• Published 17th Nov 2014
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Crystal's Wishes - Crystal Wishes

Crystal Wishes thought she was content just writing about ponies falling in love. While her career takes off, her love life is somewhat... lacking. Can she be happy living vicariously through her stories or will she find her own happily ever after?

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Wounded Recovery

Midnight stared at Crystal while she cried, a look of panic on his face. Seeming to be at a loss on how to console her, he instead turned his gaze up to the sky where the offending pegasus was still sitting on his cloud.

"You!" Midnight shouted in a strong voice.

The pegasus blinked and leaned his head forward to peer down at them. "What?"

Midnight stood up and pointed at him. "Who are you?"

Shifting his forelegs, the pegasus frowned. "I could ask you the same."

"What?" He paused, then put the hoof to his chest. "Fine. I'm Midnight Poem. Now, who are you?"

"I didn't ask for your name."

Midnight's ears twitched. "But you said—"

"I said I could ask you the same," the pegasus retorted, rolling his eyes. "Not that I would." He stretched his legs out before standing up. "Well, this has been fun, but—"

Crystal jerked her head up rather suddenly and shouted, startling both of them, "Oh, no you don't!"

"Huh?" the stallions responded in unison, then glared at one another.

"You—You—" She trembled some as she got up onto all fours and stomped closer to the cloud. She wiped her face with a hoof, lifted her head to stare up at him, scowling. "You ill-mannered, barbarous, pigeon-brained brute!" The anger behind her voice caused her to hop just slightly off the ground as she barked out the last words.

Midnight sat on his haunches, watching the scene unfold. He stared at Crystal with an almost frightened expression.

The pegasus glanced around a little nervously. He shrunk back into his cloud. "All right, all right. My name's Rossby Waves." He added in a low mutter, "Yeesh."

Crystal panted. "Your name?" She shook her head. "I don't care about your name!"

Rossby frowned as he dropped his head down to rest his snout on his hooves. "Then why—"

"We're on a date." She gestured at Midnight. "He asked me on a date. My first date! And his, too!" She dropped her rear down and threw her hooves in the air. "It was going to be perfect. I spent all morning getting my mane and makeup ready, and I bought this shawl yesterday." Her gaze fell to the white mess lying in a crumpled pile beside her. "It used to be a shawl, that is. I dressed up as prettily as I could so Midnight would be impressed."

She rolled her eyes, which started to gloss over again. The world around her became blurry, but she pressed onward. "Not that he noticed. But I was okay with that. Then he bought me a book! Oh, but that's ruined now, too."

The more she spoke, the more her voice wavered, cracking in and out as her breathing grew uneven. "We were having a good time watching clouds until you brought your angry cloud here with your boorish attitude and—"

Tears were falling down her cheeks while her shoulders trembled. "And now everything is ruined thanks to you!"

Other than her whimpers and hiccups, the three were silent. Midnight and Rossby glanced at each other, seeming to find a temporary camaraderie in their shared confusion over how to handle a crying mare.

Rossby remained still. Though the look on his face was regretful at first, he jerked his head to the side and scowled. "Yeah, well." He huffed. His wings started to spread and flapped a few times, guiding the cloud away from them. "It sounds like you two have some problems to sort out yourselves, so I'll leave you to it." He shot Midnight a serious frown. "Good luck." With that, he pushed his cloud off into the sky and out of their vicinity.

Midnight stared at Crystal as she cried freely and uninhibited with her face buried against the crook of her foreleg.

"Um, Crystal," he offered in a soft tone, hesitated, then prompted more clearly, "Hey."

Crystal sniffled, raising her head just enough to look at him out of the corner of one teary, narrowed eye. "What?"

He winced, but tried to speak with some strength behind his voice. "I'm sorry." He crossed his forehooves over one another and bowed his head down low. "I'm really, really sorry."

She hiccupped a few times as she mulled over his apology. Finally, she muttered, "I know. You didn't do it on purpose. Neither of us knew what to do or expect." She lowered her gaze. "We both were wrong."

"I still think you're pretty." He glanced up at her before returning his gaze to the ground. "Before, during, and after. You're a pretty mare. I should have tried to learn more about you before taking you on a date, though. That's all I really knew. You're pretty, and you write. I thought that was enough, but—" He hesitated, gaze falling.

"It didn't really feel like a date," she finished for him, smiling when he nodded with some reluctance. "I know. It felt more like friends hanging out, huh?"

His ears drooped low. "I'm sorry!"

She shook her head. She paused to rub her eyes before turning to face him and putting a hoof on one of his. "It's okay. I had way too many expectations of you. Maybe we should just be friends, at least until we learn more about each other."

Midnight slowly sat up and looked at her, his brow furrowed with uncertainty. "Can we just, do that? Be friends after all this?"

Crystal smothered a laugh by trying to clear her throat, but a bit of a giggle slipped out. "I don't hate you, silly stallion. Of course we can still be friends!" Her expression fell. "I mean, unless you don't want to be?"

He nodded. "I do! I just, wow. I really messed this up, didn't I?" He sighed and hung his head. "I don't know anything about mares."

She hummed softly in thought, swaying a little from side to side. "Well, maybe if you're friends with one, you'll pick up a thing or two." She held out a hoof. "So, friends?"

He looked at the offered hoof, then took it with his own and smiled. "Friends."

Her gaze wandered over to the wet box lying near them. Her horn lit up and brought the book out and over so she could examine it. "The book's not actually destroyed. It mostly just ruined the cover." She sighed as the book rotated to show him the soggy front. "They don't make silk-bound books anymore."

"Why don't we go back to the shop? They had a lot more. I'll buy you a replacement as an apology."

Crystal hummed in thought, then nodded. "All right, but on one condition." She raised a hoof to brush her wet mane out of her face. "First, we go to a salon. I am in desperate need of a quick spa visit."

"Spa visit?" Midnight frowned, skeptical. His words were slow and cautious as he asked, "Do stallions visit the spa?"

"Why, of course they do! Come along. It'll be my treat."

After their simultaneous but separate treatments, they were both led to a common area with chaise lounges. Crystal flopped down and rested her head on a pillow, letting out a long, contented sigh. Her coat was a shimmery white from the mare care products used and her mane and tail were both silky once more.

"Don't you just feel so relaxed and refreshed?" She fluttered her eyes open to look over at Midnight, who carefully sat down on the chaise beside hers.

"I'm just happy to be dry." He looked at his hooves. "I don't think I ever want a hooficure again, though. That was just weird."

She laughed softly. "They're an acquired taste." She sat up, tossing her mane over her shoulder. "It's not easy being a lady, you know."

Midnight hesitated before he offered a weak shrug. "I don't know. It sounds like you go to a lot of unnecessary effort."

"Unnecessary effort?" She frowned. "Oh, so you're saying I could just go out without any primping or effort and you wouldn't care in the least?"

"Well." He swallowed and paused to choose his words carefully. "I can't speak for other stallions, and I appreciate the effort, but I think that's what I'm saying, yes."

She huffed and turned to face away from him, laying back down. "I don't believe you. Stallions only look at mares that are dolled up."

Midnight laid down on the chaise and stared up at the ceiling, twiddling his hooves, frowning in thought. "I don't know. The first thing I noticed about you was that you were always smiling and happy. The way you act with your friends is so carefree. It's pretty."

"That's why you think I'm pretty? The way I act? Not my mane or my makeup?"

In a tone that suggested fear for his own safety if he answered incorrectly, he mumbled a meek, "Yes?"

"Stallions!" Crystal threw a hoof in the air. "I'll never understand them!"

They rested in a companionable silence until Crystal sat up again.

"All right," she managed through a yawn, stretching her forelegs over her head. "Let's go back to the antique shop." The wet box raised from its place on the table beside her chair. The rose mane clip floated up as well, pinning in her mane, just beside her ear.

Midnight followed alongside her as they walked through the streets. Arriving at the antique shop, they went straight to the counter.

"Well, hello again, lovebirds!" The clerk smiled at them in welcome. "What brings you back here?"

Crystal giggled while Midnight explained, "We ran into a bit of trouble with an unfriendly pegasus, so I'm here to buy a second book."

The clerk looked at the book with a forlorn expression. "Guess I was right about that rain." He stroked his chin. "Look, I'm sure I can get some use out of it. Why don't we just do an exchange?"

Midnight's eyes widened. "Really? Are you sure?"

"Of course." The old stallion chuckled and waved a hoof. "You're one of my best customers. It's the least I can do."

Crystal smiled fondly, reflecting on her relationship with Mr. Quills. They'd had conversations quite like this in the past, with broken quills needing replaced or finding herself just a bit or two short.

"Thank you," Crystal said. "I really appreciate it." She walked with Midnight over to the bookcase, this time taking a moment to scan the titles rather than grabbing one at random.

Finally, one caught her eye: Brydlestrata by Aristopones. "Oh, I love this story," she mused under her breath as her magic gently lifted the book off the shelf and floated it closer.

"Really? I don't know this one." Midnight inclined his head to peer at it. "What is it about?"

"It's about—" A sudden red flush crawled up the back of Crystal's neck and she hurriedly said, "Oh, I wouldn't want to spoil it, but it's quite interesting." She cleared her throat. "I'll take this one."

Midnight blinked a few times, then shrugged. "All right." As they made their way out, he waved to the clerk and they stepped back into the bright sunlight.

They merely stood there at first, Midnight seeming to be searching for something and Crystal too tentative to interrupt his thoughts.

He broke the silence with a light sigh and started down the sidewalk. "I'm really sorry your first date didn't turn out how you wanted."

"I could say the same for you." She gave a quick shrug of her shoulders without losing stride as she followed after him. "I think it's okay, though. I have a new friend now. That's more than enough."

Midnight mused on this quietly for a moment. He caught sight of a butterfly drifting on a breeze, crossing their path and landing on a stray blade of grass.

Clearing his throat, he glanced down at her and recited in a lyrical manner,

"A colored splash upon a wing, like perfection most sublime.
"Words we speak in passing; we share a moment in time.
"We think these most ephemeral: a single crystalline chime,
"A butterfly's aerial, a simple moment in time.
"You have my great gratitude, a memory in its prime,
"Impressed with your attitude in this clear moment in time."

Crystal squealed and hopped on all hooves. "That was beautiful, Midnight!" She winked. "You'll make a mare very happy someday if you do that on your next date!"

He nodded, a small grin on his lips. "I'll do my best to remember that." He gently bumped his shoulder to hers. "Thank you, Crystal. It's been an enlightening day."

"You can say that again," she murmured, giggling softly and shaking her head.

The sun dipped low in the sky as they journeyed through the streets of Canterlot with no direction in mind, simply enjoying light conversation and each other's company. He eventually walked her home and, when they stood outside the door, offered a hoof. She looked down at it, laughed, and threw her hooves around his neck in a friendly hug before she went inside.

"I'm home!" she called as she shut the door behind her.

"Darling!" Upper Crust looked up from the couch. "How was he?"

Crystal smiled, walking to the stairs. "A good friend."

Her mother blinked a few times. She may have said something in response, but Crystal didn't hear it, instead giggling to herself. It had been a terrible date, but things seemed to have turned out all right.

Flopping onto her bed, she pulled out her notebook with her most recent work. Her good cheer deflated as she flipped the pages, scanning over the romantic prose she had written.

Midnight Poem was not her perfect, romantic special somepony, but stallions like that existed, right?

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