Chapter 5 – Saturday, Sunday, and all the joyless days after that
Twilight lay on the covers, hugging the pony plushie, eyes clenched shut. She was exhausted from the better part of the day spent in the gym, finishing the clean-up, and now she was just glad that she didn’t have to leave the bed again anytime soon. She tried not to think about the fact that Rainbow Dash had sat in this room with her only two days back. Spike was keeping her company, lying on the floor next to her bed, and she idly petted his back.
She had messed up. She thought that she had probably messed up worse than anyone had ever messed up in the entire history of messing up—although she would need some research to really be sure. Rainbow Dash was never going to talk to her again, let alone go to the dance with her. There would be no milkshakes and no hanging out with her and her friends.
To keep her mind from torturing her with pleasant memories of the two days she got to spend with Rainbow Dash, she turned to enumerating her failures.
She had failed to secure the journal. Which would have been unnecessary if she hadn’t left it in the restroom. Which would not have happened if she hadn’t failed to brew a simple potion. Which would not have happened if she had had the courage to just ask Rainbow Dash out.
How could she think that a great athlete and wonderful girl like Rainbow Dash would ever like her, anyway?
“She said so,” she whispered, her voice thick with tears. “Before she found out I lied to her and was responsible for everything she said she liked me. She would still like me if I hadn’t messed up so badly.” Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks as she curled up and started crying again.
School was going to be so great.
“So that Twilight girl caused all the trouble?” Applejack asked, looking confused. “But why’d she give you a hand with that mess if it was her who done did it?”
“Beats me,” Rainbow replied. She idly flicked her finger against the tea cup Fluttershy had almost forced on her as soon as she had arrived at her childhood friend’s home. Her friends had coaxed her to spend the afternoon with them and talk things through, even though Rainbow would have preferred not to talk about anything Twilight-related.
“And you say she is infatuated with you?” Rarity asked.
“That’s what she wrote in her journal,” Rainbow said, fighting back a blush. “She basically tried brewing some potion that would give her the courage to ask me to the dance.”
“Seems like an awful lot of trouble just to ask someone out,” Applejack remarked.
“If she’d just asked you and the dance would have been yesterday, you two could be smooching right now!” Pinkie exclaimed. “It doesn’t even make sense!”
“Only that I wasn’t gonna go to the dance anyway,” Rainbow deadpanned.
“Maybe she is just shy?” Fluttershy suggested.
“No offense, Fluttershy, darling, but you are by far the shiest person around, and not even you needed a potion to procure a date with Big Mac. Even though it regrettably got obstructed in the last second,” Rarity disclaimed the notion. Turning to Rainbow, she added, “So, what else did she write about you?”
“Umm… nothing, really… just some doodles and bullet points and whatever…” Rainbow stammered, finally losing the battle with her flushing cheeks when she remembered some of the things Twilight had written about her.
“Despite of all she done messin’ up, her journal still ain’t none of our business,” Applejack said, giving Rarity a stern look.
“Of course, you're right, darling,” Rarity said. “My apologies.”
“So what ya gonna do?” Applejack finally asked Rainbow.
“I guess I’ll get her journal back to her. Like drop it off at the library or something,” Rainbow replied.
“You’re not going to talk to her?” Rarity asked, trying to hide her disappointment.
“No,” Rainbow said, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“But Dashie!” Pinkie Pie whined. “Don’t you think Twilight is a super cutie and you've got like so much in common and you just want to smooch her for hours, and then you can’t breathe anymore and you two almost choke? Huh?” Rainbow just blinked at her, dumbfounded by the barrage of words.
“Pinkie Pie does have a point,” Rarity pointed out. “What are your feelings for her? You two seemed to… have a certain chemistry, if I may say so.”
“What!?” Rainbow jumped up. “Chemistry? Are you crazy? She blew up the gym! She got me pulled from the soccer match! She ruined Flutters’ date! She got everybody in school to hate me! She lied to me! She—“ She was breathing heavily, clenching her fists a few times.
“And apart from all the things she did?” Rarity softly asked. “What does your heart say, darling?”
Rainbow Dash slowly turned towards her, glaring. “Just so we’re like super no doubts remaining clear: I. Am not. Into. Twi.” With a long exhale that could almost double as a sigh, she dropped into her chair again, staring at Rarity as if daring her to defy her.
“Hmm,” Rarity huffed, then she pulled the agitated girl into a quick comforting hug. “Sorry to hear that.”
“Soooo, what’s with your date with my brother anyway?” Applejack turned to Fluttershy, eager to change the subject. “Any news?”
“I… I’d rather not talk about it, if that’s okay,” Fluttershy timidly replied.
“I can give him a talkin’-to so he’ll get his act together ‘n asks you out again,” Applejack offered. Fluttershy didn’t say anything and just slid deeper under the table on her chair, once again trying to hide her face behind her hair. “Okay, okay. Jus’ sayin’.”
Twilight was deliberately late, having walked extra slowly on her way to school. It was bad enough that she would have to endure class, but there was no way she was going to take any unnecessary risk of running into Rainbow Dash if she could avoid it. If it meant being late for class, she would just take the demerit mark. It was still the safer option.
All the same, each time she had to walk along the hallways that day, she found herself looking out for the characteristic multi-colored hair. She was out of luck though and never saw her. Once Rainbow’s pink-haired friend, Pinkie Pie, brushed past her in front of her locker and she almost followed the urge to hide inside. She fought it down and stoically faced the wall instead, ignoring Pinkie Pie’s obliviously chipper greeting and feeling ashamed of her own rudeness.
Rainbow stared at Twilight across the cafeteria. She hadn’t seen her the last two days, not actively trying to avoid her, just sticking to her friends. She had no idea how she was going to deal with Twilight, and for the time being, she had preferred not to think about it too closely.
Twilight had noticed her as well and just stared back at her. She looked dejected, head hanging and shoulders slumped. It somewhat saddened Rainbow to see her like that, even as an angry part of her insisted that Twilight had all reason to look dejected, and that she deserved it.
“What’s wrong, Dash?” Applejack asked on her left. She traced Rainbow’s gaze. “Oh.”
Rainbow just kept staring. Seeing Twilight like that made her queasy and restless, made her heart beat like crazy and her knees turn into rubber. She wanted to do something—go over to her and yell at her, or run away so she didn’t have to see her anymore, or just take Twilight to have those milkshakes. But not knowing which option to pick, all she could do was stare.
Later, Rainbow was lying on her back in her favorite spot in the mat storage, hands crossed behind her head, staring at the ceiling. She had come to take a nap, but for some reason she couldn’t fall asleep. All kinds of strange thoughts were running in circles through her head, and not even running a few dozen rounds around the football field after lunch had been able to clear her mind.
It was the Twilight situation, of that she was sure. Seeing her in the cafeteria had been super weird. Rainbow had felt trapped, not knowing what to do. And that had sucked. She kinda wanted to be angry at Twilight for all the stupid stuff she had pulled off, but at the same time she kinda didn’t.
Rainbow groaned. Why couldn’t she just move on and stop going on and on about this stuff? There was no point in even thinking about it again and again and again. Twilight had messed up; it sucked, but that was the way things were. It didn’t matter that it had been nice to hang with Twilight—that had been before, and now was now.
The few things she had read in Twilight’s journal didn’t make a difference; so what if, according to a neat little chart, the last thing Twilight thought of before falling asleep was usually Rainbow Dash? So what if there was a countdown of days until the soccer team’s home matches so she could cheer Rainbow on? So what if these things made Rainbow’s cheeks flush—Twilight was still a liar and a coward, and it didn’t matter how cute she was on top of that!
Rainbow groaned again, turning on her side, sleep still eluding her. Her head hurt. Why did all of this have to be so complicated? Why couldn’t things between her and Twilight just return to how they had been before the stupid journal and everything?
“Equestria to Flutters, do you copy?” Rainbow waved her hand in front of Fluttershy’s face, trying to get the timid girl’s attention. Fluttershy, at the same time, was standing in front of her locker, lost in reverie, pressing a card to her chest.
Finally acknowledging Rainbow’s presence, she gave her a dreamy smile and handed her the card. It was a simple dark red card, inscribed with the careful handwriting of someone who was not used to writing extra pretty.
I am very sorry that I will not be able to go to the Fall Formal with you. Would you like to go to Donut Joe’s with me Friday next week instead?
“Heh, good for you, congrats,” Rainbow said. When Fluttershy proved unable to utter anything more coherent than a high-pitched squeal, Rainbow laughingly gave her a shoulder bump and left her to her happy news.
“No thanks, Pinkie, I really don’t feel like partying,” Rainbow said, smiling halfheartedly at the pink girl’s expectant expression.
“Still mopin’ over that Twilight situation,” Applejack observed.
“There isn’t even a situation,” Rainbow protested. “It’s just… I dunno. Guess I’m just fed up after all the other situations. Like the being benched-situation, and the whole school hating me-situation.”
“But that’s why you should come to the dance!” Pinkie Pie repeated. “There’s nothing like a party to make you smile again when you’re being a mopey Rainbow Dash! And tomorrow is going to be a total doozie! Which I know because I'm the dance organization committee!”
“Pinkie's got a point, y’know,” Applejack said. “Just go, blow off some steam, have a good time.” When Rainbow continued to look unconvinced, she added, “Twilight’s not gonna go anyway, so perfect opportunity to get your mind offa her.” Rainbow just nodded at that.
“I’ll help you with your dress,” Rarity immediately offered, looking unreasonably giddy at the prospect. “I’m sure we can find something that’s… cool… enough for you.” She pouted at Rainbow Dash and squealed, “Please say yes, darling! Pretty please?”
“But I don’t have a date,” she somewhat lamely protested, her resistance already faltering.
“We all don’t,” Rarity said. “And while that may indeed be regrettable, we can have a good time just us girls, now, can’t we?”
“It would be so nice if you came, too,” Fluttershy chimed in. “I mean, you know, if you want to.”
“Fine, alright, I’ll come!” Rainbow snorted, unable to suppress her laughter at her friends’ eagerness. Maybe a night of partying with her friends was what she needed to finally relax.
“Hooray!” Pinkie cheered, drawing confused looks from some other cafeteria tables around them as she pulled a grinning Rainbow Dash into a crushing hug.