted onto the farm, thinking that Big Mac was probably already out doing work. Looking further afield, Caramel could see some large hills a short distance away. They were very steep, but were plastered with apple trees.

He wouldn't be all the way out there, would he? Caramel asked himself. How did they even get those trees planted like that?

Shaking the thoughts out of his head, Caramel continued to walk through Sweet Apple Acres, moving around the barn to get a better view of the rest of the farm. From the back of the building, Caramel could see off to his left some cornfields and a well just beyond them. Dead ahead was a chicken coop centred in some other fenced off areas, each housing a different animal – cows, sheep, pigs and even a brown and white puppy. Over to the right side, leading towards the super steep hills, was even more apple trees. This patch was a lot denser than the ones of the hills.
Suddenly, the top of one of the trees shook violently. A few moments later, another one shook and Caramel noticed what few apples he could make out fall off. Caramel smiled as he knew in his heart that that is where he would find his stallion.
Taking in a sharp, deep breath, Caramel charged at full speed to where Big Mac was, following the sound of his great big hooves bucking the apple trees. Within moments, Caramel laid eyes on his dream come true . Standing still, simply standing gazing up at a big apple tree, there he was – Big McIntosh!
Caramel could not contain his excitement and, with a huge grin on his face, he bounced his way to stand beside Big Mac.

“Good Morning Mac!” Caramel greeted him with a spring in his steps.

Big Mac's toned, muscular frame swirled around gracefully to face the caramel-brown pony. Caramel now stood just a few inches away (a perfect kissing distance, although it was too early for that yet) and waited for Big Mac to 'return the gesture in kind' as he did in Caramel's fantasies.

Big Mac just stared at Caramel absently. The trees around them blew in a cool Autumn breeze. Caramel's blue eyes darted around uncontrollably and he could feel a nervous sweat building up, matting his coat. All the while, he felt compelled to keep smiling.

I must look like an absolute creep freak right now, Caramel couldn't hold in a tiny groan as he thought about how bad he must look.

“Can ah help ye?” Big Mac finally spoke, his deep voice calling Caramel back into the moment.

“Oh. Right. Yes you can.” Caramel started. “N-no. Wait. Actually.” He paused when he saw how perplexed Big Mac was looking. “Well, what I mean is, a-actually, um, I-I'm here to help y-you, actually.” Caramel finally explained.

Big Mac's stoic silence quickly returned and Caramel's smile faded. Caramel couldn't help but wonder if someone had forgotten to tell Big Mac about this.

Caramel's eyes widened at the thought and he quickly added, “I'm here to help you with your studies and school and stuff because, you know, you dropped out of school and I thought that that was a real shame so I offered to come and help you get your education at least.” Caramel was sure he'd messed that up too he was so nervous.

Fortunately, a look of realisation flickered across Big Mac's red face, but just for a moment.

Big Mac looked down and kicked one of his hooves into the ground. “Ah see,” he said, seeming less than enthused.

Turning back towards the barn, Caramel's smile returned and his hope in his fantasy was regained. “So, what subject would you like to start with?” He asked, digging into his satchel. “I've brought books and work on a variety of...”

“Uh-uh.” Big Mac interjected, cutting Caramel off.

Caramel sharply spun around, a big book drooping from his mouth. Those pesky doubts returned and Caramel could feel his perfect day fantasy spiralling out of control.

“Chores first.” Big Mac said simply. “Then school.”

With that, Big Mac turned his attention back to the tree he had been eyeing up earlier. He strained his front chest and leg muscles and swiftly lifted the back half of his body into the air. Without warning Big Mac slammed his thick back hooves into the bark of the tree. Then, it was raining apples. Big Mac's body returned to a standing position as all the apples fell into well-placed barrels around the base of the tree.

Is that... drool? Caramel thought as he quickly became aware that he was maybe been staring at the whole show a little too intently. Shaking his head (and the drool off) Caramel gazed up and around at all the tall apples trees surrounding them. They suddenly felt a little too close for comfort. Caramel wondered if he was even strong enough to lift his back legs to even try to buck them.

“Ye gonna help?” Caramel hadn't even realised that Big Mac had been actually frowning at him. In fact, Caramel felt that he looked a little angry.

Caramel was now even more painfully aware that he was way out of his element. Even if the two ponies had done the whole 'study-buddy romance' thing first, the physical labour would have come eventually. All Caramel had hoped was that, by seeing him in his element first, Big Mac wouldn't think the worst of him when he failed miserably at bucking apple trees. Caramel's eyes and heart sank to the ground as his perfect first date fantasy came crashing down in full... and Caramel couldn't hide his tiny tears.

How am I meant to show off my strengths and make him like me now? The disheartened pony asked himself. This isn't how today was supposed to go at all...

“Well?” Big Mac pressed, the anger now showing in his deep voice.

Taking in a deep breath, Caramel knew that he really had no choice now – there was only one thing he could do. Caramel would just have to find the strength within him and prove to Big Mac just how capable he is and make this moment the first step to making the fantasy a reality. It was all or nothing.
Caramel looked up, the fire in his eyes burning through to his heart and soul. Steadily, he back his slight frame towards one of the menacingly tall trees. With a new-found determination, Caramel focused all of his energy into his front legs, willing them to hold his weight. Caramel pushed forward with his front legs as much as he could and poured all of his weight onto his delicate hooves. With greater ease than he anticipated, Caramel felt the back half of his body spring upwards.

I'm actually doing it! Caramel thought, unable to believe that he actually had the strength to lift his own body weight like that.

Unable to contain his excitement, Caramel's blue eyes sparkled through his flopping brown mane and his wide smile returned. Now all he had to do was kick his back legs out and buck that apple tree!