• Published 13th Aug 2013
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Married to Her Job, Single in Her Heart - Revenant Wings

Nurse Redheart believes her job is all she needs in life. That is, until she meets a mare and an almost forgotten memory who show her there's more to life than work. +COMPLETED+

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Chapter 4 - Sugarcube Corner


The next day found Redheart sleeping in. The first time the alarm had rang she had eventually shut it off. The book, despite its forgotten position on the floor of her room, had wormed its way deep into her brain. It wasn’t until Twilight had pointed out that her eyes were watering that she had noticed its effects.

It wasn’t until after Twilight had left, after she had finished her soup and put the leftovers away, when Redheart slowly began to cry. First it was more sniffles that she continued telling herself were probably the beginnings of a cold. Next came more tears which she blamed on having allergies from the fan being on the whole time. It wasn’t until she was in the shower that evening when the sobs finally burst and Redheart could no longer deny she was crying.

It was the first time she had cried in nearly four years. Sure, she had been sad before like at the time when her mother wrote her a letter saying her father had died, but nothing had ever made her cry. All those years, she kept it all bottled up inside her. Yet there in the shower, with the cold water pounding her back and head like a massage, did the tears finally come and did not stop. Redheart forgot to even wash herself, simply letting the water rinse over her until most of the tears had subsided. With that, she had turned off the water, dried herself off, and crawled deep into her bed.

The pillow was still wet from the previous night. The sheets were still wrinkled and creased, and the blankets had been thrown aside; Redheart only lay underneath a thin white sheet, and that had one of her back hooves sticking out at the bottom of the bed. The alarm, flashing the time of nearly ten o’clock in the morning, was turned off.

Redheart finally woke at ten. She let her mane stay down, walking over to the kitchen as she began making a pot of coffee. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she noticed her face was still wet and tear-stained and her mane was straight and loose. Redheart went to the bathroom and grabbed a towel, muttering “Stupid book” to herself as she rinsed the towel and washed her face before returning to the kitchen with her hair in a bun like it normally was.

Redheart looked at the time. Ten fifteen. Half the morning was already gone, yet she still had the day ahead of her once again. The books on medicine that she had checked out no longer held any interest for her, and she didn’t want to read the little red book again. Redheart sighed as she finished her coffee and headed out the door.

The day was bright and sunny like it usually had been lately. Redheart wandered through town, eventually coming to Sugarcube Corner. She remembered Doctor Stable always bringing in a box of donuts for the staff and how she liked them. She went inside the cupcake-shaped store, hearing the little bell tinkling.

A plump blue mare with pink hair like cake frosting was at the counter. She smiled at Redheart as she came in. “Oh, good morning, dear!” the mare said, looking over to the nurse pony. “Can I get you anything?”

Redheart shook her head. “I’m just looking around, right now.”

“Ah. Well, I’ve got a fresh batch of glazed and a batch of chocolate donuts coming out if you wanted one. I’ll be right back and let you have a look around.” And she walked back through a door behind the counter into the kitchens.

Redheart looked over the treats in the cases. Cookies, cakes, and donuts filled the shelves, including other things like croissants and fresh-baked sweet-breads. It all looked so appetizing. Redheart looked up and noticed a menu and found even more things she liked on there.

The plump blue pony came out carrying two large trays of warm donuts, placing them in their spots in the case before sighing contentedly and walking up to the register. “Alright, dear. Have you decided what you wanted?”

Redheart shook her head. “They all sound and look so good… You know what? I’ll take the ‘Today’s Special’ with an orange juice.”

“Alright! I’ll have that coming right up for you.” The mare turned and went back into the kitchen as Redheart went and sat down on a nearby table. It wasn’t long before the smell of scrambled eggs, cheese, and roasted tomatoes. It wasn’t long before the mare came out with a small plate carrying a croissant filled with eggs scrambled with diced tomatoes and melted cheese, along with a glass of orange juice and four small donut holes. “Enjoy!”

“Thank you,” Redheart said, pulling out a few bits. The mare placed the bits in a pocket of her pink apron and headed off back behind the counter as Redheart apprehensively took a bite of the sandwich. It was greasier than her normal fare, but the taste was undeniably wonderful. She found herself taking bite after bite of the sandwich, relishing the taste of the eggs and tomato mixed with the buttery croissant.

It wasn’t long before the blue mare was back out from the kitchen and another customer walked in. Almost as soon as Redheart recognized him, the enjoyment she had been getting from the sandwich disappeared and her feelings flared up. It was worse when the stallion turned around and noticed her, a smile appearing on his face while a scowl appeared on her own.

“Redheart!” the stallion called cheerfully.

“Caramel…” Redheart almost growled.

The light-brown stallion ordered a croissant with butter and honey and a small coffee and took his food over to the table where Redheart was sitting. He sat himself down in the seat across from her and started eating his own food.

“So… I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around here before,” Caramel said.

“Doctor Stable comes around here to buy donuts for the hospital staff break room,” Redheart replied coldly. “I’ve been here once or twice.”

“Oh. What about work? Aren’t you usually on today?”

“I’m off today.”

“Alright. How’s your sandwich?”

“Fine.” Redheart tore into her sandwich.

Caramel sighed. “Look, why are you not being nice to me? I still don’t get it.”

Redheart set down the sandwich. “Was the whole reason you came in here just to speak with me or did you actually come in here to buy your food?”

“I buy a croissant at least once a week from Miss Cake,” Caramel said. “I just figured I’d help support the local business. And yes,” Caramel blushed, “I saw you in the window. You know, you need to smile more. You look cute when you’re happy.”

“I was happy,” Redheart said.

“You can’t be happy when I’m around?” Caramel said.

“You could start by not flirting with me,” Redheart spat.

“Come on,” Caramel said. “Can’t we make small talk at least?”

“Alright.” Redheart sighed. “So… where do you work now?”

“I’ve recently got a job at the local bookstore, under a pony called Written Script,” Caramel said, taking a bite of his croissant. “I work the midday shift sorting books and taking over at the registers when needed. I’m almost done at the community college, too.”

Redheart nodded.

“What about you? How’s work at the hospital?”

“Like usual. I do patient check-ups, schedule appointments, do some record keeping, and give medications. I enjoy doing it. Not for everyone though. I’m surprised the bookstore hired you. From what I remember, you couldn’t keep track of your school notes together.”

Redheart gave a rather cold chuckle as Caramel’s face turned bright red. “Hey! No personal attacks, please!”

“Fine.” Redheart continued on in monotone. “Congratulations on getting the job at the book store.”

The red slightly lessened from Caramel’s face. “I’ll take it,” he said. “So… I was wondering, since you were saying you had the day off, did you want to go on a walk this evening when I got off of work? I know a nice little hike through the woods outside of town.”

Redheart cocked an eyebrow suspiciously. “Anypony else you’d have planning on going?”

“No,” Caramel replied. “Was there anypony you wanted to go with?”

“No,” Redheart said. “I would stop there, but that wasn’t the point. There are, however, ponies I wouldn’t want to go.”

Caramel’s face turned irritated for the first time during the conversation. “Okay, I see where this is going. I’ve broken up with Cloudkicker, had a falling out with Amethyst Star, and Derpy Hooves ran off with Time Turner. Happy?”

“Very. But not enough to go.”

Caramel slammed his head into the table as Redheart chewed on a donut hole. “You are so cold sometimes, you know that? You weren’t like that before.”

“Time does that to some ponies,” Redheart said indifferently, picking up another donut hole and popping it into her mouth.

“Time and a grudge,” Caramel said. He picked himself up and took a sip of his coffee, picking it up with a hoof as he went off. “Well, the offer is still open. I get off from the bookstore at four if you want to go.” And he left, waving to Redheart with a smile. When she didn’t return it, he nodded and left the store.

The blue mare – Redheart assumed this must be Mrs. Cake – came out and watched Caramel leave the store. She turned to Redheart. “How come you didn’t take his offer?”

Redheart sighed. “If only you knew…” she said plaintively as she deposited two bits into a tip jar.

Mrs. Cake didn’t inquire any further.

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