• 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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Moving In

Velvet smiled. "So, I was wondering—"

Crystal nodded quickly, interrupting, "Yes, I'll absolutely write!"

Velvet's smile fell and her brow furrowed. "Huh?"

"Of course I'll write! And I'll keep an eye on your parents, and let you know how the bakery's doing, and—" Her words caught in her throat. She rubbed at her watering eyes. "And, and—"

"Oh my gosh, Crystal, calm down!" Velvet put her hooves on Crystal's shoulders and gave a small shake to bring her back to the moment. "What the hay are you talking about?"

She struggled to say it. If she said it, then it was real. Softly, she whispered, "You're moving." The tears fell down her cheeks the moment the words left her lips.

Velvet shook her head. "Yeah, but I'm not moving away! Celestia's sake, I know I didn't exactly present it properly, but I'm just moving out of my parents' house. What I wanted to ask was if you'd move in with me."

Another silent pause fell on them, interrupted only by Crystal's sniffling while she processed the new information. Velvet just stared at her, smiling and waiting expectantly.

"You mean," Crystal finally started, "move out of my parents' house, too?" She bit her lip. "Where?"

"There's a condominium in the complex down the road from my parents' that just became available. The pony who owns it has to leave Canterlot before next week and is offering cheap rent if we move in by tomorrow." Velvet grinned sheepishly. "I figured, with me starting my career, I won't get to see you very often. So if we move in together, that ensures we'll have to spend time together at some point. Right?"

Crystal's eyes widened. "Velvet, I—" She turned away to stare down the street. It was hard to think clearly with Velvet right there in front of her; how could she say anything but yes to her best friend's face?

Velvet allowed Crystal to think for a minute or two longer before she offered, "It's okay if you don't want to. I just wanted to make the offer, is all."

Without seeing her face, Crystal could tell just by Velvet's voice that she was disappointed. "It's not that I don't want to!" She hesitated, then looked at her and continued quietly, "I just don't know how my parents would react."

"Your parents?" It rarely happened, but Velvet actually scowled. "Oh, Crystal, I'm tired of that excuse! You can't live under their hooves forever!" She stomped against the cobblestone. "What do you want to do? What's important to you? That's all I care about, and the same should go for you!"

Crystal took a startled step backward. "What?"

"Do you want to keep living with your parents? It's a simple question, Crystal." Velvet stared her down. "Forget about the moving in with me part; just answer that question."

Crystal breathed in and held it. "No," she mumbled, releasing the breath suddenly. Like a small crack in a dam, words started to spew forth faster and louder than she intended. "Of course I don't! I never feel at ease, not even in my own room, because Mom just barges in whenever she feels like it! She judges and criticizes everything I do. She's always watching me, and if I make even the slightest error in proper form, she snaps it up as though she's starved for excuses to scold me!"

The torrent of words calmed to a gentle stream as she continued in bitter mumble, "I'm sick of it. I'm trying to move forward with my life, but I feel like I'm getting nowhere. It's like I'm still a filly and always will be."

Velvet kept a neutral expression as she said, "All right, good. Now let's get back to the moving in with me part."

"Of course I'd love that! You're my best friend in all of Equestria. Why wouldn't I want to be your roommate?!"

Finally, Velvet smiled again. "Then let's do it!"

Crystal nodded. With determination clear on her face, she started to trot in the direction of home. "Yeah! Let's do it!"

"All right!" Velvet cheered, following after her. "We're going to be roommates!"

Crystal said nothing until she opened the front door and stepped into the living room. "Mom! Dad! I've got some news for the both of you."

Jet Set looked over at Crystal with mild surprise from his usual spot on the recliner. "You don't look happy, dear," he said rather simply, blinking. "Is everything all right?"

Crystal blinked. Her determination faded, easing her expression, but also softening her voice. "Um, yes." She cleared her throat and tried to relight some of the fire that had been burning just moments before. "I'm moving out."

Upper Crust nearly fell off the couch in her hurry to get up and over to her. "You're what?" She paused just a few paces away from her daughter, stopping to look past her at Velvet. "Oh, of course." She smiled, though without warmth. "I'm not surprised it would come to this, darling, what with the way you two have been sneaking off lately." She waved a hoof. "I won't allow it."

Jet Set slowly rose from the recliner. "Dear, perhaps we should—"

“I’m not a filly anymore, Mother.” Crystal scowled. “I’m a mare and you should start treating me like one. I've made up my mind and I'm moving in with Velvet.”

"Nonsense." Upper Crust huffed. "I won't have any of this nonsense. I wasn't going to say anything because it seemed fairly harmless at first, but I'm putting an end to this silly little C.W. Step game you two have going on."

"I—" Crystal choked. "You know about that?!"

Upper Crust looked down her snout at her with a slight frown. "You may think me addle-minded, darling, but it's not so difficult to put the pieces together. Really, which one of you thought 'C.W. Step' was a clever pseudonym for your tawdry little fantasies?"

Velvet took a step forward and placed herself ahead of Crystal, though not quite in between mother and daughter. "Hey, they're not tawdry! Crystal's a great writer!"

Upper Crust gave Velvet a withering stare just as Jet Set interrupted, "Now, now, I think this is escalating past the point, don't you think?" He smiled. "Crystal, dear, you were trying to tell us that you wanted to move out. Let's discuss that concern first." He glanced between each of the mares. "Like civilized ponies."

The tension hung thick in the air. Velvet didn't back down from Upper Crust's stare, and Upper Crust didn't stop giving it. Finally, Crystal broke the momentary standstill by walking between them.

"I'm moving out," she said without missing a step in her stride. "I'm getting my things, and I'm moving out."

Jet Set's smile fell. "That's not really a discussion, Crystal."

"You're right." She paused to stop at the stairs and frowned at them. "It's not."

Upper Crust finally broke the standstill to look over at Crystal. "Darling, what are you going to do about school?"

Crystal rolled her eyes. "Obviously, I'll have to get a job to help pay rent, so I'll drop out."

The moment the dreaded words hit their ears, Jet Set and Upper Crust looked at one another in open fear.

"Now, Crystal, let's not be so hasty, dear," Jet Set started.

"I understand if you feel like there is tension between us, but that's no reason to ruin your life," Upper Crust continued.

"If money is the concern, then we'll send you an allowance to cover the rent as long as you stay in school."

"Yes, we'll—what?" Upper Crust glanced back at her husband. He gave her a steady, stern stare and she finished in a lower voice, "We'll send you an allowance."

Crystal's face scrunched up. "An allowance? Like I'm some sort of filly? I don't need your charity!"

Velvet, who had been content to simply stand there after winning the staring contest, sprung back into the conversation by running over to Crystal. "Wait, wait, wait!" She grabbed her by the neck and tugged her down to whisper in her ear, "No, take the money."

"What?" Crystal whispered back.

"Crystal, you don't make much yet, and I just barely started my career. We're going to be totally poor." She repeated with heavier emphasis, "Take. The. Money."

After a moment of uneasy hesitation, Crystal groaned and finally said, "All right, I'll accept the money. Thanks, Mother, Father."

"Certainly." Jet Set straightened his glasses. "Shall we hire Two Stallions and a Cart to move your things?"

Upper Crust turned on him. "Darling," she started, her voice humming with strain as she struggled to keep it even and calm. "Crystal wants to be an adult. Shouldn't we let her handle things on her own now?"

Jet Set replied with a simple shrug of his shoulders and said nothing further, instead looking back at Crystal for an answer.

"I—I can hire them myself. I have some bits from my 'tawdry' job." She rolled her eyes and climbed the stairs. "Come on, Velvet."

Velvet hopped up the stairs behind her. "Yup!"

Once in her room, Crystal dumped a box of makeup out onto her bed, then started to fill it with her more important possessions. The rest the movers could handle, but she didn't trust them with her precious books, notebooks, and assorted keepsakes.

"Can we move in today?" she asked, her back to Velvet.

Velvet was sitting on the bed, looking through the discarded makeup. "Hmm?" She glanced up at her. "Oh, yeah. I was going to move in with or without you, so I already paid the deposit. Well, my parents did, but I'll pay them back when I can."

Crystal sighed. "You're so lucky," she muttered.

"Hey, your parents are going to cover our rent!" Velvet grinned. She picked up a bottle of hoofpolish and put it against one of her hooves, murmuring, "Oh, this is a nice color."

Crystal looked over her shoulder to see what she had, smiled, and returned to her packing. "You can have it. I guess we'll be sharing a lot of things from now on, huh?"

Velvet tucked the bottle into a pocket on her saddlebags. "Yup!" She started to swing her hindlegs. "This is going to be a good kind of different, I can feel it."

"Me, too." Crystal closed the box and levitated it onto her back. "Okay, let's stop by Two Stallions and a Cart. Then I want to see our new home!"

When Velvet said the condominium complex was down the road from her parents', she had exaggerated some. It was a good three blocks away, further into the residential area of Canterlot and away from the hustle and bustle. It was much quieter than what Crystal was used to, and she rather liked it.

Velvet stopped just outside a door that Crystal guessed was to be theirs. "I've already seen it, so you go in first."

"All right." Crystal turned the doorknob and gasped.

The interior wasn't anything extraordinary. The walls were painted the normal creamy off-white color that every condo Crystal had been into sported. The hardwood flooring seemed to be well taken care of; it even looked recently polished. Three doors were set against two of the walls, open just enough to reveal a bedroom and a bathroom straight ahead and a second bedroom off to the right.

The main area was an open concept of living room and kitchen with enough room for a small dining table. Everything seem to be of a humble size, appropriate for two mares with no sizable incomes to speak of. The living room she was gazing into was perfectly empty, except for one blue-and-chestnut detail smiling at her.

"Welcome home!" Horsey squealed, throwing a bunch of confetti into the air.

"Oh my gosh, Horsey!" The box nearly fell out of Crystal's magic when she rushed forward to tackle Horsey with an excited hug. "I haven't seen you in a month!"

"A month and a half," Horsey corrected, giggling. "But I'm definitely not counting or anything."

Crystal pulled back to look at her with a mixed expression of confusion and happiness. "Are you moving back to Canterlot to live here with us?"

Horsey shook her head. "Oh, no, I'm just visiting to help unpack and celebrate your independence. I'm very happy in Ponyville, thank you very much."

"Aww." Crystal smiled nonetheless, hugged her once more, then took a step back to look around the room. "Well, the movers will be here in an hour, so I guess we'll just have to wait until then."

Velvet trotted over and flopped down onto the floor beside Horsey. "So I won the bet."

Horsey looked at her with wide eyes. "Really?!"

Crystal glanced between them. "What bet?"

Horsey flushed while Velvet explained, "Horsey didn't think you'd tell your parents off." She puffed out her chest. "I knew you had it in you!"

Horsey rubbed the back of her neck, grinning sheepishly and looking down at the floor. "Well, I mean, I couldn't even talk to my parents when I moved to Ponyville. We still haven't talked since. I just assumed—"

"Really? After all this time?" Crystal furrowed her brow. "Not even one letter?"

Horsey's grin started to fall. "Nope. But it's all right. I'm happy just getting letters from you and Velvet."

By the time the three of them had covered the recent events in their lives, the movers showed up as if on cue. Velvet and Horsey sat out of the way, giggling and gossiping about the well-built stallions while Crystal directed her furniture around her new room. It didn't take long, as the stallions were able to carry and move the furniture with ease until she was satisfied with the arrangement.

"Thank you so much!" she chirped as she offered them both a tip of a couple bits each.

"Not a problem, ma'am," one replied. "Anything else we can do for you three ladies?"

Horsey and Velvet erupted into a fit of giggles. Crystal, although she certainly felt her heart throb at the muscular studs standing in front of her offering their services, kept her manners about her and smiled politely. "Oh, no, I think we're fine. Have a great day!"

They both nodded and walked out the door, shutting it behind them. Once they were alone, Crystal's legs quivered and she nearly swooned.

"Oh my goodness, girls, I do declare!" she said in a playfully dramatic tone. "I wanted to have them keep moving my bookcase for hours just to watch those muscles in action." She grinned.

Horsey giggled. "You still like that kind of stallion?"

Velvet rolled her eyes, waving one hoof. "Are you kidding? Crystal leers at guards like a famished timberwolf!"

Crystal stuck her tongue out at the both of them. "It's a victimless crime! Besides, it's not my fault Raven can't go too far from the castle, so I spend a lot of time near lots of guards. Lots of handsome guards," she practically purred.

"How can you tell what they even look like under all that armor?" Horsey tilted her head.

"The fact that they can move with all that armor is enough for me. It must be heavy, so they must be strong." Crystal paused before she laughed. "Anyway, I've got some boxes to unpack!" Her magic lifted the box she had packed herself over and she pulled open the flaps.

Horsey and Velvet scooted closer to peer inside.

"Oh!" Horsey's hooves flew to cover her mouth as she gasped in surprise. "You still have that?!"

Crystal smiled, her gaze immediately landing on the item in question. A silk, white lily mane clip sat at the very top of the pile, as it was too delicate to pile things onto. "Of course. It's when we finally, really became friends."

Horsey stared at her for a silent moment, then slowly smiled. "Yeah. I still remember that day."

"And what's that?" Velvet pointed.

Crystal followed the hoof's direction to the silk-bound book. "Oh! This was from the disappointing date." She laughed. "Midnight bought it for me. It's Brydlestrata by Aristopones."

Velvet's ears perked. "I've not heard of that one."

Horsey shook her head. "Me neither."

"It's really good!" Crystal carried the box into her room to actually start unpacking, the girls following after her. "It's a story about a war, though that's not the focus of the story. Brydlestrata is a cunning, intelligent mare whom all the other mares confide in and listen to."

She started with unloading her favorite books onto the bookshelves first, then the assorted books the movers had packed.

"They all miss their husbands desperately," Crystal continued, "so she concocts a plan to force the war to end by keeping the stallions at home."

"What plan?" Horsey asked. Velvet nodded in mutual curiosity.

Crystal looked over her shoulder with a coquettish grin. "She convinced all the mares to tease their husbands, but not give them any so they'd be too frustrated to go back to war."

Velvet laughed while Horsey just stared in confusion and quietly asked, "Give them any, what?"

Crystal and Velvet looked at each other, both waiting for the other to explain, when it was Horsey's turn to laugh.

"Gotchya!" Horsey shook her head, grinning. "Come on, girls, I'm not that naive anymore!"

Just as Crystal wanted to pry into exactly what that meant, there was a sudden, rapid knocking on the front door. "Who could that be?" She looked at Velvet. "Another surprise of yours?"

Velvet shook her head. The knocking repeated. "I don't know who it is."

Crystal shrugged. "Maybe it's a neighbor or something." She trotted out into the living room and called, "Coming!"

When she opened the door, the pony standing outside startled a yelp out of her. Velvet and Horsey hurried out into the living room at the cry of surprise, but they both froze when they saw the visitor.

"Raven?!" Crystal exclaimed. "What are you doing here? No, forget that question. What's wrong?!" She stepped out of the way to gesture her inside.

Raven stood on the landing with tear-stained cheeks, her chest rising and falling with ragged breaths. She took a few trembling steps to get inside, then dropped her rump down.

"I—I'm sorry, Crystal." She covered her face with a hoof. "I may have caused trouble for you. I went to your parents' house, and they directed me here, but your mother, she—"

Crystal wrapped a foreleg around Raven's shoulders. "Don't worry about that."

Raven sobbed openly as her whole frame trembled with each shuddering breath. "I can't do it anymore. I either can't be with Blueblood, or I can't help you, but I can't do both."

"But why?" Crystal furrowed her brow.

"I'm jealous of Sable," Raven spat out with a bitter laugh. "I'm jealous of their happy ending! Can you believe it? A mare my age being jealous of a fictional character. A fictional character that's supposed to be me!"

Crystal was at a loss for words, so Raven continued in a softer voice when the silence ticked on a moment too long, "I'm sorry. I just—I was reading your draft of the last chapter, and I couldn't stop crying." She touched her hooves to her tear-stained cheeks. "Sable gets her prince, but what about me?"

Crystal rubbed a small circle into Raven's back and looked to the Velvet and Horsey, but neither had anything to offer. "Well," she started. She paused to bite her lip, then pressed on, "Sable doesn't get her happy ending without working for it. She confronted Highborn and got him to be honest about his feelings." She looked back at Raven. "Perhaps that's what you need to do. Stop letting him have all the control."

Raven frowned up at her. "It doesn't work like that. It's not that easy."

"Why not?" Horsey's eyes widened, startled at hearing her own voice. When all eyes turned on her, she continued, "I mean, I don't see why not. If I've learned anything, it's that if you want happiness, you have to grab it yourself."

Raven slowly shook her head. "You don't understand. He's—I—" Her guard started to fall as the tears started again. "I'm scared of his response."

Crystal cleared her throat and looked at Velvet. "Velvet, why don't you and Horsey go get some ice cream from the store?"

"Huh?" the three mares responded in varying degrees of confusion.

"I think we need a mare's night in." She smiled. "And some ice cream is necessary for that. I'll stay with Raven while you two get supplies, if that's all right?"

Raven offered a weak shrug. "I've already lost my dignity here. What is there to argue with at this point?"

Crystal patted Raven on the back, then gestured for Velvet and Horsey to head on. Raven seemed disinclined to speak, and Crystal had no intent of forcing her to. They merely sat together, silent and uncertain of the future.

Normally, Crystal knew just what to say. She had been raised to be quick on her tongue to appease anypony in any situation. This time, however, she had nothing. Every word of comfort that came to mind seemed empty and hollow, and she smothered them all.

When Velvet and Horsey returned nearly half an hour later, they had saddlebags full of containers of ice cream, as well as a special surprise: a bottle of blueberry wine. Glasses were poured and drinks downed. It wasn't long before tipsy, loose lips started to wander them into more personal conversations.

"No way!" Crystal gasped.

"Oh my," Horsey smiled behind a hoof.

Raven giggled and shook her glass at the three of them. "It's true! He did. Only once, but he did. I—I—" She scrunched up her nose. "I just laughed at him. I don't know if he was trying to be romantic or serious, but seeing him with a bow tied over his plot, I couldn't stop laughing. He didn't look at me for weeks after that."

Crystal whispered as loud as a whisper could get, "Psst, you know what? You know what?"

Raven grinned lopsidedly. "What?"

Crystal looked at Velvet and Horsey. "Don't you agree?"

Horsey simply shrugged. Velvet nearly snorted the sip of wine she had just taken and said, "You haven't said anything yet to agree to."

"Pfft." Crystal rolled her eyes. "It's totally obvious." She looked back at Raven. "I just explained this to Velvet and Horsey earlier. What you have to do is tease him, but don't give him any. It'll frustrate him. It ended a war, so why can't it end the war—of your heart?" She wiggled her ears.

Velvet fell off her pillow, laughing. "Crystal!"

Raven levitated the bottle and emptied it into her glass, then took a sip. "I don't even care. If he doesn't want to be with me, then I don't want to be with him. When I see him tomorrow, I'm gonna say—" She leaned in, her face close to Crystal's, her expression serious. "Bluebie, do you want me?"

Velvet and Horsey snickered while Crystal tried to mimic Blueblood's haughty look.

"If you want me, then no more games. Be mine and only mine." She held the seriousness for a moment longer, then laughed and withdrew. "Or, well, not. Who cares?" She finished off her glass and looked at it forlornly. "Who cares."

"Yeah!" Velvet raised her glass in the air. "Forget stallions! Who needs 'em, anyway?"

They all joined in with their own glasses raised in a toast to happy lives without stallions, then laughed. It wasn't the perfect first night as roommates that Crystal had imagined, but all four mares slept soundly on the blankets and pillows that were spread out on the living room floor, each wishing for a better, brighter future.

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