Honest to the Core
The blue stallion had decided to rest at one of the tables provided by a nearby eatery. The customers didn’t seem to notice him and the workers didn’t mind his presence as their tables were free sitting to any pony who needed them. That or they didn’t really want to do much with Blues. Blues would have gone with the latter reason.
The stallion sighed, head slumped on a table with the roses laying to his side. Petals were strewn across the table surface like the crime scene of a flower homicide. It was what was left of the flowers Blues had bought after his failed attempt to ask out Rarity. The flowers in question were being grinded up in Blues mouth, chewing away his melancholy in thought of what could have been. No money, no lunch, and a whining stomach drove Blues to behead the flowers to satisfy his hunger. Roses weren’t eaten regularly like most plants in pony society, as they were symbols of love and eating them was like the equivalent of stomping on one’s ‘I love you’ gift. To Blues, that might as well have happened if he had actually talked to Rarity, and his sadness now wouldn’t have been all that different if he hadn’t gotten that date.
No, not really. Actually talking to the mare was an accomplishment, regardless of the outcome.
Today couldn’t possibly get worse. Strangely enough, something opposite of that happened, as if by some whim of the universe to throw him a bone in sheer pity. The sight of Blues eating roses by himself attracted the attention of a pony, a mare to be exact, which was an unexpected turn of events in what usually happens in the life of Blues. And if that weren’t enough, this very pony was one of the most well known mares in Ponyville, identifiable by her orange coat, blonde mane, and cowboy hat.
“Ain’t you a sad sight?” she spoke, walking towards the stallion.
Blues looked up in curiosity, seeing that the mare in front of him was talking to him, at least he thought she was. Maybe she was talking to somepony behind him? He thought that as he turned his head to see if any such pony existed. Confused, Blues looked back to the mare and modestly pointed a hoof at himself.
“Yes, ah’m talkin’ t’ you,” Applejack chuckled.
Blues was astonished. Some pony actually cared to talk to him? Under normal circumstances, it would’ve been a kind gesture to move out of their way or asking him what the time was, but here he was, actually of interest to a pony. Either the mare was oblivious to his reputation of disaster, or she really did want to talk to the poor colt.
Applejack helped herself to a seat across from Blues and blew away a lone petal close to her, “D’you like sittin’ here eatin’ roses all day? Yer a sorry sight fer the heartbrok’n.”
Blues looked away in shame, ears fallen and shoulders shrugged. That pretty much defined his entire existence in one sentence. Of course, he knew the mare hadn’t meant it, not as an insult at least, but she was paying him her full attention so the least he could owe her was a conversation.
“Uhh, these were supposed to be for…a mare…” he managed to speak.
Applejack’s ears perked up. Now she was interested, “Oh really? And here you are, chewin’ away roses like a box o’ chocolates?”
“Uhh…yeah…” Blues cared to say. He didn’t exactly want to relay the entire memory to the pony, so Blues thought it was better to remain cryptic if not a little vague.
“An’ what happened? She said no?” she asked. Applejack didn’t need to hear the whole story. A bouquet of roses in the stallion’s mouth pretty much told her everything.
“…not exactly… I…chickened out,” Blues admitted.
Disappointed, Applejack clicked her tongue as she shook her head.
“Tsk tsk. You need to have a li’l more incentive than that if ya want the mare of yer dreams,” she explained.
Blues wasn’t sure about this, but he replied, “What do you mean…?”
“You gotta have power in yer posture. Be brave, don’t be afraid of rejection,” she explained.
Blues knew all of this, of course, but the one issue he hadn’t resolved was his fear of rejection. Rarity was a prized mare in a town of pretty fillies and she was well aware of this too. She didn’t mind her status among the stallion community and she’s not shy to flaunting to have her way with colts, but if she says no once, she’ll only say it once. She’s a fine mare with class, but she’s not a unicorn you would want to cross.
“…” Blues remained silent. He wasn’t sure if he had it in him to overcome his fear of rejection. He acknowledged the earth mare’s desire to help, but he was pretty sure not even she could help.
Of course, this was Applejack we’re talking about. She’s not one to give up on a lost cause.
“Tell ya what,” she started, “Why don’t I help you practice?”
Blues’ head shot up with a blush on his face, “Uh, wha?”
The pony giggled, “Practice you askin’ out that mare? I’ll be glad to help ya, you seem honest enough.”
Blues’ blush faded, but a pink tint was still left in his face. Would she really help him practice his opening speech to Rarity? He still wasn’t so sure, but this was the most any pony has ever done for him. Perhaps today wasn’t going to suck so bad after all.
“Uhh…s-sure Applejack. I would appreciate that,” Blues managed to say.
“Anything for a fellow pony,” she said. “Now let’s start. First, tell me what you were goin’ with.”
Blues nodded and thought back to what he had originally practiced in the mirror earlier that morning. He cleared his throat and looked to Applejack as he started.
“Would you like to go on a date with me?” he spoke clearly and openly, with bland feeling.
Applejack blinked and shook her head. Blues raised a brow at this reaction. He had said it perfectly only because the mare in front of him wasn’t a white unicorn, and he had practiced all morning in the mirror in his bathroom, the whole hour and a half of it.
“No, no, no. That’s too direct,” Applejack said, “If you want the mare to have even an ounce of interest in ya, you need to be more casual. And also, you need to speak more like you actually want to go on a date with her. Don’t be bland like a robot, be more emotional.”
Blues thought about her advice. He originally thought a quick question would suffice in earning a yes or no from Rarity. Also, due to Blues natural shyness, he didn’t want to waste more than a minute of Rarity’s time with a question she was going to say no to. But as it turns out, one needs to devote a little more time into asking another pony out on a date if one wants to do it the right way. Blues, being pessimistic, still believed it wasn’t worth the time to learn how to properly say ‘would you go on a date with me?’ if Rarity might still say no.
But it was worth a shot.
“So, how do I start then?” he asked.
Applejack hummed, “You’d want to start like you would a casual conversation. Something like ‘Fine day we’re havin’, huh?’ or something else relevant to that. You don’t want to give away your intentions.”
Blues still wasn’t sure if that was the right way to start his plea, but he wasn’t going to question Applejack. She was a mare; she knew more about mares than he or any colt would.
One would think…
“So…I just talk about the weather first?” he asked.
“Sure, somethin’ like that,” the pony gleamed. Her teachings were getting through to him; she was glad. “You’d also want to make sure that the mare yer askin’ has free time. Sometimes, if a pony says no to your offer, it’s not because of you, usually,” Blues grimaced at this, “It’s usually because they’re too busy to go out on any dates.”
“And how do I ask that?” Blues questioned.
“You can say that whenever you want to her when you feel that she’s comfortable holdin’ a normal conversation wit’ you. Chances are, she’ll be excited to have another such conversation wit’ you.”
Blues pondered this even more. He couldn’t help but think that it all made perfect sense in luring a mare on a date. Approaching while hiding your intent, lead her into a sense of security, then ask the question. It was flawless. Although in that context, it made any stallion whose ever done so sound more like a hunter than a gentlecolt. Easy analogy, unfortunately.
“…yeah, I think I got it…” Blues said.
“Great! Why don’t we practice again?” Applejack asked.
The blue stallion shrugged and cleared his throat again, thinking of how to lead his conversation depending on where it would go.
“Fine day we’re having, huh?” he started.
Applejack, trying to sound like a proper filly, spoke in a high tone in mimicry of her life back in Manehattan, “Lovely day, I would say.”
“The clouds are always so passive, moving on the whim of the wind and any pegasus who flies by them,” Blues spoke, turning his head to the sky to eye the very things he was talking about, “Their actions never noticed, never adhered to. The only time some pony would bother to look up at them would be to measure the weather and how it will be for the day, or if one happens to be blocking the sun, shading the world underneath, bringing all heads below up in curiosity of who would do such a thing.”
The earth pony, long astray from the mood of the conversation, looked back and forth wondering what the hell just happened to the stallion’s lack of confidence. She wasn’t even sure how to reply after his poetic autobiography on clouds.
“Uh, y-yes. We do take those things for granted, for that they are always in the sky, their home plane…” Applejack replied.
Blues head tilted down, “Like us. Bound to the earth we were born on. In more ways than one do we envy each other…”
Applejack didn’t know how much more she could take of his passionate words. If she couldn’t measure up to his style of talking, she’d be the one having to learn how to talk to colts.
“Say, are you busy tonight?” Blues asked, to Applejack’s relief that the practice would soon end, “Maybe we can watch clouds for an afternoon if you don’t have time for tonight.”
“Oh, why yes. I would love to. Tomorrow is just perfect for me as I have had so much free time recently.”
“Be careful how you spend it. Every second doing nothing is a second of wasted potency.”
“…” Applejack couldn’t keep her charade any longer. She was just so impressed with this stallion’s way with words, unlike anything she’s ever heard of before. If he could impress her with sheer words, Blues could have any mare he wanted with that power. “Wow Blues, I didn’t know you were a poet!”
Blues, snapping out of his trance, returned to his modest demeanor and shyly replied, “Uh, yeah. I work at a bar as a musician. I write my own music…”
“Heh. It’s amazin’ you don’t have fillies fawnin’ over you with such talent. I’m sure you’ll get that date with whichever mare you set your heart on.”
Blues bashfully looked away. It wasn’t talent that helped him speak such words. He had spent a long time wallowing in his misfortunes that he had a different view of the world others did not see. Through his melancholy, he noticed things others had not and admired even mundane things of the world around him. It was his only way of remaining optimistic despite misfortunes.
“Thanks. Also, thank you for the help Applejack,” Blues said, getting up from his seat.
“Yer leavin’?” the mare asked.
“Yeah, I’m gonna try asking out that mare again later today,” he said as his eyes looked down at the murder scene of roses, “…right after I go home and fetch a few bits.”
“Well, if yer gonna go home, you may want to wash up. Fillies like a clean stallion they can touch,” Applejack chuckled. As far as she could tell, it was only a muse as to why mares liked nice looking clean smelling stallion, far different from her attractions to an ideal male. Her impression of a casual female’s taste in colts was more of a joke than anything else, but she wasn’t far from the truth.
Oh well. It sounded true.
“Uhh, good idea, except…”
“…oh you’re not gonna tell me you don’t bathe now, are you?”
“What? No! I was gonna say I don’t exactly have brand name shampoos at home. I just use bar soap…”
Applejack scoffed. “Can’t help you there. All I got is bar soap back home too. If this mare is anything like an ettiket…eti…pretty frou-frou filly,” She had no idea how right on the money she was, “a good bath is yer top priority. There’s a spa house a few blocks from the Carrousel Boutique-” Blues cringed a little at the thought of passing by Rarity’s home, “-and I heard that they have refreshing baths or something. I dunno, never been there and that’ll never change.”
Blues nodded in response. It sounded like a good deal. He already perfected his opening and the mare’s kind words invigorated his confidence in his asking out Rarity. But if having a good smelling body would increase his chances of the unicorn saying yes to him, even marginally, it was good enough for him.
“Alright, I guess I’ll go down there then,” he spoke, “Thank you for helping me, Miss Applejack.”
Applejack bashfully chuckled at being called a lady, “Anytime mister…”
“Blues,” he relayed.
“Blues. It was my pleasure speaking to you, good sir,” Applejack spoke in her fancy accent.
“The pleasure is all mine, milady,” he bowed.
Today, today probably wasn’t going to be as bad as he thought.