The green hum all around parts ways, shredded by crimson scimitars swimming sharply across the central Sacramentoats park that lingers in the shadow of a tall hotel building. I look up from the bench where I sit, ears twitching.
I follow the red bands over the heads of families and tourists trotting about with their foals. I see a golden retriever pitter-pattering across the lawn, chasing a ball thrown by his owner. The canine retrieves the item, rushes back, and relishes in a hoof-pat on the head. Its next few barks are red as ever, but this time laced with an orange aura. It's almost even fuzzy.
I can't stop the magenta sigh coming out of my muzzle.
"Of course, I would have gotten here sooner if the taxi cabs weren't so crummy in this town," Beau grumbles as he settles down in the bench to my left. "I swear, the flankholes running these streets see a stallion with stripes and immediately think he's gonna rob them of their cab fare. Heh. Call me when we have a gig in Neigh Orleans. That crud never happens there."
I stare across the park. The canine and its owner shuffle off. The orange has completely faded, and the green clouds recede, filling up everything between errant chirps of gold mirth with a dull malaise. Sacramentoats is a great deal quieter than I imagined.
I guess it's a good thing we're here. The purveyors of bass.
A smile crosses my muzzle for the first time since I got off the train.
"I do hope I didn't make you wait too long, V," Beau mutters. His voice is a dying auburn when he's not in character. We've stayed in adjacent hotel rooms before, and his snores through the wall are laced with haunting amber cobwebs. "We've got a busy three days ahead of us, huh?"
I nod. I shrug. I exist.
"You wanna bet these cats are pumped?" He grins a crescent moon at me. "Word of your last show in Baltimare has spread far and wide. If DJ-P0N3's latest tracks are anywhere nearly as hot as what you cooked up for them, then we'll have Sacramentoats staining their saddles by Night Two!"
I look at him with a smile. I can tell by his expression that it's a rather weak one.
"Hey, V, ya mind if I ask somethin' a tad bit personal?"
I neither shake my head or nod. I know he'll just throw his thoughts into the echoing pot anyways.
"Is... everythang okay at home? I mean, I know ya don't want me speakin' the name of your village out loud. Super secret mare extraordinaire and all." He smirks, but then squints with a sympathetic gaze. "But I can't help but notice that you've got... this bluesy look all around you. I know... heh..." He smirks slyly. "Me preachin' to you about colors is dayum outrageous, huh? But Celestia help me; I get concerned about you, girl. Is everythang cool? For realsies?"
I let loose another sigh and give him a warm smile.
Perhaps a little too warm.
"Oh. Ohhhhh... I get it." He nods, leaning back. "Things are a bit toooo cool back at the pad." He winked. "S'all good, baby. Just be sure you're usin' protection."
The crimson cloud between us from the resulting swat to the shoulder only makes him laugh. For the first time in days, I'm once again christened by Roadie Beau's golden laughter.
"Heheheheh! I mean—I get it, V! Ain't nothin' that sucks harder than bein' away from the ones you care about. Road trips like this?" He shook his head. "Tch... can get to be a real bummer. I know that. Like, right now as we speak, it's been about five whole days since I last even set eyes on my prized sports wagons!"
I roll my eyes. The sun catches my shades at a direct angle, and my vision goes all purple for a second. It's both startling and comforting all at once. I almost don't make out Beau's next few words:
"For real, though, you oughta lighten up. Ain't like you're gone from Ponyv—... errrr... from your home town for two years or somethin', girl!"
I snicker breathily. I'm always pleasantly amused by Beau's emphatic desire to protect my feelings. If he's wanting to keep me in good spirits, he's doing a very good job of it.
But I doubt that it'll last long.
Something tells me he doubts it too, which is how I can predict the next movement in his speech before he rolls into it: "Y'know, there're a bunch of really hype artists in town during the last night of our tour. Simon Neighs. DJ Capricorn. Harmonicide. Ever heard of them? 'Course you have. All cool cats. Anyways, I've already bumped into a few of them, and they say that they're gonna be chillin' at the Fault Line Bar well past midnight. I know it might be scrapin' things close, but I think you should join me in sharin' a few drinks with them. Ya dun even have to dip into the cider, V. I'll order a whole mother-flippin' carton of Dr. Pony just for you. Now whaddya think of that?"
He winks at me, and I find it hard to resist.
I smile kindly, twirling a hoof in the air.
"Yeah. You think about it." He slouches back in the bench, basking in the soft sunlight. "Hell, mull it over while record spinnin'. You do your best thinking when you're in the middle of so much sound, don't you?"
I gaze off down the green hazy heights of this town.
He's right. Really, that can't be denied.
I have the wonderful habit of surrounding myself exclusively with ponies whose integrity I can trust.
Perhaps that's why I have so very few acquaintances.
And only one whom I'm blessed to live with.