A steady, but light, fall of snow permeated throughout the town square Vinyl was walking through. Twas the fifteenth of December, with Christmas on the way, though some liked to call it Hearth's Warming after an old myth of the city from its history. Even so, after all the preparations and increased profits from tourists visiting her club, her day had been crap.
Her gig had been busted after her outburst resulting in her losing ownership of the club, she had been evicted from her apartment after an ‘incident’ that involved about five fire dancers, lots of booze, and a camel. Her bank had first gone bankrupt, then used the money from the people using their bank, i.e. herself, and then after being found out about that had been shut down.
You'd think compensation for what she had lost would be, well, compensated for, but that wouldn't be dealt with for another month at the very least. And yet after all of her shortcomings no one had offered or even considered to help her get back on her feet.
Not even her family members would hear her out because of her work as a DJ. Which is too ‘barbaric’ and ‘not a fitting occupation for someone of Canterlot Royal blood’. But who cares about some fancy bloodline that competes to have more pockets in their jacket than the person next to them?
Vinyl wanted to enjoy the adrenaline from a bass heavy song, to dance on the floor that practically shook from the pounding it took from other dancers, and even to enjoy the silence of her apartment when it was only her and her computer while she worked on a new song.
She walked over to a park bench and sat down to eat what was left of her food from her satchel. While munching on her leftovers she hoped that a passerby would ask what was wrong and help her. But alas, the park was empty; the citizens of the town had all gone back into their warm and comfortable homes to wait for the coming festivities.
Finishing up her food, Vinyl placed the wrapper in the trash can next to her new bed and laid on the bench. She expected falling asleep was going to be a pain. But, with the exhaustion from her day, she fell into a deep sleep with little problems.
The next few days were filled with a routine of waking up (a sore back and blinding sunlight greeted her every time), then proceeding to buy some type of snack or the sort to last her the first half of the day and then going to the nearest bar and drinking her money away. After that Vinyl would make it as far as she could back to her new “home”, sometimes only making it to the outside of the bar to a bench or some type of “sleepable” surface.
By Monday the twentieth, Vinyl couldn't see her left hand from her right hand. Or was it the bicep from the color green? 2+2=5? She couldn't remember. But the main focus was getting back to the bench with her stuff. It consisted of a grocery bag filled with whatever she thought was still editable, a few pennies, nickels, and quarters, a cardboard cutout, and another plastic bag filled with shredded paper that functioned as a pillow.
Vinyl rounded the last corner and saw the bench, hopefully. Once, the bench was actually a truck bed and she was taken to some far side of the city, never again would she mistake it for that. But it wasn't as bad the time she mistook a fan of hers for a trash can in the corner. As her vision dimmed from exhaustion and whatever other things were making her feel worse then she as before, she flopped on the bench, or maybe the ground. Oh, well. She was just glad that she'd made it back to the home base. Probably.
If she had thought that last night was bad, today was the worst. Moving wasn't an option as Vinyl had, for the past hour, thrown up. Her body was weak from the continuous drinking and unhealthy junk food she’d eaten from day one of her endeavor. So, for the time being, she was stuck on her bench.
By the afternoon, Vinyl’s future was a bleak pit of death and sorrow. But a ray of light shone on her situation at last. Oh. Wait, that just coming from the lamppost next to the bench. But just out of that light there seemed to be some figure. A curvy one at that. As the figure came closer she began to recognize who they may be. The figure was now directly in front of her and she wasn't sure, if this person was her savior, if she really wanted it to be who she thought it was.
“So the alcohol finally got to you, huh Scratch?”
As cliché as it sounded, only one person called her that. Vinyl and them had once been best friends, but with a fallout that happened a few years ago she had cut off ties. With the many things said before they parted ways, Vinyl had went to the one place she could go to: a club. She'd practically drank her life away at the bar, secretly mad at herself for saying the most rotten things to her friend. By now she’d given up the thought of returning, knowing an apology would do the same as a song would turn out if it was made on one of those smartphones.
Her body was too weak to give a proper response, so all she could do was nod. “Well then, even though I haven't seen you in years, I suppose I can help out an old friend. Is that acceptable for you?”
Vinyl closed her eyes as the figure came closer and picked her up. Maybe not picking her up, more of dragging her off the bench and into some vehicle. As Vinyl drifted into sleep, she thought about what she was going to say in her apology. Groveling at their feet was a serious possibility.
Vinyl awoke to a sizzling sound and melodic, beautiful singing. She sniffed the air and smelt the mouth watering aroma of bacon. I have to be in heaven, there’s no way this place could be anything else. She opened her eyes to take a look around wherever she was. She seemed to be in a room she assumed to be the living room, as it had the necessities: a table, couches and a window, along with a Christmas tree. The ‘Christmas tree’ was more of a sad Charlie Brown Christmas tree as it had only a few bags, wrapped presents under it and no decorations whatsoever. Vinyl moved her view to the kitchen that was beside the room and the angel that was cooking in it.
After taking in her surroundings, a couch that she was on, a small coffee table parallel to her, a TV on the other side of the room, a window to the wall on the right of it, and connected to the room was the kitchen and the melodic singing. Only separated by a small counter and her will to move. A hallway branched off the to the right, in between the kitchen and living room, most likely the bathroom, guest room, and master bedroom. Personal trinkets were scattered around the room in random places. A picture from the Crystal Empire on the coffee table, plus a sculpture thing on the shelf above the couch she currently resided in.
After shuffling around a little to get more comfortable, the couch itself was okay just not her position, Vinyl gained a good position from her efforts along with a better view of who the voice had come from. A little pain returned from her days of horrible sleeping arrangements. The couch was heaven compared to those. But with her new knowledge of who had rescued her, that fact could turn into a useless hope. She grunt as she exerted a little too much effort on making her way to a slight sitting position, more leaning against the armrest. The singing ceased and seconds later her possible demise arrived.
A plate clanked against the glass table and Vinyl’s senses were assaulted with the smell of almighty bacon and some awesome scrambled eggs. Her legs were lifted up and her savior plopped down on the couch, her legs then placed overtop theirs.
Vinyl gave a weak smile, “Hey Octy…”
Octavia, her savior, her ex-friend, her ex-coworker, and almost all the other exes was an exceptional person. She played for the Royal Canterlot Orchestra, was a master at the cello , violin, and even knew a few things about producing EDM from the time she had worked with Vinyl. At almost everything, except sports, EDM, gaming (though she was a beast at Wii Sports), and few other things, Octavia was better than her.
She was there, till up to close to a year ago, for Vinyl, always at a phone call away. Sometimes even just a call to the next room. Overtime, Octavia had become what Vinyl relied on to fill in what she didn't have. By the time Vinyl had gotten to the, well, climax of their relationship at that point, she had wanted to ask Octavia about living together. By then, without her noticing, all the hardships she was experiencing at the present were beginning to surface.
They weren't as bad as the present problems, but at the time it was the worst Vinyl had experienced. And with her popularity in the clubs plummeting, a few lawsuits here and there for way too stupid reasons, and her income dipping into the red from her bad spending (she had usually relied on Octavia to help keep it straight), she wasn't so sure her life was going to continue on a good road. When Vinyl had asked Octavia about living together, she'd said no.
Ever the straightforward thinker, Octavia had said that she wanted to get the current problems that Vinyl had settled then have some time to think. And after Vinyl said things she still regretted, she had rushed out Octavia's apartment and never talked to her again.
But, now that she had actually had a chance to look around, Vinyl realized that the current flat was a new one. Just based off the her current surroundings, Octavia seemed to have moved on. Forgotten her, and not even cared about it. Staying her in the amazing apartment, baking eggs and oh, right. That bacon. Maybe she could convince Octy to work something out.
But first Vinyl had to get past the disapproving stare, though it seems to have a smirk under it. Only, Octy had almost never smiled in the years that they’d known each other. Over time, she had learned to cherish and keep them in a separate folder in a camera roll to look back on. The smile had not appeared on Octavia’s face yet, but a new goal had been acquired.
Get Octavia to smile.
“So, Vinyl Laverne Scratch,” Ooh, she used the middle name. “What have you been doing this past year? Hmm? Because I have been constantly looking for you. Every weekend I come home from the Royal Orchestra, exhausted, and all I want to do is sleep, eat, and sleep some more. But no, I look for you, asking friends of yours, going to those unnecessarily loud clubs and almost getting groped by dozens of random men.”
Octavia paused to take a breath as Vinyl looked at the inferred spot of groping.
“All I hear is that you had gone somewhere. Disappeared. Eventually I asked your parents and you can expect how well that went, though they were kind enough to tell me what had generally happened to you. Eventually, I just gave up, I'd looked for you for so long. If you hadn't wanted to be found it was pretty obvious that had succeeded. But I do one last trip around the city, just wandering around. And there I am, a few hours later staring at my intoxicated best friend as she mumbles about ponies!”
A small whisper came out, “I'm sorry.”
It seemed a smile was too big of a task, forgiveness was up first. A smile was on the backburner. Wait-”Timeout, did you say best friend? As in present tense? Not past in any way?”
“I do recall that, yes.”
Vinyl’s eyes widened, “Really? What about all the stuff I said and just leaving you and all that?”
A small, but kinda cute, huff was the response. “I'm not mad. Irritated, yes, but not mad. But I suppose if you think it was that big of a deal…” Octavia glanced around the room in thought. “Well, I have been feeling lonely, so let's say you stay here with me and...oh, I don't know, help out with the decorations for now. And the specifics we can do later.”
I get to stay here?! Score! Maybe I can share a bed with her. Or, even better, the shower! Oh, don’t get ahead of yourself Vinyl, bide your time. Strike when it is best. Vinyl rubbed Octy’s thigh, edging a little closer to the waist section each time. She contemplated whether or not to tickle Octavia's sides, but decided against it. “Okay, fine, let me eat this amazing breakfast.” I assume it’s breakfast, I don’t even know the time. Jeez, I need to get up to date. “So...wanna feed it to me?”
It had been three days since Octavia had brought Vinyl to her apartment and only one since she had actually been up and moving around after recovering. She wasn’t fully better yet as the long time of practically inhaling the alcohol hadn’t helped at all, but with that over with Vinyl had decided on quitting it and moving on to a better type of beer. Root Beer that is.
Vinyl hadn’t been outside of the apartment since she’d gotten there, stuck on the couch or guestroom bed most of the time. She had begged Octavia to let her go with her to shop for decorations and a new tree, actually getting on her knees on one point. She skipped along happily in her new jacket, shirt and short shorts. They belonged to Octavia, but to her they were basically new. They fit quite nicely since both her and Octy were the same body type. She took just a hint of pride in the fact that she had slightly larger breasts than Octavia. She’d checked, it was true.
The duo was currently at the mall looking for the decorations Octavia wanted for Christmas. They would pick up the tree shortly after they had finished their shopping. Vinyl walked a little bit behind Octavia, admiring the fit jeans and crop top she had on. Vinyl had already snuck away with and bought something for once they got home. A present of sort for Octy.
Vinyl rushed over to one of the shelves in the aisle at whatever random store they were at and picked a few somethings off it. She turned to Octavia, “Hey, Tavi, do you think we could wear these on Christmas Day?”
One of the somethings was snatched away with a cute, embarrassed squeak from Octavia. “We are not going to wear these abominations.”
Vinyl grabbed the rest of the clothing and turned around, facing Octavia. “Well then, what am I gonna do with all of these?!”
A squeal was all she received, and the armful of clothing she had was ripped away and thrown away.
Next was the tree. Vinyl had wanted to cut down a tree for the apartment, but Tavi had said that the needles would create quite the mess. Vinyl had the suspicion that she was just too lazy to clean it up.
Both of them were currently in another of the stores of the mall, well it wasn’t really a store. It was located in a small section of a small section of the parking lot that was for the real trees. The store, or whatever it was, was run by a short and stout individual, laughably named Mr. Big.
The plastic trees, at least the ones that they had, varied in their impressiveness. Which went from an almost identical ‘Charlie Brown tree’ to a grand tree that was a picture perfect Christmas tree. Sure, it wasn’t even as tall as Vinyl, who stood a good five feet and nine inches, but it worked. Octavia was just about the same height, they used to argue on who was taller.
Vinyl poked the tree, “You sure about this Octy? I mean this things a little too perfect. You feel me?” Octavia raised an eyebrow. “Sure, you definitely need a new tree. Like, you’ve had that other one for years. It’s just a stick with some pine needles duct taped to it. The real trees look nice, they’ll give a natural scent to your apartment, and the only con to them are the needles.”
Tavi sighed, “You dimwit. First of all, it saves money. Which, since I’m currently housing two people, is not very abundant at the moment. Secondly, it saves time. I just don’t have the time to clean up all the needles and dispose of the tree. And, no, you can’t do it. You’re lucky that I even let you come along. Lastly, it is easier to transport. This is the city, and getting a large tree on top of my convertible will not work. Having a collapsible one is infinitely easier. So...” She paused, seemingly for dramatic affect.
“Why don’t we do that next year?”
Vinyl’s mouth slightly edged open. She quickly recovered and smiled, “Sure.”
Vinyl flopped back onto the couch as Octavia placed the last of the supplies onto the counter in the kitchen. She shifted a little and reached to her back pocket, hoping that it look like she was just scratching an itch, and checked if her prized ticket to the land of awesome-sauce was still there. After her fingers brushed against the leafy object, she let go a small breath.
Octavia’s voice resonated from the kitchen as she asked Vinyl to get to kitchen to help with whatever dinner was going to be. It turned out it was some nice bacon-wrapped chicken and rice. Quite the extravagant dinner compared to what she’d had during her slump.
The Christmas tree was easy to set up, as Octavia had predicted. It sat between the window and the TV, where the light provided a nice setting. Perfect for Vinyl’s plan. She quickly grabbed her ticket to greatness and poked Octavia gently after she finished putting the star on top.
“What is it Vinyl?”
Vinyl cleared her throat and held up the leaves.
“Oh. Oh, no.”
Vinyl smiled. “Yup.” She leaned in.