• Published 30th Jun 2015
  • 1,530 Views, 29 Comments

Results May Vary - CoffeeMinion

Derpy and Berry Punch are coerced into starting a single-moms group.

  • ...

Uncomfortable Encounters

Derpy could smell the Silver Stirrup’s pungent odor of barley, rye, and sweat before she'd even pushed through the door. She paused, took a deep breath, and reminded herself that she wasn't the one in trouble with FPS. But this brought more of the bar's alcohol-stench to her muzzle, further rattling her nerves.

She stepped inside and spent a few moments gazing with unfocused eyes as her ears sopped-up the din of ponies talking, laughing, and setting mugs down on wooden tabletops. Though she couldn't see them clearly now, she could still remember the bar's rows of high-backed wooden benches that set a little too close to the tables, forcing all but the slightest-framed ponies to squeeze themselves through the gaps.

Derpy fought to calm herself as she moved toward the side of the room where the long wet-bar would be. But after a few steps, her hoof bumped the leg of a chair she hadn't seen. It gave her the vague impression that some of the old benches had been replaced by more typical tables-and-chairs.

The pony she'd bumped turned to face her. “'Scuse ya there… Derpy?”

She froze. The voice was deep, familiar—she shuddered—too familiar.

The stallion slid his chair back and rose. “I'm sorry, Miss Hooves; pardon my manners.”

Her trepidation about meeting Berry Punch, and her annoyance with Sparkler, melted away. The years melted with them, and she remembered a sliver of time—just an instant, long ago—when he'd held her in his hooves. Her eyes closed as the memory came flooding back.

“Don't see ya in here too often,” he said after a moment of silence.

She opened her eyes, and, praise Celestia, they focused. He stood tall as ever, a crimson giant with a broad face, sandy mane, and dark green eyes that she could lose herself in.

Big Mac cleared his throat. “Uh, fellas, this here's Miss Derpy Hooves. She... delivers the mail just as quick as ya like.”

Derpy looked past him and saw he'd been sitting with two smaller stallions she didn't recognize. The pair leaned closer as they got a look at her eyes. It was a subtle but familiar shift in posture that she knew meant they'd be trying to think of a polite way to ask her about them.

“Oh, uh… Derpy, these guys run our hoofball fantasy league,” Mac said. He gave her a sheepish smile that echoed one she'd seen so long before. “Got an extra seat here if ya want to join us. . .”

Derpy looked away. By chance, her eyes fell on a purple mare seated at the bar. Derpy felt a twinge of anxiety as she recognized the earth pony's dark-pink mane, and the strawberry and grape-cluster of her cutie mark.

She didn't really want to talk to Berry Punch, but at least it gave her an excuse to get away from Mac. “I'm sorry, but… I'm here to meet somepony.”

“Oh,” Mac said, hesitating. Cracks formed in his friendly and confident exterior. “No worries,” he added, giving her a grin she wasn't sure was genuine. “I… I hope you two have a good time.”

“Thank you,” she breathed.

Derpy's feelings were muddled by the awkwardness of the chance meeting, but she managed to keep her eyes focused as she made her way between a few more tables. As Derpy approached the polished wooden bar, Berry Punch turned and fixed her with an unnerving, incredulous smile.

“Looks like you two used to be an item,” Berry said, winking.

Derpy took a deep breath as she settled on the wooden stool next to Berry Punch. She didn't like to think about what she and Mac had been, but she didn't think an item was the right description.

Berry gave her a soft punch on the shoulder. "Hey, if you've got something better going on, I'm not gonna take it personally. You gotta get it where you can, right?"

Derpy furrowed her brow at Berry's unwanted touch. “Big Mac is one of the nicest stallions I know. Probably the nicest. But that's all."

Berry's face twisted in a sly grin. "Cheerilee thought he was more than 'nice' while they were dating. Too bad I couldn't get any details out of her…"

Derpy sighed. Her eyes closed as she picked at the tangle of emotions in her gut. The thought of him was hard enough to bear; thinking of him doing that with another mare was worse. She blushed at where that line of thought was taking her.

Berry's voice shattered her reverie. “Geez, you've really got it bad for him, don't you?” She leaned closer. “So what's the story?”

A bead of sweat formed at Derpy's brow. “I don't want to talk about it.”

Berry rolled her eyes and leaned back. “Oh, come on. You and me are supposed to start this stupid single-moms group, right? Talk about our feelings, and all that crap?”

Derpy blushed. “I… guess?”

“Well, if you wanna know what I’m feeling, it’s that I haven’t gotten any action in a while. And if I’m gonna be stuck here talking about it, I might as well have something to think on.”

Derpy's blush intensified. "I… think we were supposed to talk about… other things."

Berry scoffed. “Let me guess: You're the type that thinks you're some sort of 'bad girl' because you have the itch, right? And Celestia forbid that anypony should discover you go out and scratch it every once in a while.”

"...No,” Derpy said, trying to keep her eyes focused as she struggled to find the right words. “You do know that Dinky is adopted…?”

Berry threw her hooves wide. “You're really that self-righteous? You're gonna sit here and act like you can't even talk about it with anypony?”

Derpy slowly turned her head to look somewhere in the vicinity of Big Mac. "There isn’t much to talk about," she said after a moment's contemplation. "I'm just... waiting for the right guy."

Berry froze. Derpy could see the wheels turning in her head.

“Wait. But that would mean… you've really never?”

Derpy squeezed her eyes shut and remembered one night when, fueled by grief and alcohol, she and Mac had come so very close.

"Ohmigosh, this is so weird. I mean, you're… what, a year or two older than me?”

“I'm not weird,” Derpy growled.

"You kind of are," Berry said. “And that's not even getting into the thing about your eyes…”

Derpy felt a surge of anger. “Don't you get it? The whole point of this group is to help you and Pinchy. Pushing me away won’t get you anywhere.”

“And where am I supposed to get to? I never asked to end up as a single mom.”

Derpy scoffed. “Well, I guess you should've thought of that before you started… 'scratching' your 'itch' with every stallion you ran across!”

“Oh-ho, we’ve got a live one here,” Berry said, leaning back on her seat and gesturing with her hooves. “Behold, Queen Derpy, sitting on her muffin throne, judging all of stallionkind unworthy to defile her!”

For some reason, Berry's words conjured a memory of the moment she'd pushed Big Mac away, so many years before. The sadness in his eyes, the pain of losing his parents, the fear of how his life would change by stepping into the role of taking care of his young sisters… they'd been oddly attractive.

If he hadn't been so kind and handsome, or if they hadn't managed to sneak away with booze so easily, she would have seen it before that moment. And sometimes she still wished she had just done it. But she knew it wouldn't have been love. Desperation, passion, hunger; but not love. And Derpy wanted love.

She'd found a pure and innocent form of it in her love for Dinky. But she wouldn't have minded finding a form that was more… earthy, as well.

“What's the matter?” Berry taunted. “Mac got your tongue?”

“I don't need this,” Derpy said, rising from her stool. “I don’t know what good I was supposed to do here, anyway.” She took a few steps toward the door, but then turned back. “You have a daughter, Berry. I’m sure she loves you, but she’s watching you. What are you teaching her?”

Derpy turned away again. Her eyes were going in and out of focus, but she didn’t care; she set the best course that she could, and held her wings out slightly to help her avoid obstacles by touch.

“Wait,” Berry called from behind her. Derpy stopped, and turned, and got the impression that all of the earth pony’s sarcasm had drained away. “I'm sorry. I'm… just messing with you. It isn't meant to be personal.”

Derpy gave her a flat look. “Am I supposed to believe you work this hard at pushing everpony's buttons?”

“No, Just… ponies who come at me, trying to 'help.'” Berry looked morose. “Like anypony knows what I need 'help' with.”

Derpy walked back over and sat down, but kept her emotional guard up. “Well? What is it, then?”

Berry’s laugh was humorless. “I don't know. You could say my life hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.”

Derpy hesitated. “So what was your plan?”

Berry shook her head. “I didn’t have time to make one.” She pointed toward her flank. “I ended up with this thing pretty early.”

Derpy tried to focus her eyes on Berry's cutie mark. “You mean… the fruit?”

Berry gestured around the room. “What do you think half the stuff they sell here is made from?”

Derpy frowned.

Berry sighed. “I still remember the night I got it. I was just a little older than our girls.” Her voice became mocking, and sickly-sweet. “I just wanted to find out why mommy and daddy liked their drinks so much.”

“You got your cutie mark… from drinking?”

“Our parents sucked.” Berry paused and looked around the room. “Think of all the useful talents everypony else’s cutie mark gives them. And mine's just good for getting sloshed.”

Derpy wanted to say something reassuring, but she couldn't find the words.

“Well, enough about me,” Berry said, obviously faking her smile. “How about you tell me what happened with Big Mac?”

“Why, so you can make fun of me again?”

“No,” Berry said, looking down at the bar. “I just… whatever it is, I didn't even know you'd had something bad like that happen.” She looked up at Derpy. “I mean, you really seem like you've got your life… pretty well put-together, you know?”

Derpy drew back in shock. “You're kidding, right?”

“No,” Berry said, waving her forehooves. “I'm serious. You've had your job for, like, forever… and your own place… and… I mean, you really wanted to be a single mom. And, like, you're making it work.”

Derpy frowned. “No, it's… not like you're thinking. My job's not that great, and sometimes I barely make ends meet. And it isn't like I wanted to be single this long; I just found Dinky before... you know.” Derpy shook her head. “Now, even if I wanted to, having a job and a daughter makes it just about impossible to do anything else.”

“Oh, I totally get you,” Berry said, smiling. “Pinchy always needs help with her homework after school, and when it’s done, she wants to play for hours. I love her, but most nights I’m too tired to go out and get some action after I finally get her to bed.”

Derpy felt a mild sense of revulsion at Berry's frankness about what she wanted. Yet in a way, it was also refreshing to meet somepony who was so open about it. Derpy ended up smiling, and laughing a little; she could at least relate to what Berry was saying about life from after-school to bedtime. “You know, I really haven't talked about this sort of thing with anypony in… well, ever.”

Berry shook her head. “Celestia, that's sad. Let me buy you a drink.”

Derpy looked down. “I… really shouldn't.”

“Why not?” Berry looked as if Derpy had just refused air and sunshine.

Derpy thought back to the way she’d tried to drown her sadness after breaking up with Mac. “I… might not be able… to stop.”

Berry gave a slow nod. “Yeah… I guess I know what that's like.”

Derpy looked up with a cautious smile. “Maybe we could have a couple ciders instead? You know… not the hard kind?”

Berry laughed. “Hey, barkeep! Two ciders down here!”

“Thanks,” Derpy said. “I guess… if you really want to know what happened with Big Mac…”

Berry shook her head. “Forget I asked.” She paused as a tall white mare walked over and set a pair of full mugs before them. “Some things aren't my business.”

“No, I think I'd like to talk about it,” Derpy said. "I mean… most guys just get a look at my eyes, and don’t take me seriously. Or they see how I sometimes break stuff…”

Berry put a hoof on her shoulder. “Come on, most guys are jerks. You'll meet the right one, someday.”

Derpy looked up at her. “You think so?”

“I could set you up with some guys I know.”

Derpy laughed. “Um, no offense, but...”

“No, I'm talking about nice guys. Seriously, I could put in a good word.” She jerked her head toward Big Mac. “Unless you're gonna keep carrying that torch.”

“Oh, I don't know,” Derpy said, looking back at him. “I have to say, I kind of like the big ones...”

Berry broke into a fit of laughter. “Maybe this whole moms-group thing is gonna work out after all,” she managed after a while.

Comments ( 23 )

Well, that was... nice and friendshippy, but ended on a really vague and mild note.
Not to mention that it really does bear explaining why Derpy and Big Macintosh didn't work out despite really liking each other and, by all indications, continuing to like each other after their split. Ah, well.

Well that was... neat.

Thanks! :twilightsmile:

6150871 Fair points, and thank you for making them. I was trying to paint their past relationship as torrid but brief, and to suggest that Derpy broke it off because she was looking for something different than Mac was at the time. I'll admit that could have been made clearer, though.

Ah. No, that wasn't really obvious.
Really, all we're told directly is that Derpy wasn't really in love with him. Which is a fine reason not to make out with someone in a drunken stupor, but it contrasts harshly with the rest of the hints about their relationship, not to mention the way Derpy apparently stumbles over herself at the sight of Macintosh.
There could be a variety of very thoughtful and good reasons for it, of course, and I only bring it up because it was really interesting the way you set it up and subsequently disappointing in the way it was left out. This could have used a Chapter 4.

6151901 rather than another chapter, lets see what how Pinchy and Dinky are getting along with the babysitters.

I know this story's marked complete, but y'all are giving me ideas for an epilogue and/or companion piece. :raritywink:

Life goes on, I guess.

I loved this story! :pinkiehappy: It was such a pleasure editing it and I'm so happy to see how it's progressed. A very solid read, my friend, a very solid read.

This was a sweet story and I enjoyed it very much.

Oh, and a funny thing I thought of when I read this line.

Derpy scoffed. “Well, I guess you should've thought of that before you started… 'scratching' your 'itch' with every stallion you ran across!”

Ooh, shots fired!

6154636 Thank you again. That first draft... sure was something, eh? :pinkiecrazy:

6173928 :rainbowlaugh:

This story feels sort of like a middle piece. Derpy and Berry Punch formed a small bond. Big Macintosh is revealed to be a former boyfriend of sorts. Something that didn't work out but, it feels like both ponies kind of wish it might have to some degree even if they weren't possibly in the same place emotionally at the time. The door is sort of left open for a possible rekindling of the relationship which could provide a bit of conflict depending on how you feel about Big Macintosh's status.

I could see Derpy reluctantly having to rely on Berry Punch and vice versa to watch the foals at different times due to work or other obligations. I could see Derpy having to land a second job to earn a steady income. I could see some good things happening for Derpy and Dinky be they little things like say, Dinky being in a school play and Derpy being so proud of her type of thing, a promotion etc. I could also see this turning in a different direction as well with one of them getting sick for awhile, an accident heck maybe even a bad personal relationship.

Anyway, It was a nice read.

6227972 Thank you, and Indeed, this was very much written as a middle piece. I wanted it to stand at least somewhat well on its own, but I envision there being at least one (and possibly a couple) more stories in this series.

This was a good read. There is a lot of material here for a sequel, possibly several, or a single, long, multi-arc story. No grammatical errors that I noticed, which is a nice change. I find such errors to be very distracting.

7295167 Thank you! :twilightsmile:

If I was to be self-serving, I might encourage you to follow, as I've had plans for a third (and possibly fourth) story in this arc for over a year now. I keep having other story ideas jump in front of it in line, but it'll get written eventually.

7295188 That might be some solid advice. I've been having trouble finding good reads on here recently (I have already consumed so many) and one of my pet peeves is bad grammar/spelling/phrasing, which knocks a fair amount of stories out. You, however, have impressed me so far.

7295202 Thank you so much! :pinkiehappy: Indeed, my stories are not perfect, but I aspire to write things of quality.

Even the crackier stuff. :derpytongue2:

This story is a punch to the nuts compared to most stories involving Derpy. Usually she's the comedy/bumbling sidekick character, even if she's supposed to be in the lead role, but you make them believable as single mothers.

Thank you for the kind comment on this old thing. :twilightsmile: That reminds me, I had always meant to write another story in this series but still haven't quite gotten to it. I did write a story that isn't directly connected but that draws heavy inspiration from those plans, though.

Neat (I wonder how many ponies realize that's a technical bar keeping term for a shot poured directly from the bottle to the glass at room temperature? Well, okay, you can use a measuring device...). I do hope you eventually get to making more follow up stories in this series, unlike a lot of Derpy/Dinky fiction out there you actually have believable plots (well, believable in the pony world, in the human world I'm not so sure how easily all this would work out).

Wait wait WAIT! THAT’S the end?!


Not buying it.

This must continue.

I originally wrote this and A Dinky Little Problem because of what I envisioned for story #3 in the series. I’ve also had an epilogue to this story sitting planned-out since right after it went live. Maybe I’ve been afraid to mess with the series, though, because the tone and purpose of the third would be very different...

Login or register to comment