• Published 22nd Aug 2013
  • 5,648 Views, 97 Comments

Dating is Hard - GentlemanJ



A short story in the Journey of Graves. Join our favorite grey eyed soldier as he navigates the new and treacherous minefield known as dating.

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The Last Lunch

The Last Lunch

“So, where exactly are we headed?”

“Rarity’s!”

“Why?”

“Lunch!”

“Ah. I see.”

It wasn’t often you saw a fully grown man being dragged through the autumn streets of Ponyville by an overexcited child. It’s even less often that you see one of Equestria’s illustrious marshals being the one dragged along. But the sight, though still quite uncommon, was growing increasingly less so thanks to good, old Sweetie Belle. Now that her older sister and the soldier were officially an item, her little sister privileges had been formally extended to include the grey-eyed soldier. This meant many more impromptu visits and arm yankings as the girl with the cotton candy curls pulled Graves along according to her giggling whims.

So hurrying along as best he could, the marshal made sure to keep his head down and feet moving as he kept pace with the little girl tugging on his coat sleeves. Oh sure, the townsfolk were nice enough not to overtly embarrass him about such scenes, but a man can only endure so many hidden smiles and discreet chuckles before heated cheeks become an issue. That's why it was with a slight, but very relieved sigh that the marshal found himself in front of Carousel Boutique and out of the common eyesight.

“Oy! Rarity!” Sweetie Belle called out at the top of her squeaky lungs as she pounded on the door, “I’m here, and I brought Graves!”

Much more quickly than expected, the whitewashed door flew open and there she stood, Ponyville’s resident beauty and dressmaker, pristine apron on her waist and an oddly intent look in her eye.

“Graves,” she breathed with a happy, if surprised look. “You’re here already?”

“Yup!” her little sister piped up. “I was over with Scootaloo at the pond, so I thought I’d bring him over on the way!”

“Thank you Sweetie Belle, that was very thoughtful of you,” the violet-haired woman absentmindedly smiled as she patted her sister atop her fluffy head. “I just wished you’d told me first so I could have given Graves a little warning.”

“Warning?” the marshal intoned, eyebrow arched as a faint chill ran down his spine. “Why exactly would I need warning for lunch?”

“Oh, it’s nothing big,” Rarity chuckled, the usually melodious sound now sounding slightly strained. “It’s just that… well… we may be having some unexpected company today.”

“Company?” Graves repeated, the chill growing into a full blown, spine-rattling frost. “What company?”

“Rarity, is that him?”

The strong Midwestern accent from inside the house was soon followed by the sound of pounding feet, which in turn was quickly followed by the appearance of two new faces at the door.

“So, you’re the Graves we’ve been hearing so much about,” a man with a fabulous moustache grinned as he seized up the marshal’s hand in a firm handshake. “Good to finally meet you. Rarity and Sweetie Belle have been telling us all about you.”

“Er… they have?”

“Oh my word, yes,” the lady laughed as she gave him a hearty slap to the shoulder. “But we can talk about all that over lunch. You’re in for a real treat, you know. My little Rarity’s gone all out and made her world famous soufflé; isn’t that just lovely?”

Grey eyes grew to the size of silver dollars as neurons fired and put two and two together.

“My little Rarity?” he repeated, throwing a very startled look towards the woman in question. All she could do was smile sheepishly in response.

“Graves? Dear? These are... my… parents.”

*****

The marshal was not a very expressive person. In fact, rumor had it that seeing more than two emotions a day from him would mean a week’s worth of good luck, so unexpressive was he. But that was just on a normal day. On special days like today, Graves could give totem poles lessons on stiffness and teach stoicism to Moai head carvings. Yes, today was special because it was on this day that Graves had to face the most terrifying ordeal in all of creation:

Meeting the parents.

And it actually went quite well. Sort of. During lunch, Graves really didn’t do much since between Sweetie Belle and her mother chattering away like magpies, nobody else could get in a word edgewise. In fact, it wasn’t till Rarity had brought out the bread pudding for dessert that the interrogation officially began and even then, it was mostly predictable, obligatory inquiries: how long have you known each other, when did you meet, what hobbies and interests you share, so on and so forth. Overall, it was a fairly low-key and – thanks to Sweetie Belle – almost enjoyable event.

“And the besht par ish,” the girl in curls continued around a mouthful of pastry, “tha Diamon Tiara doeshn’t have a big broffer, sho I finally have shomethin she doeshn’t. Ish grea!”

“Please swallow before speaking, dear sister,” Rarity smiled.

“Well it sounds like you’ve really taken to him, haven’t you?” their mother grinned.

“Oh yeah, Graves is the best!” Sweetie Belle beamed, now speaking clearly for having taken her sibling’s advice. “In fact, I think Graves is just about the bestest thing Rarity’s ever done!”

Her father sputtered into his sweet tea, mustache bristling in wide-eyed alarm.

“I think what she means,” Rarity added with notable hurry, “is that Graves is the finest gentleman I have ever met, one who would never do anything even remotely inappropriate. Isn’t that right?”

“Yes. Definitely. Absolutely,” Graves nodded, a great deal more vigorously than he’d ever nodded before in his entire life.

“Well that’s good to hear,” the visored lady smiled. “Don’t want you kids to move too fast, you know? I don’t intend for folks to call me granny for a good while yet, don’t you know.”

Two pairs of cheeks flushed apple red as one little pair of emerald green eyes watched in oblivious delight.

“Anywho, I think that about wraps it up for lunch now,” the girls’ father announced as he leaned over to ruffle his younger daughter’s hair. “Sweetie Belle, why don’t you help your ma and sis clear up the dishes so we can play a game?”

With amazing alacrity, the little girl jumped up and began gathering up dishes like they were limited edition trading cards, all the while hurrying her mother and sister to help out as well. Rarity, unable to withstand the hurricane that was her little sister, could only throw Graves one last, pitying glance before she was bundled off into the kitchen.

That meant that Graves was left alone. Alone with Rarity’s father.

“So,” he began, stroking his moustache in consideration. “You are… dating my daughter.”

“That is correct. Sir,” Graves hastily amended. This brought a smile to the older man’s face.

“Please, call me Magnum. After all, I’d like to start thinking of you as family. No need for too much formality, now is there?”

“If you say so, si- ah, Magnum.”

The two lapsed back into silence, the older man scrutinizing the younger while the younger did his best to look as non-threatening as possible. No mean feat, considering he’d spent a good chunk of his life doing the exact opposite, but hey, desperate times right?

“Graves,” Magnum grunted as he settled back in his seat, “I see you as a straight forward sort of man, so I’ll be straight with you. What exactly are your intentions with my daughter?”

“I… what?”

“Intentions boy, intentions!” he repeated with some hearty knee-slapping for point. “Where do you see yourself going in the next year? Next ten? You have any thoughts of starting a family?”

“Magnum, I –”

“Don’t you be getting all cozy with me boy,” the man barked, mustache bristling in indignation. “I’m asking what you plan on doing with my daughter!”

“Sir, I don’t really have any plans,” Graves answered, thoroughly bewildered by the conversation’s unexpected turn.

“Oh, so you just intend to string my baby girl along for fun, is that it?”

“What? No!” the marshal retorted as grey eyes grew wide in alarm, “I mean I don’t have any plans because I have no idea what’s going on! It’s not like I’ve ever done this before!”

Magnum paused, not exactly placated, but eyes narrowing in suspicion.

“What do you mean, ‘never done this before?’”

“I mean, I’ve never done… this,” Graves replied, trying to clarify his flustered statement with nonsensical hand waving. “I’ve never done this… you know… ‘relationship’… thing, before. I’m still trying to figure it out as I go.”

Slowly, Magnum settled back in his seat, still suspicious of the raven-haired youth, but now at least stroking his mustache in less hostile contemplation.

“You really have no idea what you’re doing, do you boy?”

“Not really, no.”

“I guess I can live with that,” the older man nodded grudgingly. “Then tell me this at least, and mind you answer proper now. What exactly is my Rarity to you?”

“Rarity?” Graves repeated, hesitating at the question. “I… don’t know what else to say except that she’s important to me.”

“Important, eh?” Magnum snorted. “How important?”

“Really important.”

“Is that it?”

“… Really, really important?”

“... Graves, I’ll be honest with you,” Magnum sighed. “I’m finding it hard to trust a man who can only say that my daughter’s ‘really, really important’ to him. I mean, I’d expected that a soldier like yourself would have said something at least as hokey as ‘I’d give my life for her’ or what not.”

“I’m definitely not good with words,” the marshal admitted, “but I do know I’d never say something as stupid as that.”

“Oh?” Magnum remarked, now leaning in slightly as his interest piqued. “And why not?”

“Well…” Graves paused, then shrugged. “Dying’s easy. Really easy. I mean, just about everyone ends up doing it, minus the occasional princess or two.”

“You've got me there, I'll give you that,” the father chuckled.

“Problem is, what then?” the young man continued. “Sure, dead is dead, but what about everyone else? They've got to live on knowing you’re gone. It’s not exactly pleasant, so I’d rather Rarity not go through that on my account.”

“That so,” Magnum mused. “Then tell me, what would you do for her instead?”

The marshal paused, once more looking bewildered like a dog playing fetch with two balls at once.

“I’d… live for her, I guess,” Graves said, words and thought forming almost in tandem. “I do my job right, then I can come back and make her happy. Probably won’t get it right every time, but as long as I’m breathing, there’s another chance, right?”

Magnum slowly nodded.

“I suppose there is.”

Once more, the two lapsed into silence, though the older man was slightly less intense and the younger slightly less nervous than before. Slightly. Finally, Magnum heaved a long, weary sigh.

“Near twenty years now,” he said, his voice sounding tired and sad. “Twenty years of being the only man in her life, the one she turned to when she needed a hug or a shoulder to cry on. Twenty years, and it’s all coming to an end.”

“Sir–”

“No boy, let me finish this,” he sniffled, now looking to be on the verge of tears. “I knew this day would come, obviously. I was just hoping it’d be a little later than now. But… I guess I can rest a little easier now, knowing I’m passing the job on to a man like you.”

“… Sir?”

“You’ll take care of her, won’t you?” Magnum said, laying a heavy hand on the marshal’s shoulder as he peered earnestly into his silver eyes. “You’ll take care of my little Rarity?”

“Yes sir,” Graves nodded. They were the first words he’d said yet where not a speck of hesitation could be found.

“Good,” the older man heaved in relief. “Because I’ll say this now. If you ever hurt my baby girl, if you ever break her heart like in those hokey chicky books she reads, then so help me boy, I will end you. I will see to it that every waking moment of your pathetic, miserable existence is like a COPS marathon featuring the best of police brutality. I will personally bake you a cake made of pain, frost it with suffering, and serve it to you on a plate of despair and garnished with savory agony! SO HELP ME BOY, YOU HARM ONE HAIR ON MY BABY GIRL’S PRETTY LITTLE HEAD AND I WILL SKIN YOU ALIVE AND EAT YOUR SOUL WITH A SIDE OF FRESH POTATO SALAD! ARE! WE! CLEAR?!”

“… Sir, yes sir…”

Magnum beamed.

“Great! Now, how do you feel about Monopoly?”

*****

For the rest of the day, things went swimmingly as Graves joined Rarity and her family for a rousing afternoon of board games. But every now and then, the violet-haired beauty would glance over at the marshal and touch his hand with a considering look. He was fine of course, just a bit rattled. After all, a man like him had faced death before, so frequent and so closely that the two were practically on a first name basis.

He’d just never expected to see death in a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat.

**********

To Be Continued

The Journey of Graves will continue in the next story: Nightmare Night 2: Halloweening Harder

Comments ( 55 )

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA GRAVES IS SCARED OF HER FATHER!!!

Then again, that's a scary thing to go through!!

He’d just never expected to see death in a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat.

...

That... That is an amazing line. I really don't know what else to say...

“Oh yeah, Graves is the best!” Sweetie Belle beamed, now speaking clearly for having taken her sibling’s advice. “In fact, I think Graves is just about the bestest thing Rarity’s ever done!”

Yeah, I got odd looks when I burst out laughing at that line.

Confound your talent, I've had a Pinkie-sized smile on my face from the first chapter to the last.:pinkiehappy:
…Crap, I think it's stuck. :pinkiehappy:
WHAT AM I GONNA DO!?:pinkiehappy:

3089900
Manly things. Go punch a bear. Go on. I'll wait. :rainbowlaugh:

First, threaten to consume a man's soul. Second, offer to play Monopoly with him. Absolutely legit. :raritywink:

I will personally bake you a cake made of pain, frost it with suffering, and serve it to you fresh on a plate of despair and garnished with agony! SO HELP ME BOY, YOU HARM ONE HAIR ON MY BABY GIRL’S PRETTY LITTLE HEAD AND I WILL SKIN YOU ALIVE AND EAT YOUR SOUL WITH A SIDE OF FRESH POTATO SALAD!

I think that's the best "dad" speech I've ever heard.

3090001 I think I'll use that one day.

COPS marathon featuring the best of police brutality.

Spike TV

Good god. Now I'm scared of Rarity's father.

That was bar non the best father speech ever.

*dies laughing* :rainbowlaugh:

Oh man, there's a reason why meeting the parents is so gorramn terrifying! If there's one thing it'd be perfectly okay for Graves to be afraid of, it's Rarity's dad! :rainbowlaugh:

You are now reading this in Magnum's voice:

"Because I’ll say this now. If you ever hurt my baby girl, if you ever break her heart like in those hokey chicky books she reads, then so help me boy, I will end you. I will see to it that every waking moment of your pathetic, miserable existence is like a COPS marathon featuring the best of police brutality. I will personally bake you a cake made of pain, frost it with suffering, and serve it to you on a plate of despair and garnished with savory agony! SO HELP ME BOY, YOU HARM ONE HAIR ON MY BABY GIRL’S PRETTY LITTLE HEAD AND I WILL SKIN YOU ALIVE AND EAT YOUR SOUL WITH A SIDE OF FRESH POTATO SALAD! ARE! WE! CLEAR?!”

:trollestia:

Comment posted by nodamnbrakes deleted Aug 23rd, 2013

Death wearing goofy clothes...
Sounds liike my great grandpa.

He was a MEAN, LEAN KILLING MACHINE OF THE CAVES

And sherlock, he's wierd too

BWAHAHAHAHA! OH MY LORD! This whole thing is just FREAKING HILARIOUS! I can't stop laughing and smiling! Too good, TOO GOOD! Kep it coming sir, KEEP IT COMING!:pinkiehappy::rainbowlaugh:

Never thought id see Graves so scared...

I read Magnum's rant with a chuckle, thinking of everything Graves has gone through and imagining that nothing Magnum could do would compare.

Then I turn around and Graves is practically sweating bullets. Guess it's different when you're in front of your girlfriend's father. (I wouldn't know. I have as much relationship experience as Graves. Less by now.)

In fact, I think Graves is just about the bestest thing Rarity’s ever done!

Out of the mouths of babes... :rainbowlaugh:

Wow, Graves hasn't been this scared since Operation Elder..... Too soon?

I wonder if Graves is good at monopoly?:applejackunsure:

“Graves? Dear? These are... my… parents.”

What I imagine Graves' reaction to be...well, at least within his head:

3089941
Fluttershy and Theodore Roosevelt said no, due to the manly activities of your other readers.
So I did the next best thing: Punch a rhino.

So is this a crossover? And if so, a crossover of what?

3094033
No crossover. Ongoing series.

I saw the front page. :raritystarry:
I clicked the link.:pinkiehappy:
I Favored and liked.:heart:
Then I read it.:coolphoto:
Attempted to fave more then once.:moustache:
Failed.:fluttercry:

I am required by law to inform you that this series has reached the FDA level of 'Class 1' drug. It is highly addictive, bad for a normal workdays performance, and has major problems with causing withdrawal. I must recommend you fix one of these, and if so, please fix the withdrawal problem as this is just perfect. Once again, good job sir!

3094033

I recommend reading ALL of it. Its fantastic.

3095361 Shouldn't you be working on Ponyfall?

SO HELP ME BOY, YOU HARM ONE HAIR ON MY BABY GIRL’S PRETTY LITTLE HEAD AND I WILL SKIN YOU ALIVE AND EAT YOUR SOUL WITH A SIDE OF FRESH POTATO SALAD!

Huh. This line alone earns you a like.

3095189
I couldn't agree more

HA! The whole 'meeting the parents' conundrum.:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh: Classic!

“So, you’re the Graves we’ve been hearing so much about,” a man with a fabulous moustache grinned as he seized up the marshal’s hand in a firm handshake. “Good to finally meet you. Rarity and Sweetie Belle have been telling us all about you.”

A'ight, so it's Fancy Pants and Fleur, though that's not the accent I would have used to describe him, but I suppose that-

My little Rarity’s gone all out and made her world famous soufflé; isn’t that just lovely?”

... Oh... Dear... God... May TPTB have mercy on Grave's soul...

“In fact, I think Graves is just about the bestest thing Rarity’s ever done!”

... Inside their minds, right at that second...

24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxza59YeGH1rnaw0po1_400.gif

pristine apron on her waste

'waist' because the other interpretation is...weird... And i'm pretty sure this is right.
Maybe.
Possibly.
I'm guessing and trying to help so stop looking at me!! *Hides in corner*

Why did I read Raritys Dads statement to Graves in the Drill Instructors voice? :moustache:

Well done G, I once again applaud your obvious literary badassery and the chortles they bring forth.

3091969 Well then you ain't trying hard enough Nancy.

I thought I would have nothing to read about Graves anymore.
Lucky me that I didnt saw this sidestory until now! :twilightsheepish:

Great read. Again! But I have to say that I don't like the part where Magnum threatens Graves. It felt a little out of character.

3091969
Well. Your are right. It does feel like interogation by secrent agents. And you know, when you say something, anything, that isn't to his liking, you a bucked. And you'll probably never get out of there alive.

3089677

Either a former hoofball star, or a former military man as well. That's how Graves would be terrified of dating Rarity and actually getting her father's blessing.

.......personally I would wish Magnum is a retired military man, other than a hoofball player, but that's apparently what the cutie mark is...because it's more terrifying to me that Graves knows first-hand what a former soldier can still do (i.e. make Graves disappear, if Magnum found out that Graves broke Rarity's heart).

I will personally bake you a cake made of pain, frost it with suffering, and serve it to you on a plate of despair and garnished with savory agony! SO HELP ME BOY, YOU HARM ONE HAIR ON MY BABY GIRL’S PRETTY LITTLE HEAD AND I WILL SKIN YOU ALIVE AND EAT YOUR SOUL WITH A SIDE OF FRESH POTATO SALAD! ARE! WE! CLEAR?!”
“… Sir, yes sir…”
Magnum beamed.
“Great! Now, how do you feel about Monopoly?”

Also

Graves could give totem poles lessons on stiffness and teach stoicism to Moai head carvings.

So much humor. Damit its nightime ppl are sleeping i cant be laughing this hard.

tinyfixbikegang.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/rollinhatin.gif

OMG I ALMOST DIED LAUGHING AT THE CAKE OF PAIN! Then I did die at the end soooo yeah im ghost typing and I woke up my parents SH*T well there goes some of my technological freedom.

:moustache:

4081814 Make your parents read it too: redeem those privileges! :rainbowlaugh:

4082088 i doubt that would work though they did laugh after reading it so my punishment was not as hard as it could have been

:moustache:

“In fact, I think Graves is just about the bestest thing Rarity’s ever done!”

media2.giphy.com/media/UTEwvH9aKvnlC/200.gif

And now every time I think of Death it's going to be a skeleton in a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat.

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