Considering this is the school cafeteria, the food wasn't that bad today. Only because it was Taco Day, the only day of the week that every high school student in Canterlot High actually gets in line to eat. As always, Applejack and Twilight had planned for it in advance, therefore were already sitting at their usual table eating by the time the line really started forming. In fact, the pair of them had already finished eating and were debating going to get seconds, though both knew the odds of seconds were slim to none.
"The girls are telling me they still ain't seen you much, Twi," Applejack started, kicking back and tossing an apple in the air repeatedly. "Any reason you ain't listening?"
"I find it highly peculiar that you are the one lecturing me when we hardly see you either," Twilight laughed, pushing her tray aside and reaching into her bag.
"Difference is I get real busy while you're just fake busy," Applejack said, raising an eyebrow as Twilight pulled out a book, index cards, and pen.
Twilight stopped what she was doing and looked up at Applejack, her brow furrowed. "Excuse me?"
"What I'm saying is, I got a farm to keep up with, a family business to keep going, a team to race for, and school on top of all that. You just got school, Twi. You ain't even got a job."
"But I have to keep up with my academics or I could fail. Besides, I'm also the class president, so I have to organise committees for our class and organise the school dances and other fundraising projects. So I basically have a job in just that alone!"
"I ain't tryna offend," Applejack eased, grinning at Twilight's hardened scowl. "But Twilight, you're the smartest girl I know. You ain't gonna fail by a long shot. I reckon you have all those textbooks memorised, or darn well close."
"That doesn't mean I should ease off on studying," Twilight argued, organising the table in a way so she could make it her study area. Applejack rolled her eyes and continued tossing the apple as she watched. "If I allow myself to slip even once, it could lead to me getting accustomed to slipping and then it will become habitual and I'll continually make excuses as to why it's okay not to do this one assignment then next thing you know I fail the class, and I'll have to go to summer school."
"Twi, what's got you so worked up?"
"I'm just trying to focus on school, Applejack," Twilight insisted, avoiding her gaze by focusing on the text book.
Applejack straightened up, lowering her feet back on the floor, then reached over and closed Twilight's book. Twilight looked up at her then, violet eyes indignant but also hiding something else that Applejack caught. "You only get like this when something's got you worked up. What is it?"
"Nothing's got me 'worked up.' I told you, I don't want to fail senior year because this is our last chance to really prove ourselves to colleges."
"Twi, you told me last year that colleges look more at previous years than senior year, so I ain't buying it 'cause you've been valedictorian three years running. Something's got you worked up that you're tryna avoid."
Instead of saying anything, Twilight stubbornly remained quiet and shuffled her index cards as a distraction. As she did this, Applejack pondered all of the possibilities in her mind, now that she knew she was onto something. Something she had learned long ago with Twilight was to "listen between the lines" which also meant listening to what wasn't there.
"I noticed you didn't mention Flash in your argument."
Twilight faltered, letting the index cards drop back onto the table in a haphazard pile. Though she still refused to answer, Applejack knew she found the problem.
"Y'all arguing again?"
"I hate it when you do this," Twilight murmured.
Tilting her head in curiousity, Applejack asked, "Do what now?"
"Get inside my head!" Crossing her arms against her chest, Twilight leaned back in the chair and almost glared at Applejack. "No one else is capable of it, not even Fluttershy who is extremely perceptive."
"So you're saying I'm right?" Applejack continued, not allowing Twilight to change the subject.
While Twilight fell silent, the rest of the cafeteria droned on. Trays were pushed to the side, and most everyone had finished their food. Chatter between everybody fell into one dull thrum of the cafeteria with the occasional clinking of trays and pings of laughter. Applejack bit into the apple as she waited patiently, the tart sweetness filling her mouth and rolling over her tongue. Apples were still her favourite treat, even if she grew up around them, and perhaps because she grew up around them. Apples were something she knew very well, better than people. Watching Twilight reshuffle her index cards again, Applejack tried to figure out the best way to get her to talk. With Rainbow Dash it was easier; when she got upset, she let the world know. When she got real upset, she let Applejack know. Either way, it wasn't hard to get her to talk.
Twilight was a different story. Weedling the truth out of her was as hard as coralling the cattle on foot. It was clear that Flash Sentry was the reason she's upset, but unless she knew why they were arguing, she couldn't help her. Taking another bite of the apple, she kicked back once again and tipped her hat over her eyes. "Well, Twi, girls sure do miss you. And so do I. Don't know what's going on between you and Flash, but it ain't like you to forget about us. Sure hope you ain't going back to your Freshman self."
"Applejack, it's not like that."
"Fine. It's just...Principal Celestia?"
Applejack lowered her feet and started to straighten out her hat. "What in the hay does Principal Celestia have to do with...well howdy there, Principal," she corrected upon sight of her. "Guess you need to see Twi? Well don't let me stop you."
"Actually, Applejack, I'm here for you." Principal Celestia's solemn face sent spikes of anxiety racing through Applejack's blood, and she narrowed her eyes. "Your brother is here to pick you up. Twilight...perhaps you should go with her."
"Is everything okay?" Twilight asked, but she had already begun gathering all of her stuff. For Applejack it was much easier, since she only had to sling on her backpack.
"I'm afraid you'll have to see for yourself. I'll cover for your absences in your other classes, but you best hurry."
Applejack didn't need anymore urging beyond that. She already had a sinking feeling, and bolted up out of her seat, with Twilight scrambling to catch up with her. Some of the students gave her odd looks as she passed by, but she ignored them as she made her exit out of the cafeteria, down the hall ways, and towards the office. None of the teachers made an effort to stop her, which only worried her further, and when she saw her brother standing near the school exit she made an undignified dash towards him.
"Granny?" Applejack asked, dreading the answer she already knew.