Cadence was strolling down the street near her house, on a walk. She was thinking of nopony in particular, just enjoying the pleasant day and the splendid view of the glittering palace in the distance.
It had been a year since Cadence had started foalsitting for the Sparkles, and she'd been running into Shining Armour more and more often. He almost always came home in the middle of her jobs, and she was almost willing to believe he meant to. But no, she told herself. That was too good to be true. Shining Armour proved to be kind, funny, and very sweet to his sister, which Cadence liked. She'd never really cared for boys who drove off their little siblings without so much as a backward glance, merely to look good. Cadence looked forward to seeing him again, next week, when she would be babysitting again. They always had nice, long talks when Twilight was asleep.
Without realizing it in her dreamy state, Cadence had walked farther than she had intended. She found herself by the park which she sometimes went to with Twilight. So she bought an ice-cream from a little vendor, and sat on a sunny park bench and watched the foals in the playground enjoy the warm day.
Lost in thought, Cadence was unaware of the passing time as she imagined ridiculous scenarios where Shining Armour gallantly saved her life and they lived happily ever after. Clouds covered up the warm blue sky, and Cadence was startled back to reality by a cold drop of rain landing abruptly on her head. She sat up straighter, wondering what time it was, and shook her head in confusion. The rain had started in earnest now, and she was getting thoroughly drenched.
"Princess!" said a familiar voice. "What in Equestria are you doing out here in the rain?" Shining Armour had Twilight in a pram, covered by a little shield of magic, and he himself was carrying an umbrella.
"Hi Shining Armour. It was sunny when I got here, but then I must have lost track of time, and before I knew it, it was raining. And, um, You can call me Cadence." She explained taking her place under the umbrella when he gestured. "What are you doing out here?"
"Well, Twi likes the rain. She falls asleep better if I take her for a walk in the rain, for some reason. But she doesn't like to get wet, so..." Shining Armour gestured at the little magic cover surrounding the filly's ride. He hesitantly put his hoof around her shoulder, looking at Cadence to judge her reaction. Cadence noticed that it was considerably warmer here, partly because Shining Armour's hoof was over her shoulder, but somehow the air seemed warmer, too. Cadence searched around with her mind to sense the spell, and was surprised that it was one of the first simple spells every unicorn and alicorn ever learned. She laughed lightly at the thought.
"And I suspect you don't like to be cold and wet either?"
"Nope. Getting sick isn't really my thing."
Cadence giggled and nestled closer to his warm body. "I should probably call Florence. You probably don't want to walk all the way to my house with me, and I don't have an umbrella." She began rummaging through her bag, looking for her calling mirror.
"No! No, please, I don't mind, really. It would give me something to do. Mother and Father don't expect Twi and me back 'til four."
"Alright. If you're sure it isn't any trouble..."
"Of course not. Shall we go?"
The two of them---or three, if you counted the sleeping Twilight, which Cadence didn't---walked slowly, enjoying the peacefully empty streets and talking quietly. When they finally came to Cadence's house, she was almost disappointed---okay, she was disappointed---to leave him.
"Well, it seems we've arrived at your house, Princess." Shining Armour swept a low bow, nearly tripping in his mock respect.
"Stop it, you. And, as I've said a million times before, you can stop calling me Princess, Shining Armour."
"Whatever you say, Princess." Cadence scowled, and he clapped a hoof over his mouth, pretending to be shocked. "By the way, you can call me Shiny. Twilight does."
"Okay, Shiny." Cadense made a point of using the nickname, giving him a light shove to boot.
"Well, g'bye, Princess"
"See you next week, Princess Cadence."
Cadence scowled at him again before going inside, and finally letting a blissful smile take control of her face. She drifted towards the stairs, oblivious to the world in her happy mood, when---
"Going somewhere, Cadey?"
"Oh! Hello, Mom. Sorry I came home a bit later. I was caught in the storm, and then I ran into Shining Armour, Twilight's older brother, and then he walked me ho---"
"Yes, well, we're going to dinner at the palace. Special dinner with Her Majesty. Go get ready, we're leaving in half an hour."
As usual, Princess Melody was lounging on the sofa, magazine floating above her face, the pages flipping randomly as she skimmed through. The golden-yellow mare was in no way getting ready, so Cadence had no doubts that they would be leaving late. But, because she had the feeling her mother wasn't listening, Cadence simply said, "Yes, Mom," and quietly retreated to her room.
Cadence was half dressed, wearing only a slip, and writing in her journal when Princess Melody decided it was time to leave. She was an hour late, of course, but palace events never started until at least nine, so Cadence wasn't worried. It was only seven-thirty. Still, she wriggled into her favourite dress, slipped on some formal shoes, and came downstairs for her mother's inspection.