• Published 12th Jan 2018
  • 4,376 Views, 124 Comments

I Am Awkward (Yellow) - J Carp

Two shy, yellow ponies meet and hit it off. But friendship problems don't stop just because romance is on the table.

  • ...

Big Yellow Taxi

Twilight gave her best optimistic smile, but she could feel the first meeting of the Ponyville Scientific Salon slipping away from her. She had only learned one thing so far: It was possible, solely through facial expressions, to communicate the idea "I will never forgive you for letting Maud choose the article for us to discuss." Nearly every other member of the salon seemed very eager to teach her this fact.

Maud carefully finished her too-boring-to-determine-if-it's-even-relevant musings. Cheerilee, whose benign nature was apparently completely unflappable, smiled at the geologist. "Um. So... that's very. Nice. About the shale. But... I'm not sure I fully understood the part in the article about the mica?" She looked around to the group optimistically. "Maybe we could all talk about that? The mica part?"

Maud opened her mouth to speak, but Starlight suddenly slammed her hoof down on the table. "No. I can't. I can't. Maud?" She gazed at her friend imploringly. "I love you, but Maud. I can't with the mica. Not any more. Not after twenty pages describing mica and slump."

"Um, yes," Doc piped up, clearly relieved the conversation was going this way. "I grant that this was written by the pre-eminent scholars of mica slump, but I'm afraid this article was like jumping in the deep end of a pool. I didn't have the basic knowledge to really help me understand their findings."

"I didn't read it at all!" Trixie boasted shamelessly, the ridiculous 'intellectual' glasses she insisted on wearing slipping halfway off her face.. "But slump is a funny word."

Twilight held up a hoof. "Hey, everypony, this article was challenging, sure, but that's what this salon is for, right? Discussing new research? Branching out and learning new things?"

"Not about mica," Starlight protested. "I have a mica limit." (Maud snorted in amusement from that for some reason Twilight thought she might understand if she was a pre-eminement mica scholar). "I know Maud's field is important, and I believe her that this article is important, but I just can't retain anything from this, and I can't spend my Saturday trying to discuss it."

Twilight looked around helplessly, worried conflict would wreck her very first salon. "Moon Dancer? You think we should keep discussing the article, right?"

Moon Dancer looked at Twilight seriously. "What kind of music does Fluttershy like?" she asked.

Twilight's mouth fell open as Trixie chirped with laughter. "Moon Dancer!" Twilight sputtered, "We can't..."

"Twilight, it's okay," Starlight said calmly. "I think we're all fine with moving on."

Twilight looked helplessly at Maud, who simply gazed back. "I want to talk about Fluttershy and Moon Dancer," she said. "They're cute."

"Okay, fine," Twilight sighed. She turned her attention back to her school friend. "What were you asking?"

"What kind of music does Fluttershy like? She's never mentioned."

"Um, I actually think she mostly just listens to birds."


"Yeah. Just birds. You know, chirping and singing."

Moon Dancer frowned. "I can't get any birds," she mused. "Does anypony know of any musicians that sound like birds?"

"I heard Sapphire Shores compared to a flamingo recently," Doc offered. "But I don't think it was a compliment."

Cheerilee nudged Maud. "Hey, I bet I know what your favorite music is," she giggled. "Rock music, right?"

"I like old-school hip-hop," Maud said. She stared, impassive. "Hoof-Tang Clan is forever."

"Um. I see."

Moon Dancer rubber her front hooves together anxiously. "We're having a date at my house tonight, so I wanted to pick up something she'd like. I've, um, never had a mare over before, so I want it to go really well."

"You've never had a mare over before?!" Trixie barked, seeming legitimately flabbergasted. She recovered and gave an apologetic smile. "I'm not saying there's anything bad about that, but..." She thought for a moment about how to complete that sentence and then gave up. She shrugged.

"Different ponies move at different speeds," Twilight said defensively. She paused, suddenly nervous. "...Actually, I was wondering something about that, and this might be the right group to ask. Has anypony noticed that it might be especially hard for... the academically inclined to find a special somepony?"

"Hmm," Starlight mused, scratching her chin. "I don't know. I spent most of my life focused on, um, being an evil villainous mastermind. I never really put much effort into dating."

Cheerilee smiled kindly, as was her habit. "I'm not really a real academic, but I've never noticed a problem. Ponies seem to like it when I talk about things I learned getting my degree."

"I feel like I do pretty well," Doc said, trying half-heartedly to be humble.

"I dated a rock, once," Maud said. There was a long pause. "He was a really gneiss guy." There was a very long pause. "That was a joke. I've never dated a rock."

Trixie smirked. "Twilight, are you just talking about yourself?"

"No!" Twilight burst out, her face reddening. "I mean, yes, I haven't dated anypony. But... like, Princess Celestia is single, and she's an academic!"

Moon Dancer sighed. "She's also Princess Celestia. You can't really generalize from her."

Cheerilee's expression shifted from gracious to benevolent, then to warm. "I think I read once that academics tend to settle down later in life? It makes sense that more introverted or ambitious ponies would be less interested in dating."

Twilight nodded. "Now that I think about it, none of my close friends have had special someponies except Fluttershy and Moon Dancer," she mused. "They're all building their businesses and things like that." She sighed. "It still seems like a really big milestone. What's it feel like, Moon Dancer?"

Her friend thought for a moment, then shrugged. "Nervous-great? Anxious-fun? It's hard to describe. But it's not half as hard as friendship was, to tell you the truth."

"Trixie can confirm that scientifically," Trixie piped up. "Romance is easy. Just ping pang poom, and you got it. But friendship? That doesn't make any sense half the time."

Twilight very briefly considered asking what 'ping pang poom' meant, but she decided against it. "Maybe," she said, unconvinced.

Cheerilee sat up straighter in her chair and somehow commanded the attention of the whole room. "I have something I always tell my students when they're at the age they start getting crushes on each other," she said brightly. "These are just fleeting, weak feelings, but the kids think they're just the most important thing in the world, and it happens very suddenly.

"I always try to tell them, 'Ponies are just ponies.' Do you know what I mean? Every relationship you have with a pony is special, no matter what kind of relationship it is. Whether it's your best friend or your wife or your cart repairer, it's always the same thing: you and another pony. I think it helps keep them from getting too carried away."

Starlight smiled. "I like that," she said.

"Me too," Moon Dancer added, nodding smartly. "Thanks, everypony." She glanced at the clock and then looked apologetically at Twilight. "Do you think we've reached an ending point for the salon? We've already gone over the time, and I only have a few hours before my date tonight."

Twilight sighed. "I guess so. I hope everypony had a good time?"

"Oh, it was great, great," Trixie said dismissively, trotting over to Moon Dancer. She nudged her New Good Friend in the side. "Hey, you need any ping pang poom advice, I'm your pony."


Maud walked up and stood on Moon Dancer's other side. "I can tell you interesting things to say about rocks," she offered.

"Please leave me alone."

Trixie looked over at Maud with pride. "We're really good at making friends!" Maud just nodded.

Twilight considered interjecting into their conversation. But she had learned to err on the side of letting others be friends with Trixie if they wanted, and she was unable to determine if Moon Dancer's staid distress was facetious or genuine.

"Hey," Trixie said, "Who's your favorite member of the Hoof-Tang? I like Equestra Deck. 'I bomb atomically...'"

Maude considered the question seriously. "I like Ghostface Cantah."

Doc walked over. "Pasture Killa is very underrated," he said.

"I admit, I haven't listened to them much," Cheerliee said, trotting close. "I really only know B.R.E.A.M. Which one raps on that?"

They all stood together, having their animated, baffling conversation. Twilight caught a glimpse of Moon Dancer's expressionless face in the middle of the cluster of ponies.

Moon Dancer made eye contact. "Twiiiliiiight," she mouthed, "heeeeelllllllp."

"Ffffffffluttershy!" The greeting echoed through Sugarcube Corner like a sonic boom. Fluttershy stood in the doorway, nonplussed, while Pinkie Pie just waved at her from behind the counter. "Fluttershy! Hi! Hi, Fluttershy!"

Eventually, Fluttershy recovered and finished coming through the door. "Um, hi, Pinkie."

"It's so good to seee you!" Pinkie said, grin overwhelming her face. "Didja come to get something scrumptious?"

Fluttershy nodded. "Well, you know Moon Dancer doesn't really like to have ponies over to her place?"

"I did know that!" Pinkie confirmed. "It's in my little black party book." She grabbed from nowhere and held up a notebook open to a dog-eared page. It had a crayon drawing of Moon Dancer, and scribbled next to it was, "LIKES: Books, Minuette crew, Jelly beans, Twilight, Fluttershy. DISLIKES: Visitors, Being put on the spot, When ponies don't come to her parties, Twilight." This last item was crossed out with a smiley-face next to it.

"Oh." Fluttershy looked away politely, despite her curiosity about Pinkie's research. "Um, well, she's inviting me over tomorrow night for the first time, and so I wanted to bring something for dessert maybe?"

Pinkie threw her little black party book (Fluttershy noticed it was green and actually quite large) onto the floor. "What a great idea! What do you want?? Pecan pie? Stroopwafel? Berliner? Oh wait, we're out of Berliners. That's weird. Torte?"

Fluttershy surveyed her options. "I was mostly just hoping for something that will still be good tomorrow night?"

"You're in luck!" Pinkie dipped down and reappeared with a plate of tan cookies balanced on her head. "Friday is shortbread day, so these are brand new! And shortbread will absolutely still be tasty tomorrow night."

"Oh, how nice," Fluttershy said pleasantly. "She probably likes shortbread. Everypony likes shortbread, right?"

"Everypony I know! Except Cranky. Although he's not a pony. And Cranky just hates things sometimes."

"Um... okay. I'll get some. I just hope she likes them."

Pinkie slid the plate off her head and onto the counter. "Hey, you're not nervous, are you? Why are you nervous?"

"Oh, it's nothing." Fluttershy pawed the floor nervously while Pinkie placed her cookies into a box. "It's just a big deal for her. And. I mean. At my house, there's always critters around. So. It's never private. Um."

Pinkie simply gave her a sly grin and dropped an extra piece of shortbread into the box.

Fluttershy shrank back slightly. "I guess I am a little nervous."

Pinkie smiled more genuinely and slid the box toward her friend. "You're not meeting her until tomorrow night, right? Then that's a whole ton of time to get ready!"

"Get ready?"

"Yesindeedy! Think about it like you're training, okay? Like a bodybuilder."

"Oh my," Fluttershy said.

"Yeah! But instead of pumping the iron, you're pumping the ol' Fluttershy brain! So get some reps in, tonight. Look in the mirror and say 'Moon Dancer likes me. Moon Dancer likes me.'"

"Moon Dancer likes me."

Pinkie cheered. "Yes, just like that! She really, really does, by the way. I know because I put it in my book!"

Fluttershy nodded. "Moon Dancer likes me." She could barely believe it, but it was sort of working. She lifted the box of cookies onto her back. "Thanks, Pinkie."

"Let me know how she likes the shortbread!" Pinkie called after her as she walked to the door. "Gotta keep up to date!"

"I will!" Fluttershy called back, and then the door closed.

Fluttershy stood alone for a moment, inhaling and exhaling once with conviction. She felt stronger in that distinctly Pinkie kind of way.

Still, she did not know that she was being watched.

Moon Dancer pushed the fork in so it was a centimeter closer to the plate. Then she pulled it back half a centimeter. She moved over to the side to see from a new angle, realized it was crooked, and pushed it back in.

She grunted in frustration and conjured a tape measurer. Just as she was laying it down, she realized what she was doing and shook her head to clear it.

"Chill," she said out loud. "It's fine. It's a fork. Chill."

She paced to the nearest mirror and looked into it. She then walked to her other mirror in another room and looked into that. "It's just another date," she said.

She went to check on the cooking food, but got distracted by cleaning a speck of dirt off the floor. "You've had half a dozen dates already. It's fine. You're going to kiss and... and that is all you're going to let yourself expect, Moonie."

She looked at the clock again. "She's just ten minutes late. Angel was fussy. Chill! Sit down, read a book."

She picked up a book and then put it back down. The record she had bought on the way home, Ambient Sounds: Birds of the Forest, squawked and tittered from the other room. She could not believe her luck: after Starlight and Twilight rescued her from the conversation she was trapped in, they all agreed to go shopping with her. Moon Dancer had found the record in minutes. She considered it a good omen.

She hated considering things good omens, because usually that just led to disappointment.

She paced, which surprisingly helped a little. "Wouldn't it be really funny if she came in and saw you talking to yourself? 'Welcome to my home; I talk to myself here!' That'd just be totally classic Moon Dancer, right?"

Her stomach felt like it was becoming a black hole. She felt it twisting and tightening, and she realized her breathing was twice as fast as it usually was. "Chill! It's just thirteen minutes! Stop counting minutes, even though it's thirteen minutes now and that's a lot." She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself down.

She looked at the clock again. "Fifteen minutes. She's on her way. Chill."

An hour and a half later, the clock had been taken off the wall and placed face-down on the floor. Every book in the house had been picked up and put back down, and the table settings in the dining room were strewn into every corner. Moon Dancer sat alone, laying her head on the kitchen table. The oven was open; the night's dinner burned into a black scar of carbon.

Only two sounds filled the house: bird songs softly drifting out of the record player, and the soft, hitching sobs blubbering pathetically in the kitchen.

At exactly the same moment, Fluttershy stood at home, in front of a full-length mirror. She glanced behind her at Angel, who pointed back authoritatively.

She nodded and looked back to the mirror. "Moon Dancer likes me," she said, her voice beginning to imbue with confidence. "Moon Dancer likes me."