• Published 25th Aug 2013
  • 12,169 Views, 244 Comments

An Apple A Day - Esle Ynopemos

A collection of thirthy-minute short stories about the rootinest, tootinest farm-filly this side of the Everfree. There'll be a chapter a day for thirty days. I ain't no fancy arithmeticker, but that adds up to a whole month of good, health

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5: Card Games and Promises [Romance] [Sad]

((Prompt: Sometimes loyalty requires you to lie, and sometimes honesty requires you to betray.))

“I'll take two,” Rainbow Dash said, pressing two cards to the table. She drew two new cards from the deck.

Applejack glanced at the hand she had. “I'll stand,” she said.

Rainbow raised her eyebrows. She stared across the table at Applejack, searching for any sign of a tell. The corners of her lips turned downwards. “Geez, AJ, whatever happened to the whole Element of Honesty thing? How do you bluff like that?”

Applejack grinned. “Who says I'm bluffin'?” She tossed a poker chip into the pot. “'Sides, lies don't count at the card table.”

“Sure.” Rainbow ran a hoof through her mane. “But how'd you get so darn good at it?”

“Aw, quit yer bellyachin' and ante up,” Applejack chuckled.

Dash rolled a chip on the edge of the table with her wingtip. A troubled frown creased her brows. “Hey, Applejack...”

Applejack's ears perked up as they registered the serious tone in her voice. “What's a matter, hon?”

The pegasus fidgeted in her seat. “Are you sure you're okay with me and Pinkie? Y'know, after... what you two had?”

Applejack's grin evaporated. She chewed the inside of her cheek. She really wanted to tell her the truth. No, she wasn't okay; seeing her with Pinkie, doing the things Pinkie used to do with her, it tore Applejack up inside. She hated the sting of jealousy that shot through her every time she looked at Dash, hated herself for not being able to let it go, and it was all very, very not okay.

But she had made a promise with Pinkie, at the end, when it was clear there was nothing left they could do. No more hurting each other, they had sworn. Applejack wasn't going to go and reopen that wound. She wouldn't do that to Pinkie, even if that meant she had to lie to her friend's face.

“Yeah...” she said. “Yeah, I'm alright.”

Rainbow stared at her, once again probing for a tell.

Applejack gave her a small smile. “Really, Dash, I am. Hay, if I wasn't, why would I be here playin' cards with you?”

Rainbow Dash's eyes remained on her a moment longer. Finally, she flicked a chip into the pot. “Maybe to take all my money so I can't afford any dates,” she grumbled.

“That'd be a real cryin' shame.” Applejack grinned wide, tossing two more chips in. “Raise.”

“She still loves you, you know.” Rainbow winced as soon as the words left her mouth.

Applejack froze.

Dash smacked herself in the forehead. “Sorry. I'm an ass for telling you that. She made me promise not to tell anypony.” She sucked in a deep lungful of air, rocking back in her chair. “I just... it's something you should know. She isn't over you.”

Silence reigned over the poker table. Applejack slowly set her cards down on the table and stood up. “Fold,” she whispered, then turned around and left.

Author's Note:

And this is the first in this series that I didn't have time to submit to TMP because I had work. There's always a few of these.

Shame, too, because I'd have liked to have known what they would have thought about this one at TMP.