• Published 3rd Jan 2017
  • 5,474 Views, 277 Comments

The Wooing of Sunset Shimmer - Rose Quill

Sunset and SciTwi continue to explore the depths of their relationship.

  • ...

Chapter Two - Dinner at House Sparkle

Rarity was prompt, alert, and knocking at my door at nine. I, however, had barely oozed out of bed and put on real pants.

“Rarity, it’s nine AM on a Saturday,” I said as I wiped the sleep from my eyes. “Dinner isn’t until tonight.”

“It’s never too early to work on the perfect ensemble, Sunset," she touted as she swept into my apartment. "Now, show me first to your closet, I want to see what I have to work with.”

I pointed to the closet and made my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. I heard the fashionista start humming to herself just under the sound of clothes hangers scraping along the rack.

“Is this it, darling?” she asked when I returned.

I shook my head. "I have some things up in the loft, not really seasonally proper. What you’re looking at is mostly my winter choices.”

“Ah, you work with a capsule wardrobe! Simply marvelous!” she said before bounding up the stairs to my loft. I blinked as she squealed. As I caught up with her, she had slung a few dresses over her arm and was poking through sweaters and blouses.

“I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d find much to work with, but this is simply amazing!” She put the dresses across the railing and pulled a few blouses and skirts off, holding them next to each other. “Why haven’t you worn more of these?”

“Because some of those are summer wear, Rarity,” I said, leaning against the rail. “We spent most of this summer at camp and shortly after we got back my mother died. Not exactly the time to dress pretty.”

She pulled a mass of black fabric with heather gray accenting from a flat box before frowning. “This isn’t shaped properly,” she said, turning it about.

I smiled. “It is if you’re a mare,” I said, taking the dress and holding it gingerly. It held memories of different sorts, still-fading pangs of grief and pain from its association with my mothers’ death but also the joy of my time spent getting to know Twilight better.

“That’s a dress from Equestria?” she asked, eyes wide.

“Made by you, as a matter of fact,” I said, handing the dress back. She held it for a moment.

“Would it be ok if I examined this sometime?” She looked at the gem-studded neckline. “Think of what I could learn from a more experienced me.”

“Be careful with it, please,” I said. “It’s got…”

“Sentimental value, yes,” she said, setting it down gently. She grabbed up the dresses, skirts, slacks, and blouses she had singled out and headed back down the stairs. I followed, a little daunted by the number of items she had taken with her.

“I’m still confused,” I said as she arranged the items on my couch. “Even with the number of combinations possible with your choices, it won’t take ten hours to pick out the clothing for tonight.”

“Oh, heavens no!” she exclaimed, swapping a skirt with a pair of slacks to go with a certain blouse.

“After this, I’m going to help with shoes and accessories.”

I opened my mouth to repeat my previous statement when she continued on.

“Also, I have ideas for your makeup and hair.”

I looked skyward after seeing the manic gleam in her eyes.

Sweet Celestia, what have I wrought?

I pulled up to Twilight’s house a few minutes early. My stomach was twisting so hard if I found a way to harness it I could power a small town. I gripped the steering wheel of my car, leaning forward to rest my forehead on it.

Breathe, Sunset. Breathe.

I sat up straight and glanced in the mirror to check my hair out of nervous habit that had developed the moment it had been coiffed earlier in the day.

Rarity had curled it and pinned it up in a complex looking pattern that was actually pretty simple. When I got home, pulling a few bobby pins would release it from its coif. The makeup she had done was subtle but had somehow made my eyes look slightly larger and more vibrant.

I took another deep breath and popped my door open, swiveling around to get out. My boots crunched in the light dusting of snow as I walked up to the door, hunching slightly from the cold starting to leach through the leggings I was wearing.

Shining Armor opened the door, looking at me in surprise at my getup. “Hey, Sunset,” he said, standing aside. “Get inside before you freeze.”

“Thank you,” I said, stepping inside and shrugging off my coat. Underneath I had a long green tunic over the black leggings, topped with a soft red cardigan. A pair of plain studs adorned my earlobes and a single bracelet on my wrist that held a charm similar to my cutie mark.

“You look pretty good,” he said, taking my coat and hanging it up. “I think you both might have overdressed a bit, though.”

I took in his simple sweatshirt and jeans and blushed as I slipped off my boots. “Wait, what do you mean we overdressed?”

He smiled and indicated the room just up ahead. "Twily got dressed up all fancy just for this dinner." As we entered what turned out to be a den, I saw an older couple talking to Cadence, all of whom were in casual clothing. Cadence had on holiday-themed clothing, down to a red skirt with a white hem and a black waistband. The Santa hat on her head only heightened the look.

“Sunset’s here,” Shining said. “Is Twily still fussing about things?”

“She’s better now,” Cadence said, standing and coming to me to offer me a hug. “So wonderful to see you again, Sunset.”

I hugged her back. “Nice hat,” I said, smiling.

She adjusted it slightly. “Thank you!” she said as she slipped her arm around Shining, the ring on her finger glittering. Twilight hadn't mentioned that, it must have been a recent event.

Shining gestured at the older couple. “Sunset, this is my mother, Twilight Velvet, and my father, Night Light.” They both rose at the introductions.

“I’m very pleased to meet both of you,” I said, nervously glancing down at my feet. Why was this nerve-wracking? It's just introductions.

“Oh, don’t be shy,” Twilight Velvet said, leaning forward and giving me a hug. “We don’t bite!”

Night Light looked me up and down for a second, a slight scowl on his face. I started to worry before he nodded and smiled. “I can see why my daughter isn’t buried in books all the time now.” He waved towards a room off to the side. “Dining room is in there, and unless something goes catastrophically wrong in the next ten minutes, Twily should have dinner ready soon.”

We sat down, sipping water while we waited. Twilight Velvet leaned forward slightly.

“So, Sunset,” she began. “What are your plans for after graduation?”

“I haven’t really decided yet,” I said. “I’ve been accepted to a few universities based on academics alone, but I haven’t officially decided which school I'll pick, let alone a major.” I fidgeted, worried about how they would take the next statement. “I'm trying to decide between becoming a painter like my mother and sisters or an author.”

The older woman’s eyes lit up at that. Shining and Night Light both groaned while Cadence hid her smile with her hand.

“An author? That’s fantastic!” she said. “Do you have a preference? Fiction or non-fiction?”

I blinked in surprise as Velvet kept going with questions. Cadence leaned forward.

“She’s an accomplished author herself,” she explained. “And she tends to get animated about it.”

I looked at the older woman again, seeing the same look of glee as her daughter when it came to some scientific fact or an interesting anecdote.

Night Light reached over and placed his arm on his wife’s forearm. She blinked and looked at him, a blush creeping up her neck. “I did it again, didn’t I?”

“Yes, but we won’t hold it against you,” he said with a smile. He turned to me.

“So your mother was a painter?” he said.

“Yeah,” I said, a small pang in my heart. “She did a lot of murals back where I’m from. My sisters followed in her footsteps, one focusing on restoration.” I took a hasty sip of water to hide the sadness behind the words.

Night Light frowned for a second, then his expression softened. “Ah, I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s still a bit early yet to talk about it. Sometimes curiosity gets the better of me, I'm afraid."

“It’s alright,” I said. “It was just a little awkward.”

“What about your father? What does he do?”

“I never knew my father,” I said.

That brought the room to silence dead enough to hear something sizzling in what I assumed was the kitchen.

I shrugged, not wanting the silent tension to hang any more than it had to. “He passed when I was still a fo…young.” I cursed at my slip, hoping no one had caught it. “But from what I’ve been told, he was a cartographer. He died when a cliffside he was surveying collapsed underneath him.”

The mood was a somber and a bit awkward as we all sat there for a few moments, me lost in memories and them uncomfortable about bringing it up. I was about to speak again when Twilight Velvet touched her husband’s arm. “Why don’t we go help Twily, Night?”

They rose and went into the kitchen.

They were no sooner out of the room that Shining turned towards me. “Sorry about my dad, Sunset,” he said, a sheepish look on his face. “He tends to dig for answers without even realizing it sometimes.”

“What does he do, so I don’t set off another excitement session?”

“He’s a teacher,” Cadence said. “Physical Science and Chemistry with an AP Physics class.”

I smiled and giggled. “That explains a lot,” I said. The other two chuckled too.

Twilight came in bearing a large platter loaded with cubed and buttered potatoes. The cow-print oven mitts clashed with her plum skirt and yellow ocher blouse, but the smile on her face made her beautiful. A necklace hung low, bearing something that resembled what her counterpart’s cutie mark looked like. She was barefoot, like the rest of us, and had on a pair of sheer stockings. She set the plate on the table and gave me a peck on the cheek before turning and skipping back into the kitchen, prompting what was probably a goofy smile on my face.

Cadence smiled at my look. “Someone’s in loooo-oove,” she sing-songed, leaning forward.

“Oh, hush, Cadence,” Twilight Velvet said kindly, coming in with a salad bowl, Night Light behind her with what appeared to be some sort of vegetable medley. “Leave the girls alone.”

“And the pièce de résistance,” the younger child of the family said as she came in and sat a plate down with rectangular slices of something coated with breadcrumbs and some sort of glaze. “Ginger Tempeh fillets!”

“Tempeh?” I asked

“It’s similar to tofu, just more cake-like in consistency.” Night Light said, sitting down. “Twily said you were a vegetarian.”

Plates were passed around to be loaded with various helpings of food. When I received my plate back it had a few cubes of buttered and herbed potatoes, which made my mouth water with the aroma. Next to them sat a scoop of what appeared to be succotash made with corn, lima beans, and tomatoes. The tempeh sat in the crowning position, the aroma of ginger and garlic drifting up to my nose. A smaller plate with a simple spring mix salad sat to the side.

“Bon Appetit!” Twilight said as she picked up her fork.

Dinner had gone rather well, talk sticking to simple topics like tests, classroom antics, administration headaches from both sides of the table, editor demands and silly jokes. After the plates were cleared and cleaned, we all retired to the living room and sat by a fire Night Light stoked.

Then came a topic that I had worried about.

“What are you doing for Christmas, Sunset?” Night Light asked.

I hesitated, shifting my arm from underneath where Twilight was tucked against me."I'm not sure yet," I hedged. “I'm going to be leaving in a little over a week to see my sisters back home and spend a week before they leave to spend the holidays with their future in-laws. Twilight was invited too if that’s ok.”

“Christmas isn’t for three weeks, Sunset,” Twilight Velvet said. “No reason you couldn’t go there and spend Christmas Eve here.”

I was flabbergasted. “But,” I stammered. “Here? I'm touched, but you barely know me. Christmas is kind of a family thing, and I don't want to intrude.”

“One, you mentioned your family lived a ways off and that they were splitting the holidays with their in-laws,” Night Light said, ticking points off on his fingers. “Two, you’d obviously be back before Christmas Eve if you were leaving in a week, foregoing anything disastrous.”

He smiled. “And three, they both asked if you could,” he said, indicating his daughter and soon to be daughter-in-law.

I looked down at the bespectacled girl, raising an eyebrow.

She fidgeted. “I may not have been completely honest,” she said. “I talked to Cadence and she brought in Mom and Dad. They agreed only if they met you first and approved, and Cadence suggested a dinner.”

“Then I guess you approve?” I asked Night Light a little trepidatiously. Hope beat in my chest, making my heart bounce off my ribs.

“Well, it appears that you’re on our couch after a nice dinner with my daughter cuddled into you half asleep,” he said, a small smile on his lips. “The evidence would seem to support that hypothesis.”

I exhaled in relief, provoking a fresh round of laughter.

Author's Note:

When Rarity mentioned a capsule, she meant a Capsule Wardrobe, a system where you operate with a set number of pieces each season, usually around twenty pieces, not counting things like jackets or other weather gear. Each season you rotate out the items that don't work with the season and rotated in those that do, maintaining the rough count. In this example, Sunset had traded out tanks, thin tees, and shorter skirts and pants for thicker and warmer garments like sweaters, sweatshirts, and jeans.