• Published 26th Mar 2017
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Signals Crossing - Madame Ponka



Two struggling musicians fall in love.

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Chapter I - Duet

Heartstrings

Another day, another 3 bits an hour. Business was booming today, likely because of my “extravagant” performance last night. Everypony was clamoring to meet me and tell me how talented and wonderful I am. I simply faked a smile at them and responded with a thank you.

My heart jumped for joy as I saw her enter the cafe thirty minutes before my shift ended. She smiled as she trotted up to the counter and ordered a couple cinnamon rolls. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her as she sat at the table and worked on her music. I counted down the minutes with anticipation.

When my shift finally ended, I trotted over to her table and sat down beside her.

“Good evening, Lyra,” she smiled. Her voice always made my heart leap with joy.

“Heh… hello, Octavia. It’s, uh, great to see you again,” I said awkwardly.

Octavia giggled. “Same to you. It’s been such a wonderful day. Best I’ve been in a long time. Thanks again for… for being there last night. It means a lot to me. These past few months have been horrific, and it’s wonderful to get a touch of happiness.”

I smiled at her. “I’m glad to hear that. Today’s been… extremely boring, I must say. Like every other day, I suppose.”

She sighed. “I know that feeling. I’ve been experiencing it for the past few months. One day after the other—though I’m surprised you found today boring. Business seems to be booming.”

“Only means more orders to keep track of. If anything, it makes it even more stressful.” I took a sip of my coffee.

“I know what you mean. I used to work at a hayburger restaurant when I attended university. Let’s just say that I vastly prefer making music.” She chuckled.

I grinned again. “Same here. So, what have you been doing since you left the quartet?” She looked a tad bit uncomfortable when I mentioned the quartet. I almost felt bad for asking her.

“Oh, uh… just composing a couple songs in my free time. It’s made me feel a lot better recently.”

“My mother always said that music was the best medicine.”

Octavia smirked at me. “Did she really say that?”

“Not at all. Poor lass could never tell the difference between a bass and treble clef. The point still stands, though. Nothing like plucking a few strings to push the hard times away.”

She nodded. “Good way to put it,” she said, taking a bite of a donut. Sensing her discomfort, I pushed away the topic of the quartet.

“Gotta love my mother, though. She’s a photographer for the Canterlot Times, you know. Everything’s a frame to her. Have you met her before?”

“I think she took a few pictures of me when I did a performance a month ago. Were you there?”

“The one where you almost broke down playing that last song? Who could forget such a wonderful performance.” I smiled.

“Heh. Yeah, I always get emotional when playing that song…” She gingerly took another sip of her lemonade.

“You feeling alright? You seem a bit tense.”

She nodded, albeit a bit unsure. “Yeah. Just… tired is all. Had a long day.”

I could tell she was uneasy. She shuffled her hooves awkwardly and finished her dinner quickly. “Well, don’t let me keep you here. Go and rest if you need to.”

“No, no. I can hold out for a bit longer.”

“What made you so exhausted anyways? Must have taken a lot out of you.”

“A combination of me not getting enough sleep and working too much on my music. It’s quite tiresome, making music.”

“I know that feeling all too well, and I sometimes I think that it’s not even worth it.” Oh, there I go moping on about music again.

“How so?” She looked at me with a curious gaze. Celestia damn it. I shouldn’t have opened my dumb mouth.

“I mean, I’m rarely going to have a bigger audience than last night. And even when I get to play in front of them, it usually ends up a mess. Ponies may like it, but they’ll forget about it in a day’s time, and I’ll go back to making mediocre music.”

“Just because ponies may forget your music doesn’t mean it can’t have an impact.”

I scoffed at such an idea. “How ridiculous. What good is music if you’ll just end up being ignored by everypony else?”

Octavia decided to change the subject. “Let’s muse about the philosophy of music later. Want to trot home together?”

“Yeah, sure. Sounds nice.”

We both got up from our table and left the cafe, donning my jacket as we left. The sun was setting at this time, cloaking the land in an orange-red hue. Ponies were trotting home from their daily routines, and foals were heading into their homes at their mothers’ call. My mind reflected back to my fillyhood at this sight. Spending my summers with my friends and playing our silly little pretend games. Strumming my lyre like a foal picks at the flowers. Time seemed to go by so slow back then…

“How long have you lived in Ponyville? Sounds like you’ve been here for a while.” Her sudden question awakened me from my pondering.

“Oh, uh… a few years. I used to live in Canterlot for most of my fillyhood. I moved here after my university years due to financial reasons. Took a while to get used to this place. It was really damn boring here before Nightmare Moon returned and threw a hissy fit. After Princess Twilight came along of course, this place had some life injected into it. Although most of that’s due to tourism.”

“I see… were you friends with Princess Twilight?”

Did she really had to bring her up?

“I was. We still keep in touch, but we’ve grown closer apart from each other since she came here, along with most of my Canterlot friends.”

“Why’s that?” I bit my lip as I debated whether or not to tell the truth.

“I just want to give her a little space. She’s a full-blown princess. She needs to focus on her duties. As for my other friends, they live all the way in Canterlot, so keeping in touch can be a bit difficult. Plus they have their own lives that keep them busy.”

“That’s unfortunate. Have you made any other friends?”

“Mostly some co-workers. Ponyville’s a fine town, and there’s many wonderful ponies here, but I’m not the most extroverted of mares. Bon Bon’s a great friend, though. Have you met her?”

She smiled at me. “She makes some of the best chocolate in town, but I don’t know her personally.”

I smiled back. “Well, her name is Bon Bon for a reason. I’ll have to introduce her to you sometime. You’d get along well with her.”

She nodded. “I’d like that.”

“Great!” I racked my brain for other random subjects to bring up. “Uh, anyways, how’re your parents doing?”

“Yeah, they’re doing okay, I guess. Mum’s still doing those music recitals in Canterlot, and father’s still painting trees or whatever painters do.”

“Your mother’s also a musician?”

“Piano, specifically. The entire family’s kind of artistic, actually. Brother’s a writer, grandmum was an actress, aunt’s a stage director.”

“Quite varied, I must say. Mother’s a photographer, as you know. Dad’s also a painter. I have a cousin who likes flowers.”

“Only child?”

I nodded. “Mom decided one was enough, I guess. I don’t mind it, though. It was quite calm when I was growing up.”

“Lucky you.”

At last we came to her house. The sun had already set, and night was falling over the town. I decided to hug her as I said goodbye. She was surprised, but she warmed up to it. I smiled at her and bid her farewell. As she walked inside, I turned and trotted away.

The entire town was engulfed in silence, something that gave me a serene feeling that night.

~

Melody

We continued meeting each other for the next couple days until the weekend finally arrived. We had decided to meet up at Bon Bon’s candy shop, much to Lyra’s eagerness. When I woke, I quickly got up, did my quick morning routine, and galloped out the door. I trotted through the streets of Ponyville and came across the recognizable little shop on the street corner with the large model chocolate truffle on top.

I went inside and was immediately greeted with the pungent smell of fresh chocolate and taffy. As it was quite early in the day, there weren’t many ponies savoring said sweets. I did, however, spot Lyra talking with a cream-colored mare with a blue and pink mane.

“Ah, there she is. C’mon over, Octavia!” I trotted over to her in response.

“Miss Melody, this is my good friend Bon Bon. Bon Bon, this is Octavia Melody. I met her a few days ago and we’ve become quite good friends within the past few days.”

I shook her hoof. “Pleasure to meet you, Miss Bon Bon.”

“Likewise. I’m glad you could come and visit. Please, have a seat. It won’t get busy for a couple hours, so I have time to chat.”

Lyra took a seat at a nearby table. I sat next to her and Bon Bon sat across from us. A young pegasus waitress trotted over to our table with a notepad. “Welcome to Savory Street. We got all kinds of delectable and homemade confectioneries. Just name it and you’ll get it straight away.”

“The usual,” Bon Bon replied.

“Give me the best cherry sundae you can whip,” Lyra said.

“Um… I’d like a few chocolate strawberries and some blueberry custard.”

The mare wrote the orders down in her notepad. “Coming right up,” she said before bolting towards the kitchen.

Bon Bon chuckled. “Gotta love Scootaloo. Her first job and she’s a natural at it.”

“Glad to see that she’s still working hard. Business running well?” Lyra asked.

“For the most part. Budget gets a bit tight at times, but we manage.”

“Good. How’s the husband?”

“As wonderful as always. He’s a bit busy with his construction work, but he’s doing great. Oh, my apologies Octavia. Didn’t mean to ignore you or anything.”

My ears perked up. “O-Oh, no you’re fine.”

“Great! How long ago did you meet Lyra?”, she asked enthusiastically.

“A few days ago. She played at the cafe Monday night and I trotted home with her. I’ve talked with her every evening since.”

“I bet you two get along very well, what with you two so into music and all.”

I tried my hardest to not blush. “Uh, yeah… we’re getting along just fine.” Lyra nodded in agreement.

Scootaloo trotted back in with a tray of delicious desserts. My mouth was practically watering at the chocolate strawberries and blueberry custard. She passed the plate to me and replied with a simple thanks.
After passing out the desserts, she whipped back into the kitchen. I took a bite of my custard.

“Any good?”, Bon Bon asked as she munched on a dark chocolate cupcake.

“It’s marvelous!”, I exclaimed.

“I’m glad to hear that. The blueberry custard is a personal favorite of mine.”

“Thanks, Bon Bon.” I smiled.

“You’re quite welcome. And don’t worry about the bill. It’s on me today.” She grinned back.

“That’s awfully nice of you. I appreciate it.”

“So, how’s life been treating you lately?”

I tried my hardest not to roll my eyes. “Kicking my flank, but recently it’s getting a bit better.”

“Oh dear. I’m sorry to hear that, but it’s good that you’re getting better. Anything I can do to help?”

I mustered a weak smile. “No, you’re fine. This wonderful dessert is good enough.” I jumped a little as I felt Lyra pat me on the back. She looked a bit concerned at that.

“Sorry. Been a bit on edge for the past few weeks.”

“No, no. You’re fine,” I giggled. “Just be careful. I get a bit startled easily.” The two nodded. I felt a bit embarrassed, but I tried to push that aside. “So, uh, how long have you two known each other?”

“Ever since Lyra moved to Ponyville years ago. She was very nervous at first, but she grew accustomed to the small town feel very quickly. Of course, Ponyville was a lot smaller back then.”

“I lived here for a while before I moved to Canterlot to kickstart my career with the quartet. I remember when it was just a tiny rural town right next to a deadly forest. Now it’s gotten quite the reputation in recent years, thanks to Princess Twilight, of course.”

“Sometimes you need a few world-threatening villains to spice things up around here. I remember when Discord came to town the first time. My mane and tail turned into cotton candy.”

I giggled. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”

Bon Bon scoffed. “Not when it’s stale!” I only giggled harder. “I’ve had a fear of cotton candy ever since,” she joked.

“Ponyville always seems to be the center of attention these days” Lyra said, “especially ever since it’s moved away from its agricultural roots. Poor town’s grown a lot over the past nine years. Population must be… around 5,000, I believe? Was only a thousand before Luna returned,.”

“Damn… was it really that long ago? It’s amazing how fast time goes.”

“I remember ordering a fresh batch of apples from Sweet Apple Acres every week and visiting Twilight every now and then.”

“Gotta love this old town and how far it’s come,” I said. “What was once a cluster of huts is now a small yet bustling metropolis. Even after the Elements of Harmony moved on to bigger and better things, it still kept growing.”

“How was Canterlot the last time you were there?”, Bon Bon asked.

“Oh, same old stuff. Stuffy old rich ponies drinking crappy tea. Newer buildings, old habits, you could say. Frankly, I don’t mind coming here in a way. It’s a nice change of pace.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re doing alright. Feel free to come to me if you ever need help with anything. I know we just met, but I’d consider you a friend. You seem like a smart and talented young mare. Oh, I’d love to see you play, by the way, although we don’t exactly have a big stage like the cafe.”

I chuckled. “Thanks, Bon Bon.”

Well, I guess that makes two friends.

~

A week or so later, we trotted through the outskirts of town. We decided to shake things up and take a walk through the more secluded areas. Just me, Lyra, and the aroma of an autumn-time lake.

“So that’s the story of how terrible I am at playing the saxophone,” she explained to me.

I giggled. “Well, there goes my hopes of you serenading me with your lovely jazz talents.”

“Yeah, I’ll stick with my lyre, thank you very much.”

We decided to sit on a small hill by the lake. The sun was gently setting over the city of Ponyville. You could see the entirety of the town as it began to power down for the night. The violet sky blanketed our world, Luna’s wonderful moon starting to rise. We scooted closer to each other, basking in each other’s company.

“Never ceases to amaze me, the slow setting of the sun,” she said to me. “I used to watch it with my father all the time. He told me to always look towards the sunset in times of trouble. I don’t exactly know what that means, but I know he said it.”

I leaned in closer, her warmth making me feel safe and secure. She looked at me and smiled. I almost teared up right then and there. She stared into my eyes and brushed away a mane curl. My heart was beating frantically as she held me in her hooves.

At that moment, we were the only things that mattered to us.

We gazed into each other’s eyes again.

“Goddess, this is so damn pretentious,” she giggled. I blushed, snuggling up close to her.

“Well, now what?”, I asked. The sun had finally set and the warmth of the day gave way to the dark of the night.

“I dunno. I’ve never been a romantic kind of mare.” She blushed. “Let’s just savor the moment. We can worry about it later. Now’s the time to relax.”

I nodded in agreement. “Thanks, Lyra. I know we’ve only known each other for a short time, but it means so much to finally have somepony who understands. My life’s been a mess for the past few months, and you’ve helped me a lot over these past two weeks.” I tried to hold back the tears to no avail. “I… I love you, Lyra.”

Lyra gently pulled me into a hug, making me feel safe and loved. “I love you too, Octavia. Don’t ever leave me…”

“I won’t.”

It was the happiest night of my life.

Comments ( 3 )

8420876
Thanks so much! ^_^

Was expecting an OctaScrach fic, but it was still a nice read :)

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