Beat of the Heart

by Dr.Shisno

Chapter 4

        The two ponies made their way through the streets and the nightlife. It wasn’t the busiest night in Manehattan, but the sidewalks were still full of ponies making their way to one place or another. The streets were filled with carts carrying this or that, making their way to their destination. The ads floating above added to the ambience of the night. The musician and the delivery pony walked side by side, not quite hoof in hoof. One held a smile of what was going to happen, the other a smile of optimism though having no clue as to what might happen tonight. The pair came upon a club a few blocks away from the Hornless Alicorn, another popular site called The Griffin’s Beak. It housed one of the biggest, loudest speaker systems in Manehattan. The pair could hear the place even before the line was in view. Then they could see the line even before the club was in view, especially with it being half a block long.
        “Flare?” Octavia’s optimism diminished upon sight of the line. “I don’t think we are going to be able to get in. At least, not any time tonight.”
        The delivery pony’s smile grew, accepting the challenge. “Oh, believe me, we’re getting in. No matter what favors I have to call in tonight.” Flare defiantly marched to the front of the line, nearly dragging the Octavia with him. A small look of relief washed over him when he recognized who was bouncing tonight.
“Sticks!” The pegasus addressed the brown earth stallion at the head of the line. “Your brother didn’t tell me you were working here.”
        Sticks chuckled a bit, nodding his head. “My brother doesn’t tell you a lot of things.” His eyes drifted Octavia. “Apparently, my brother doesn’t tell me certain things either. Who’s the mare?”
        “Tavi,” the musician spoke up. “And Flare wanted to show me some of the local clubs, especially those that are, how do I say it… hopping?”
        “Yeah, anyways!” Flare said, regaining control of the conversation. “Look, I’ve got a bottle of Cherry for you and a crate of it for your boss, Mr. Shades. I just need to get in.”
            “How did you manage to pull that off?”  Sticks sounded both surprised and impressed. “Last I heard, that stuff was sold out. How’d managed to get even a bottle of it?”
            “Sometimes I even surprise myself. Now, can we pass? By the sounds of it, the next DJ is about to get up and if I read your schedule correctly, I believe one white unicorn might be making an appearance.”
            “You just may be too smart for your own good sometimes, Flare.” The stallion moved out of the way for the pair to enter the club. “Just try not to have too much fun, alright? And I expect that bottle at my place tomorrow!”
            “Oh, I won’t party too hard tonight. Thanks, Sticks!” Flare patted Stick’s shoulder and walked into the club with Octavia following shortly behind him. “Tavi, eh?” he spoke with a smile when the door closed behind him. “Where did that one come from?”
            “Something my father liked to call me. He thought the name Octavia was too pompous for some situations. So I like to use it when I am out on the town. Helps me to not sound so uptight. You like it, do you?”
            “You kidding?” Flare shouted, raising his voice to compensate for the increase of music now flooding their ears. “When can I start calling you by that?”
            “Anytime you want,” the mare responded, raising her voice as well to be heard. “I would much prefer it if you did call me that here. So what’s the story with that white unicorn?”
            Flare’s smile widened as the pair entered the main part of the club, lights flickering to the beat, colored spotlights moving in every direction possible, and ponies of every kind moving to the beat. “Oh, you know.” Motioning to the raised stage where a parade of lights surround the white, blue maned unicorn at the helm of the turntable. “Just an old friend.”
            “You know her personally?” Her question came off as more of a surprise than anything as the two made their way through the crowd. “How, might I ask, do you know her?”
                “Long story short,” the pegasus started, nearly yelling into Octavia’s ear. “I helped her get on that stage. Not in the sense of I started her career, but just that stage. To answer your question, I’ve known her for quite some time. Sort of a give and take relationship: she gets me clients from whom I get my drinks from; I get her easy venues to play at. Simple, no?”
            “Yes, almost too simple.” The musician merely commented. The pair was beginning to sweat now, in the middle of the caucus of ponies on the floor. “And now what?”
            “Now? Let the music take over!” The pegasus began to move to beat, moving with the crowd that was now all around them. “Let the moves flow. Don’t think, just dance.”
            “But what about form or function? What about positions? How do you know what you are supposed to do?” Octavia began to question. “This doesn’t seem like dancing, it feels like a controlled mob.”
            “That’s exactly what it is!” Flare remarked, moving around the confused mare. “The music is all that keeps us in line! It’s magical!”
            “But this isn’t…” The mare’s tone turned into a slight complaining tone.
            “Tavi.” The pegasus paused in front of Octavia, placing a gentle hoof on her shoulder. “Don’t think, just let the music take over.”
            Octavia mumbled something to herself, but her comment was lost in the influx of sounds filling the air. Like watching a moving photograph, Flare watched in awe as Octavia moved almost in slow motion in the flashing lights. Her moves were not as graceful at first which brought a smile to the pegasus’ face. Her growing frustration on hitting the upbeat or being a second off the beat only made him laugh. After a bit, though, the movement became more natural, less of trying to be with the music, but moving with the flow of sound. A side step here, a flip of the hair, and then it grew into a trance. Slowly, the two of them became closer in placement and in-sync with each other’s movements.
                The night moved on like this for a few hours, with beats both slower and faster appearing. Drops and sudden stops abounded from the turntable. Lights jumped over the crowd as the bass beats pounded away. The upper harmonics slid up and down the ranges, sometimes more hesitant than before. Yet with every beat, every drop, every harmonic screaming through the air, the two inched closer. Not intentionally in the forefronts their minds, but by some subconscious force. Before either knew it, their muzzles were mere fractions of an inch away. The bass escalating as fast as their hearts were beating, their breath as swift as the harmonics were flying, and by the time of the drop, their lips were locked. That position was held for sometime as the drop slowed the music significantly. The pair broke the embrace with a smile.
            “Hey, Flare.” Octavia whispered the best she could in the music-filled environment. “My flat isn’t too far away from here, there’s something I’d like to try since you showed me your type of dancing.”
            “Whatever you say, Tavi,” the pegasus responded. “I’m up for whatever you have in store for me.”
            “Good.” Her smile shined through, but her look turned thoughtful for a moment. “Though you may need a drink.”
            This caused Flare chuckle. “First time I’ve ever heard a mare tell me that I need a drink.”
            “Well, tonight is a night of firsts, so I thought you might need one.”

* * *


The pair stumbled into the flat, laughing to themselves. Their sweat-covered bodies were supporting each other as the musician flipped on the lights, revealing a very modern, but modest, living space. A small kitchen was off to the side and was connected to the main area. Part of the space in the main area was clearly dedicated to music production and practice. It was cluttered with music sheets, many marked with notes for minor refinements. A few cellos of different origins occupied each corner, while a door on the opposite side of the kitchen clearly housed the bedroom. Works of art from different parts of Equestria graced the walls, though Van Goat seemed to predominate the setting.
“So,” Flare spoke in between laughs, “so, that’s when I told Boulder that the mare he was trying to go home with was actually a stallion!” The two laughed, but a stumble in their step sent them both to the floor in a heap. A momentary pause in their laughs ensued and both took a quick look at each other to assess the damages, but in the end their laughter doubled. “By the way, nice place you got here, Tavi,” the pegasus spoke while fighting off laughter. “Strange what a life in the entertainment industry can get you, eh?”
The laughter was contagious as Octavia pulled herself off the floor. “Money can’t buy everything, but it certainly does help with a lot.” She helped Flare onto his feet as well. “Well, now that you’re here, how about we dance my way?”
“Me?” Flare looked both surprised and mortified at the same time. “As in slow dancing? The kind of fancy dancing that I have never done in my life? Except for one time in secondary school.” He shuddered at that memory.
“Oh, it’s not that difficult.” The mare giggled as she walked into the main area and to the record player next to her cellos. After searching for a few moments, she found the record she was looking for and set it on the player. “Once you get the hang of it, at least.” A slow melodic piano began to fill the room, followed shortly by chimes playing counter-melody with the piano. A compliment of strings filled the background with a gentle rhythm.
“A waltz?” Flare questioned as he approached her from behind. “You want me to dance to a waltz? In our state?” He simply laughed. “Oh this is going to be good. Ok, so what do you want me to do?”
“If you would be so kind as to put a hoof here.” She gestured to one spot on her shoulder as she mimicked a placement of her hoof on his opposite shoulder, wrapping it lightly around his neck. “And remember, this isn’t secondary school.” She began to tease, “We don’t have to worry about teachers telling us to leave room for Celestia between us.”
“Naturally, of course,” the pegasus spoke with a bit of gusto. “Though I don’t know how well this will go.”
Octavia laughed. “Would you prefer if I lead? Because I would be more than willing to do so.”
“You think I’m going to let you lead? Oh no, if I’m going to crash and burn, I want to be leading the parade, just give me some simple instructions.”
Slowly the pair moved side to side, just moving in one place to the beat. “Depends on the type of waltz. Would you like a simple two or four step, maybe something a bit difficult like a hesitation waltz?”
A sly smile appeared on Flare’s face as the pair took a step to the side, then back. “Oh believe me, it will get a bit more interesting once I get the hang of it.”
“Just don’t take it too far, alright?” The mare rested her head on his shoulder. “I don’t feel like ending up on my flank once more tonight.”
“And I agree 100%, Tavi.” Adding a bit of swing to the movements. The pair stumbled a bit, but managed to laugh it off. “Though I get the feeling that it might just happen anyways.”
“I told you only one drink, but apparently being on great terms with the bartender sure does have its perks.”
“Hey, now,” the pegasus interjected, adding a slow spin in their step. “I wasn’t the only one enjoying the drink selection.”
She giggled and playfully hit him. “I thought it would only be polite if I shared in the festivities.”
“Through jumping on the bar and dancing?” A stumble in their step to the right. “Quite un-lady like, don’t you think? I’m happy Mr. Shades will let me back in the building.”
Again she hit him, though nearly missed. “I thought you said you weren’t going to bring that up anymore!”
“Who said that? I’m pretty sure I didn’t.” The music started to slow down, nearing its end. A small crescendo accented by the piano playing up the keys ended the song all together. “Well, I guess that’s that.” The pair stopped in the middle of the room, but didn’t break the connection that the two held. “So, what do you say, one more?”
“It wouldn’t hurt, right?”

* * *


The sun breaking through the window awakened the sleepy pegasus. Cracking his eyes open, he took in the scenery. An eloquently decorated room, accented with dark hardwood furniture. He sighed, vaguely remembering where he was. Rubbing his hoof into face seemed to be routine action by now. The pegasus mumbled some sort of vague statement about not drinking that much again when he became aware of a soft, warm body against his side and two purple eyes staring straight at him.
“Good morning, Flare.” The musician greeted him softy, a smile appearing on her face. “I do hope you slept well.”
            The pegasus returned her soft smile with his own, but ended up laughing. “We really need to stop meeting like this.”
She giggled, rubbing circles with a hoof into his chest. “You make that sound like a bad thing.” She tapped her hoof softly before rolling off the bed. “Suits is making us tea right now.” A confused look played across Flare’s face. “My butler. Suits, is my butler.”
“Oh, sorry, gotcha. I fully understand now.” He rolled out of bed himself, stretching a bit after he landed. “Charming fellow, glad he’s here.” Looking back at the bed, sheets and pillows were thrown this way or that. The pegasus laughed. “I really hope he doesn’t mind the mess.”