• Published 15th Nov 2013
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Stages - Bunnybooze79



It was supposed to be Octavia’s first big moment in her beginning career. To her dismay a unicorn named Vinyl Scratch stole her spotlight and left an impression on the cellist she would so soon not forget.

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Chapter 22

Octavia slowly awoke from a surprisingly refreshing sleep.

One eye slowly opened up and cast a glance towards the alarm clock on the bedside table. It was nearly eight o’clock already. As it was the weekend she didn’t have to get up anytime soon, but the damage was already done. Once awake she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep anytime soon.

She cast the pillow she had been clutching away and stretched her body and every limb out as far as possible. With a half groan half yawn she felt a joint or two pop.

While rubbing her eyes with a hoof she sat up. Her sense of smell woke up around that time as well and told her that somepony was cooking something nice in the kitchen. Vinyl usually got up before the cellist so she didn’t really waste another thought about it, yet something stirred in the back of her mind.

Vinyl….

Her eyes went wide as she remembered that it had been Vinyl’s big night yesterday. Strange that she couldn’t remember any of it. Octavia ran a hoof through the unkempt mane of hers and tried to remember anything about last night. After a good two minutes of silent contemplation she came up with nothing.

The last thing she remembered was the drink with the umbrella in it. How she got back to her apartment was a mystery. Perhaps the drink had caused the memory loss, which wouldn’t surprise her as her tolerance of alcohol had been untested before last night.

Octavia grunted as her beloved movies came to her mind. She had seen plenty of movies were ponies would get drunk and would wake up the next morning with a terrible hangover. She had nothing of the sort and felt actually rather good, if maybe a bit hungry. It was possible that is was just exaggerated for humorous purposes in the movies and reality was much tamer.

She shrugged and got out of bed. Maybe Vinyl had made some banana pancakes again and Octavia could get some information from her friend about last night.

Once outside of her bedroom she heard voices. Familiar voices of ponies that must have stayed here for some reason.

As she entered the living room area she spotted Lyra sitting at the table. Bon Bon was standing beside her wearing Vinyl’s chef hat. A comical hat that Octavia had bought her soon after they had moved to Manehatten. Both mares stopped their conversation and watched the cellist’s approach with wide eyes.

“Good morning!” Octavia guessed that their looks were because of her unruly hair in the morning.

“Uh…good morning.” Bon Bon studied the other earthpony carefully.

“Nice mane.” Lyra also carefully watched the cellist for any signs that might need some kind of intervention. The hair did not qualify for such action, but was rather close.

“I know. It’s always a mess in the morning.” Octavia smiled at her friends and sat down at the table.

“Are you….feeling ok?” Lyra asked with hesitation.

“I feel great!” Octavia’s reply was accompanied by a rumble from her stomach. She blushed a bit and smiled sheepishly. “Maybe a bit hungry.”

“No headache or anything like that?” Bon Bon asked and took off the chef hat.

“No, nothing. Why do you ask? The drink wasn’t that strong last night, was it?” Octavia looked from one mare to the other.

“The first one wasn’t.” Lyra replied after a moment.

“The first one? How many did I have?”

“What do you remember about last night?” Lyra shifted about on the chair, taking on a more relaxed position after it was clear that the cellist was back to her usual self.

“I remember the drink with the umbrella in it.” Octavia put a hoof to her chin in thought. “And the music of course.”

“Anything else?” Bon Bon asked and shot a look over to the stove where she had something cooking.

“No….why?” Octavia was now suddenly worried. “Please don’t tell me that I went dancing.”

The cellist knew full well that some things were not her strong points. Singing and dancing most certainly were beyond her skillset.

“I…uh…well….” Lyra looked over to Bon Bon. The sweetmaker shrugged and quickly trotted over to the stove to shut it off.

Octavia was slowly getting worried. The looks on the other mare’s faces told her that something had happened way worse than just clumsy dancing.

“Tell me.” Octavia braced herself for the answer.

Please don’t tell me that I started singing.

“Well….” Lyra coughed and cleared her throat. “You see, there was a bit of a fight going on.”

“Oh dear….” Octavia’s ears folded down. So Vinyl’s big night had been marred by a fight. She felt bad for her friend.

“A fight that….well… you sort of…uhm…started.” Lyra tried a small smile to disarm the bomb of information she had shared.

“I….what?” For a moment Octavia thought she had misheard. Sure, she had a temper but most certainly wouldn’t start a fight.

“Somepony gave you a drink called an alicorn flip.” Lyra continued her report of last night. “It messes up the head with non-unicorns. You pretty much went on a rampage.”

“Flip…what? Rampage?” Octavia laughed. It was so bizarre it just had to be some kind of joke.

“You picked a fight with a group of ponies and soon the entire club went nuts.” Bon Bon explained further.

“But you weren’t yourself. It was that drink that set you off.” Lyra added.

“You are serious….” Octavia stared blankly at the table top for a moment. “What did Vinyl do?”

“Dove off stage to rush to your aid. Rather heroic if you ask me.” Bon Bon replied and Lyra nodded her head in agreement. “Once we had you under control we all left quickly before the guards could show up.”

“Where is she?” Octavia asked quietly. She suddenly feared that the DJ had chosen not to come back home. Perhaps she was angry with Octavia, something the cellist could understand as it was apparent that she had effectively ruined her friend’s big night.

“Sleeping in her bed.” Lyra replied. She wasn’t fast enough to stop Octavia from bolting towards the unicorns bedroom. “Octavia wait!”




____________________________________________________________________




The cellist didn’t listen to Lyra’s protest and slowly opened the door to Vinyl’s bedroom. The curtains had not been drawn closed last night and the sunlight bathed the room in a nice soft warm glow. Perhaps it was because of that light that Vinyl’s state shocked Octavia to her core.

The unicorn was black and blue in spots. It clearly could be seen under her white coat that she had been in the middle of the fight that Lyra had mentioned. What made Octavia gasp in horror was the sight of her friends face once she had circled around the bed.

Vinyl’s left eye had swollen shut and sported a rather unhealthy color. She had neglected to wash the blood from her cut off her face and it had rubbed off on the pillow. The effect made it look far worse than it actually was.

Octavia jumped towards the bedside and feverishly shook Vinyl awake with a hoof.

“Vinyl? Are you ok?” Octavia was panicking. “Please, please, please say something.”

“Ow…ow….OW!” Vinyl stirred awake with small yelps of pain that increased in volume. “Stop, stop! Ow!”

“Sorry, sorry!” Octavia quickly retracted her hoof from the DJ as if she had put it on a hot stove. “Talk to me!”

“You really need to work on ways to wake me up that don’t cause me a lot of pain.” Vinyl briefly chuckled and regretted it immediately. “Ow.”

“Are you ok?” Octavia pacing in front of her friend. Torn between running off to find a doctor and staying to find out if she actually needed one.

“Yeah, just peachy.” Vinyl groaned and she slowly pulled herself into a sitting position.

“I’m sorry, Vinyl!” Octavia stopped her pacing and dove forward pulling the unicorn’s head against her chest with two hooves.

“Ow, ow….watch the head.” Vinyl complained and was released instantly.

“Sorry!” Octavia tried hugging Vinyl and rested her head against the bruised chest of her friend.

“Ow, ow, ow….watch the ribs.”

“Oh dear….I’m so sorry, Vinyl!” Octavia hesitated in grabbing some other part of the DJ in comfort. “Where does it hurt?”

“Heh, everywhere.” Vinyl tried a smile. Thanks to the black eye and the dried blood it looked rather horrifying.

“Where doesn’t it hurt?” Octavia asked with worry.

“My tail is ok.” Vinyl joked and tried to stretch. “Owwww…”

Octavia very gently took Vinyl’s tail in her front hooves and stroked it soothingly. “I’m so so sorry.”

Vinyl briefly toyed with the idea of telling Octavia that her flank was also not hurting. It would however have been a lie. Everything single fiber of her body hurt like mad, but still she felt strangely at peace. Seeing that Octavia was back to her usual self was a huge relief for the unicorn. She laid a hoof on the cellist’s shoulder.

“I’m ok, Tavi.” Vinyl grinned or at least tried to. Her face felt stiff and swollen. “Just got a little banged up. It’s no big deal.”

“But it is!” Octavia didn’t know where to begin with her apology. At a loss on what to do she sighed heavily.

“Let me get cleaned up and have something to eat.” Vinyl noticed the stain on her pillow. “We can talk afterwards.”

Octavia gave her a concerned look, but then nodded in agreement. She helped Vinyl get out of bed and into the bathroom. Once she heard the water running she rejoined Lyra and Bon Bon at the table. Both mares looked at her expectantly.

“How is she?” Bon Bon asked after a moment of silence.

For a moment Octavia did not say anything and just stared at the floor. When she finally looked up they could see a fire burning in her eyes.

“When I find the pony responsible for hurting her like that, I’ll make sure they will regret it for the rest of their lives!” Octavia was furious that somepony had laid a hoof on Vinyl. “I don’t know who they are or where they are, but I will find them. And then I will make them pay!”

Octavia stomped a hoof on the ground with fury. She was an intimidating sight to the two ponies sitting at the table. They shared a look with each other and turned back to the livid cellist.

“Uhm…maybe you should sit down.” Bon Bon suggested carefully.

“Do you know who did that?” Octavia’s piercing look made them flinch back slightly. “You do know! Tell me at once who is responsible!”

Octavia slammed a hoof on the table making the two plates and cups jump a bit. Lyra sighed and pointed to the mirror.

“Take a look.”

“I don’t care about the state of my mane!” Octavia would not waste any time on personal grooming as long as her lust for revenge was not satisfied.

“No, I mean….it was you.” Lyra watched as the gears turned in Octavia’s mind.

“Me? What?” The rage suddenly left the cellist as fast as it had come. She dropped to her haunches and stared at her friends still sitting at the table.

“You sort of freaked out at some point, I mean freaked out more than you already were, and seemed to think Vinyl was some kind of bug.” Bon Bon said slowly.

“You hit her, she fell to the ground and then you tried stomping on her a few more times.” Lyra added carefully.

Octavia just sat there and blinked a few times. As the words slowly sank it, tears started to rise in her eyes.

“I…did….that…” Octavia rubbed a hoof on her foreleg. She suddenly felt an amount of guilt build up in her that dwarfed any other emotion she may have had.

“No real damage done, right?” Lyra tried to stem a possible flood of tears from the cellist. “You weren’t in your right mind. Can’t blame yourself for that.”

The bathroom door opened and Vinyl chose that moment to carefully walk into the room. The shower had restored a bit on energy back into her and the aches and pains were a bit less than before. What didn’t help was the sudden hug she received from a wailing grey earthpony.

“OW!”




____________________________________________________________________




The next half hour could have been summarized with Octavia crying and apologizing over and over again, while Vinyl said that it was ok and there were no hard feelings in between exclamations of pain when Octavia touched some sore spot.

Eventually she had calmed Octavia down enough and sat her down at the table. She wisely decided to sit across from her to be out of reach from any well meant but painful hugs or pats. Bon Bon cleared the used dishes away and served them some tea with freshly made waffles.

Breakfast was interrupted every time Octavia laid eyes on Vinyl and began wailing again and saying that she was sorry. It was slowly becoming rather uncomfortable for the DJ.

“Ok, stop!” Vinyl tapped a hoof against the table and regretted it immediately. She still was sore all over and would have to take care to not hurt herself further.

“Listen, Tavi.” Vinyl had the full attention of the cellist, who had a fresh batch of tears flowing down her face. “I know you feel bad, but you shouldn’t. You were not yourself and I am not angry with you or anything. I’m just glad that nothing bad happened.”

“But something bad did happen!” Octavia hiccupped. “I hit you!”

“It was an accident.” Vinyl shook her head. “I have a thick head anyway, so not lasting damage done, ok?”

“I caused you harm.” Octavia sniffled. “I might have even cost you your job.”

That was something Vinyl had thus far totally ignored. She had no idea what her boss would say about the events that had transpired. Would he blame her for it? Would he fire her on the spot for abandoning her place on stage? Vinyl had no idea about any of that and it wouldn’t help thinking about it either. What happened, happened. Possible fallout would be taken care of later, although she should try and get in touch with the club as soon as possible.

“Don’t worry about my job. Let me worry about that.” Vinyl tried a grin. “And see? I’m not worried about it so neither should you.”

Octavia slowly managed to return a bit of a smile. She really didn’t deserve Vinyl’s kind behavior. It dimly flashed in her mind that she was lucky to have somepony like Vinyl in her life. The thought was squished before it could grow by a knock on the front door.

Vinyl was closest to the door and ignored the protests of her friends to remain seated. She hobbled over to the door and took a look through the peephole with her good eye. All color instantly drained from her face, which was a remarkable feat for a white coated pony.

She turned to her friends with panic plainly visible in her face.

“It’s my boss and his henchpony.” She hissed at them, thanking whoever had installed the door to make it soundproof. “Hide!”

“Henchpony?” Octavia raised an eyebrow.

“You don’t mean that huge stallion, do you?” Lyra gave Octavia a sideways glance. “The one that Octavia kicked in the unmentionables?”

“Yes!” Vinyl whispered as loudly as she dared.

“Right….” Lyra slung a hoof around the grey earthpony’s neck. “Let’s go.”



______________________________________________________________________




Vinyl watched her friends dart from the room to lock themselves in the bathroom. Then she counted backwards from ten and took a deep breath.

She opened the door just as Big Time was about to knock again. Slowly he lowered his raised hoof and cocked his head to the side while studying Vinyl.

“Seems like they did a real number on you.” He said after a few moments. “Mind if we come in?”

“Uh…sure.” Vinyl made way and watched the small stallion walk past followed closely by the huge stallion. She noticed that Squeak took very ginger steps while walking past her.

Vinyl swallowed hard as she closed the door and joined her boss in the middle of the room. She tried to mask her nervousness as best she could.

“First things first.” Big Time cleared his throat. “I want to say that I am sorry you were involved in that incident last night.”

“Oh, I… uh…I’m ok.” Vinyl answered and tried a smile.

“You most certainly do not look like it.” He gave her a look once over. Large bruises were clearly visible underneath her white coat. The black eye being the most visible damage.

“Nah, it’s ok.” Vinyl shrugged. “Things like that happen.”

“Not in my club!” he snapped and took a moment to compose himself. Vinyl instinctively flinched back and ducked her head low.

“On that subject.” He cleared his throat once more. “You wouldn’t happen to know who started the trouble, would you?”

“Uh…why ask me?” Vinyl didn’t like where this was heading and felt terribly alone suddenly.

“Maybe you saw something from stage?” He asked and gave her a small little smile. The DJ did not like that smile one bit.

“Couldn’t really see much.” Vinyl tried a smile of her own that died quickly after seeing Big Time’s cold steely look. “I had my sunglasses on and with all the lights all I could see were shadows.”

Vinyl began sweating under the unmoving gaze of her boss. It sounded like a good explanation in her mind, but maybe he saw right through her lie.

“I heard you live here with another mare.” Big Time broke his gaze and looked around the room.

The sudden shift in conversation made Vinyl think he knew more than he was telling her. She briefly toyed with the idea of just simply telling him the truth, but a feeling in her gut prevented her from doing so.

“I…uhm…yeah.” Vinyl’s voice briefly broke and she cleared her throat quickly. “Yes, I live here with somepony else.”

In the bathroom, three ears were pressed against the door, very carefully listening to every word being said. They noticed Vinyl’s tone and shared a worried look amongst themselves. Octavia drew a breath and reached for the door handle.

“What are you doing?” Lyra whispered and held Octavia’s hoof away from the door.

“She needs help.” Octavia nodded towards the door. “Besides, I don’t see why I have to hide.”

“You need to hide, because that lumbering hulk of a pony will no doubt bite your head off.” Lyra whispered back harshly. “I’ll go and help her.”

Lyra carefully opened the door and took a gulping breath of air. She wasn’t too bad at acting, so she would pretend she was the mare that Vinyl was living with. An easy task in her book.

“I heard she is an earthpony.” Big Time asked and Lyra froze with one hoof out the door.

“Uhm, yeah.” Vinyl replied not knowing about her friends planned rescue attempt.

“Is she here?” Big Time turned to look at Vinyl once more with an icy look.

“In the bathroom right now.” Vinyl cursed mentally. It would have been easiest to just say that she was alone right now.

Lyra very quickly stepped silently back into the bathroom and turned to Bon Bon.

“You have to go!” she hissed at her marefriend.

“I…what?” Bon Bon shook her head. “I am a terrible actor! They will never believe me!”

“Just pretend Vinyl is me and do what you normally do!” Lyra whispered back. “She needs help out there!”

Bon Bon gulped and took a few deep breaths. She was no good at keeping an act up, but pretending that Vinyl was Lyra would be easier. She nodded once and stepped out of the bathroom.

“Vinyl? Do we have guests?” she asked as she stepped into the living room.

Both stallions looked over at the new arrival and didn’t see Vinyl sigh in relief that her friends were planning to help her out. Now she had somepony beside her and everything would be easier to deal with.

“Yeah, this is my boss, Big Time.” Vinyl said as Bon Bon walked passed them, giving each one a nod in turn, before coming to a stop beside the white unicorn.

“You could have told me that we were expecting guests, dear.” Bon Bon feverishly hoped Vinyl would play along as she kissed her on the lips.

Vinyl froze instantly, her mind trying to understand what was going on. Unlike her body, her mind was racing and something clicked. She hoped she had come up with the right assumptions as she kissed back, momentarily blocking out any possible future complications that may arise.

“I….see…” Big Time glanced over to his bodyguard, who merely shrugged. “I didn’t know it was that kind of living together.”

“Yes, well it is.” Bon Bon had broken the kiss and gave him a steely look of her own. “Is there a problem with that?”

“No, no.” He shook his head. “It is none of my business.”

“You are right about that.” Bon Bon’s snappy answer made Vinyl hold her breath in fear.

“My business is with the pony that started the trouble last night.” He ignored the look Bon Bon was giving him. “Goes by the name of Octavia Philharmonica.” He looked from one mare to the other, carefully studying their faces. “You wouldn’t happen to know her, would you?”

“Wh…why do you ask?” Vinyl managed to croak out.

“Well, you do have her picture on your wall.” He pointed a hoof at the large frame with the magazine articles hanging on the wall.

“Oh that….” Vinyl was luckily a very quick thinker. “I’m on the cover with her. I figured that if anypony would ask me who the other mare is it would be easiest to have her article there to read as well. Besides, she is very attractive and nice to look at.”

Bon Bon, still pretending that the DJ was her marefriend, gave her a look that left no doubt that there would be a very serious talk going to happen later. The amount of jealousy in her look was enough for Big Time to finally accept that they were indeed a couple.

“I see…” Big Time smiled a cruel smile. “Then why is her name downstairs on your mailbox?”

“Uh…” Vinyl’s quick thinking was going into overdrive, trying to come up with any kind of answer. Bon Bon had an idea first.

“It doesn’t.” she stated.

“Yes, it does.” Big Time focused his attention on the beige mare.

“No, it doesn’t.” Bon Bon shook her head. “It actually reads: Octopi play Harmonica.”

For the longest moment nopony said anything. Bon Bon held his gaze with a cool one of her own.

“What?” he finally asked.

“I have terrible writing.” Bon Bon explained. “Octopi play Harmonica. I am currently teaching cuttlefish to play instruments.”

“Underwater?” he asked confused.

“Yes, indeed.” Bon Bon replied casually. Vinyl would have loved to facehoof, bite her nails or do anything. Perhaps jumping out the window would also suffice. Instead she just held her breath.

“There….there is a market for that?” He looked over to Squeak, who once again just shrugged.

“It has very small demand.” Bon Bon replied dryly.

“I see…” Big Time shook his head once to clear the image of underwater musical acts out of his head. “You wouldn’t happen to know where I might be able to find Miss Philharmonica?”

“Why?” Vinyl asked innocently as possible.

“My associate here would like to have a word with her.” Big Time gestured to Squeak with a hoof.

“Well, I did talk to her yesterday at the club.” Vinyl answered and saw a way to pull Octavia out of the fire. “She said it was her last day here in Manehatten and that she would be moving to Canterlot this morning. Something about getting a place in the Canterlot Orchestra.”

“That is….unfortunate for us, but fortunate for her.” Big Time seemed slightly disappointed. Squeak didn’t change his expression at all, but a small stamp with his right hindleg told of his displeasure at getting a chance to talk to the violent mare from yesterday.

“Uhm… Mister Big Time, Sir.” Vinyl decided to change the topic quickly. “When should I come back to the club?” Vinyl hoped that she still even had a job at this point.

“It will take a few days for it to be up and running again.” Big Time explained and slowly moved towards the front door. “You could do with a few days rest anyway. When you are back on your hooves come and see me in my office.”

“Will do, thank you.” Vinyl was happy to hear that her job was still secure.

Squeak lumbered past Vinyl and Bon Bon to open the door for his boss. With a nod to the two mares Big Time left the apartment, Squeak following just a moment later and closing the door.

For a few seconds neither Bon Bon nor Vinyl dared even breathe. They both let out their breath in a long sigh, when it was clear that the two stallions had indeed left.

“You can come out now.” Vinyl said towards the bathroom.

Almost instantly Lyra appeared and frowned at the two mares. Octavia followed a moment later with a more neutral expression.

“I got that, you know?” Lyra pointed a hoof at Vinyl.

“Me? What did I do?” Vinyl frowned right back at the other unicorn.

“Kissing my mare like that. I heard everything.” Lyra stomped up to the two mares.

“She didn’t kiss me, Lyra.” Bon Bon held a hoof out to stop the mint green mare. “I kissed her.”

“Did you now….” Lyra shifted her attention towards Bon Bon.

“You said to pretend she was you!” Bon Bon huffed. “I just acted like I always do with you!”

“That’s how it is, is it?” Lyra rubbed her chin in thought.

“Don’t play the angry card, Lyra. I can see you are trying to hide a smirk.” Bon Bon rolled her eyes. Lyra was very easy to read for the sweetmaker.

“Heh, you got me.” Lyra did indeed smirk and Vinyl relaxed. For a moment she feared a full blown argument would erupt. “Tell you what, we’ll call it even after this.”

Before Bon Bon could say anything or react, a very surprised Vinyl found herself once more the recipient of a kiss. This time from Lyra and unlike before Vinyl did not kiss back, but rather tried to push the mare away.

“Well what do ya know….” Lyra said after breaking off the surprise kiss. “You don’t taste like marshmallows.”

“Lyra!” Bon Bon pushed the unicorn away from the rather perplexed DJ. “What are you doing?”

“We’re even now.” Lyra simply stated and nodded once.

Octavia watched the little show with very mixed feelings. Part of her found it amusing, but another part of her was feeling jealous. She did not quite know what to make of that feeling and why she was feeling it in the first place.

Had Vinyl been paying attention to the cellist she might have seen the confused look on her face, instead her mind was racing once more. This time about the things her employer had said in regards to Octavia.

As annoying as it was, she would have to exclude Octavia from any visits to her performances in the future. But what if Big Time found out that Octavia was still in town? It was a sticky situation that required a lot more thought and some kind of good plan from keeping Big Time and Octavia apart.

Vinyl sighed. Somehow there always some kind of problem to be dealt with.