• Published 1st Sep 2019
  • 1,732 Views, 231 Comments

No Longer Living In A Van Down By The River - Peni Parker

Since The Dazzlings agreed to be motivational speakers at CHS they're no longer living in a van down by the river, but the job may make them wish they still were.

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Sonata and Sugarcoat

“Which one do think is cuter?” Sonata Dusk asked her sister as she held two dresses up to the mirror. “The dark purple or the black?”

“I don’t know.” Aria Blaze begrudgingly replied from a nearby chair. “Just pick one so we can leave already. I have to help Trixie find a new manager today, remember?”

Sonata and Aria were currently at the Canterlot Mall looking at new dresses in one of the many clothing stores within the shopping complex. Well, Sonata was looking at new dresses. Aria was unwillingly accompanying her after being blackmailed into doing so, and feeling pretty peeved about it since most of her day was already committed to helping Trixie find a new manager after her last one quit.

“We’ll leave after I find the perfect dress.” Sonata remarked as she held the black dress up to her body. “It’s not every day Adagio brings a new girlfriend over to meet us and I want to make a good first impression.”

Sonata was referring to the impending visit she and Aria were going to get from Raven Inkwell. A few days ago Adagio had come home from work with news that, sometime in the coming weekend, she would be bringing her new ‘girlfriend’, Raven, over to meet them. Initially both Sonata and Aria were completely and utterly surprised to hear that Adagio, who had always claimed to be straight, was bringing a girlfriend over to meet them, but once that initial shock wore off Sonata became obsessed with making sure everything was going to be perfect for the meeting.

“I’m sure anything you already have in your closet will be fine.” Aria commented as she stood up. “Besides, Raven already knows you. She sees you every time we all have to attend a faculty and staff meeting at school.”

“True.” Sonata admitted as she held the dark purple dress up to her body. “But this is the first time I’m actually meeting her.”

Aria simply rolled her eyes as she approached her sister.

“Just admit you’re only using this meeting as an excuse to buy a new dress.” She said right in Sonata’s face.

“What?! No I’m not!” Sonata passionately protested.

The two sisters stared each other down until Aria decided she’d had enough.

“Whatever.” She indifferently said as she started walking away. “I’m going to get a smoothie, I’ll meet you back here in an hour.”

“Fine!” Sonata frustratingly called out to Aria before returning her attention to the mirror. “Ugh, neither of these is cute enough.”

Feeling slightly frazzled from having looked at so many dresses, Sonata returned the dark purple and black dresses to the clothing rack where she’d found them.

“No, no, no, no…” She dispiritedly commented as she flipped through the various dresses on the rack, not finding anything she deemed ‘cute enough’.

“Can I help find something?” A stoical, but familiar, voice suddenly asked her.

Sonata looked up from the cloths rack to see a female sales attendant with opalish gray/artic bluish gray pigtails, glasses, and a blasé expression standing a few feet next to her.

“No thanks, I’m just brows…” She began to say before she got the feeling that the she somehow knew this sales attendant. “Wait a second, have we meet before?”

“No, we haven’t.” The sales attendant replied, knowing full well that they had met before.

“No, I’m pretty sure we have.” Sonata countered as she intensely stared at the girl, trying to jog her memory. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around CHS, where else could I have…WAIT, YOU’RE THE GIRL I WAS TALKING TO ABOUT DASHIE ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL A FEW WEEKS AGO!”

“Rats.” The sales attendant softly said to herself, feeling less-than-thrilled that Sonata had remembered their previous encounter.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I ran into you!” Sonata cheerfully commented. “I didn’t get your name last time.”

“It’s Sugarcoat.” Sugarcoat introduced herself.

“I’m Sonata!” Sonata gleefully introduced herself as she grabbed a hold of Sugarcoat’s right hand with both of hers and shook it vigorously. “Pleased to formally meet you.”

“Please let go of my hand.” Sugarcoat pleaded, fearing her right arm was going to fall out of its socket due to Sonata’s violent shaking.

Sonata did stop shaking Sugarcoat’s hand, but it was more because her arm was getting tired than Sugarcoat asking her to.

“So I bet you’ve been wondering how things have been between me and Dashie since we talked, huh?” She genially inquired.

“Not really.” Sugarcoat responded as she grabbed her right arm, trying to get the vibrating feeling in it to stop.

“Well things have been great!” Sonata said as she gave an exaggerated thumbs-up, completely ignoring Sugarcoat’s disinterest in her relationship status. “In fact, only a few hours after I talked to you Dashie told someone about us being a couple. It’s no longer a secret!”

Once the vibrating feeling stopped in her right arm, Sugarcoat let it go and proceeded to fold her arms just below her chest as she stared at Sonata with a somewhat annoyed expression.

“You have a problem listening to others.” She blatantly remarked.

“Sorry, did you say something?” Sonata replied, after being momentarily distracted by what she thought was a cute dress on the rack next to her.

“Never mind.” Sugarcoat sighed as she unfolded her arms. “Look, if you don’t need any help than I need to get back to work, I can’t afford to lose another job.”

Sugarcoat turned around and started to walk away. That is, until she felt Sonata grab a hold of her arm.

“Wait!” The Dazzling implored as Sugarcoat turned back around. “I think I actually could use some help. You see, my sister is bringing her new girlfriend over tomorrow night to meet me and my other sister and I need to a new dress to make a good first impression.”

As much as Sugarcoat didn’t want to have anymore interaction with Sonata, she couldn’t exactly refuse the girl help. Afterall, it was literally her job to help customers like her.

“Okay, I’ll help you.” She reluctantly capitulated, causing Sonata to let go of her arm. “But on two conditions; one, no talking about Dashie, and two, you have to listen to me when I talk.”

Sugarcoat’s conditions confused Sonata, as was evidenced by the now quizzical expression on her face.

“Um, okay.” She agreed. “I understand you not wanting me to talk about Dashie, I get that a lot, but why do you think I wouldn’t listen to you?”

And with that, Sugarcoat facepalmed for the first time in her life.

“Let’s just focus on finding you a dress.” She replied as she put her hand down. “So what type of dress were you thinking about?”

“Something cute.” Sonata buoyantly answered.

“Okay, but what type of dress?” Sugarcoat reiterated, really emphasizing the word ‘type’. “Halter, sheath, high-low?”

Once again, Sonata gave a confused expression.

“Um, I don’t know what any of those words mean.” She explained. “I’m just looking for something that’s cute.”

All Sugarcoat could do was hang her head in a dejected manner as she realized what she’d gotten herself into by approaching Sonata.

“Let’s just start over there with the high-lows.” She suggested as she pointed to a rack of dresses about 20 feet away.

“Ooh, those look cute!” Sonata jovially commented as she made her way over to the high-low dresses, with Sugarcoat not far behind her.

“Hmm, this is cute, but is it cute enough?” Sonata pondered aloud as she held up a forest green fit & flare A-line dress up to her body.

“Yes, it’s cute enough.” Sugarcoat irksomely answered. “Buy it and leave.”

Sugarcoat had been helping Sonata find a dress for about 30 minutes now and she was just about at the end of her rope. She’d shown the Dazzling a number of dresses in a variety of different styles and colors, but she didn’t like any of them. High-lows, shifts, halters, A-lines, none of them were ‘cute enough’.

“No, this one isn’t cute enough either.” Sonata said for about the twelfth time today as she put the dress back on the rack. “Any other suggestions?”

“You know what would be really helpful?” Sugarcoat remarked as she began to feel a slight twitch in her left eye. “If you told me what constitutes ‘cute enough’.”

The question caught Sonata off guard. She brought a hand up to her chin and gave an expression of deep contemplation, remaining this way for a good solid minute before saying anything.

“You what, I’m not sure.” She eventually replied, still maintaining contemplating look. “I guess I just figured I’d know what was cute enough when I saw it.”

“You’re not sure?” Sugarcoat vexingly said as the twitch in her left eye became very noticeable. “YOU’RE NOT SURE?!”

The sudden volume increase in Sugarcoat’s voice made Sonata instinctively take a step back. For reasons that were unclear to her, hearing Sugarcoat raise her voice was kind of frightening.

“You’re telling me that you don’t have a single, solitary idea of what it is you’re looking for?!” Sugarcoat continued, trying to keep her sonority low so as not to bother the other customers. “Not a particular style, or color, or anything?!”

“Um, well…” Sonata timidly began to say with a distraught expression, just before noticing another store employee come up behind Sugarcoat.

Unlike Sugarcoat, this employee appeared to be older than herself. Not quite middle-aged but not quite college age either. She had a variety of different colored streaks running through her orange colored hair, amber, tangelo, fuchsia, and orchid to be exact, and wore a nametag that read ‘Sassy Saddles’.

“Sugarcoat, is there a problem here?” Sassy very sternly asked as Sugarcoat anxiously turned around.

“N-no, Ms. Saddles.” Sugarcoat timorously answered, avoiding eye contact with the older woman. “I-I was just helping this customer find a dress.”

“Oh?” Sassy stated as she took a quick glance at Sonata. “Then perhaps you can explain why this girl looks so perturbed.”

Sugarcoat remained silent as she tried to figure out how to explain Sonata’s current state without revealing that she’d just ululated at her, but to no avail. Her silence only caused Sassy to give a sigh.

“This is the third time this week you’ve upset a customer, Sugarcoat.” Sassy blatantly pointed out. “I’m afraid I have to let you go.”

“What?!” Sugarcoat diffidently exclaimed as she looked Sassy Saddles square in the eyes with extreme trepidation. “No please, Ms. Saddles, I can’t lose this job! If I do my parents will be furious!”

“I’m sorry, Sugarcoat, but you’ve left me no choice.” Sassy explained as she began to walk away. “You can gather you’re things from the breakroom before you leave.”

Feeling completely distressed, Sugarcoat began to hyperventilate. She felt like she was going to have a total breakdown right there in the store. That is, until she felt Sonata’s hands garb hold of both her shoulders from behind.

“Wait! Sugarcoat didn’t do anything wrong!” Sonata called out to Sassy Saddles, causing her to turn back around. “She was helping me find a dress when I got an anxiety attack, that’s why I looked so bad. I get them from time to time, but it wasn’t Sugarcoat’s fault, honest. She was just trying to help me.”

All Sugarcoat could do was stare at Sonata in astonishment, unable to figure out why she was standing up for her after she’d gone off on her.

Sassy Saddles, however, simply raised an eyebrow in suspicion. She wasn’t entirely convinced that what Sonata said as true, but she felt it best to not argue with a customer.

“I see.” She said in a skeptical tone. “If that’s the case than my apologizes to you both. Sugarcoat, you’re not fired.”

“T-thank you, Ms. Saddles.” Sugarcoat replied as Sassy once again began walking away.

Once the coast was clear Sonata removed her hands from Sugarcoat’s shoulders and then wiped her forehead.

“Phew, that was a close one, huh?” She casually remarked.

“Y-you saved my job.” Sugarcoat said in pure amazement and confusion. “I yelled at you and you saved my job. Why?”

“Oh please, you didn’t yell at me.” Sonata jovially stated, vilipending the whole situation. “Sure you may have gotten a tad upset, but you weren’t near as bad as my sisters. And even if you were, I couldn’t let you get fired because we’re friends.”

She wasn’t sure why, but hearing Sonata call her a friend made Sugarcoat feel…happy.

“So what was the deal with that woman?” Sonata randomly asked. “It seemed like she actually wanted to fire you.”

“Sassy’s wanted me gone ever since I started here.” Sugarcoat began to explain. “It’s a long story.”

There was something in the way that Sugarcoat said, ‘It’s a long story’, that made Sonata feel it was a story that she wanted to confide to someone else.

“I’ve got time if you want to tell it.” She sweetly said, trying desperately to sound like she wasn’t being too nosy.

Sugarcoat just stared silently at Sonata for a few seconds a she contemplated whether she should tell the girl her story or not.

“Yeah, okay.” She eventually capitulated. “But make it look like I’m helping you find a dress while I tell it. I don’t want Sassy coming back over here thinking I’m slacking off.”

“Gotcha!” Sonata acknowledged as she grabbed a nearby dress off a nearby rack and held it against her body, pretending to see if it would fit her.

“A few months ago my parents told me I needed to get a part-time job.” Sugarcoat began explaining while making it look like she was helping Sonata with the dress that was in her hand. “I didn’t argue with them about, but once I started looking for a part-time job I quickly realized a major problem; virtually every job open to teenagers is in retail or customer service.”

“Why was that a problem?” Sonata inquired as she put the dress back on the rack and walked over to another nearby rack.

“I’m not exactly a people-person, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Sugarcoat very candidly replied.

Although she didn’t say it aloud, Sonata silently agreed with Sugarcoat about her not being a people-person.

“Anyways, despite that obstacle I managed to get a job at a pet store.” Sugarcoat continued her story. “I thought it would be fine since I’d be working with animals more than people, but that wasn’t the case. I still ended up interacting with customers a lot and was eventually fired for not being ‘friendly enough’. Then I got a job as a waitress at an upscale restaurant, but was eventually fired for not being ‘friendly enough’ there too.”

“So how did you end up here then?” Sonata asked, putting two and two together.

“My mom's a senior manager with this company, she pulled some strings.” Sugarcoat replied as she grabbed a nearby dress and held it in front of Sonata. “And she told me that if I lost this job that she and my dad wouldn’t allow me to stay with them once I start attending Canterlot University next year.”

“That’s not good.” Sonata commented, taking the dress from Sugarcoat and pretending to look it over.

“It’s worse than you think.” Sugarcoat said. “I can’t afford to pay for both tuition and room and board at CU, so if I’m not able to stay with my parents while going there I’ll need to find a different college to attend.”

“What’s wrong with attending a different college? Or finding an apartment?” Sonata inquired as she handed the dress back to Sugarcoat.

“Canterlot University has the top ranked business programs in the state.” Sugarcoat explained, putting the dress back on the rack and handing Sonata a different one. “And since I want to be a business woman like my mom it’s the most logical school for me to attend. As for an apartment, anything decent in this city costs more than CU room and board, I checked.”

“I see.” Sonata remarked, wondering how Sunset was able to afford such a great apartment if what Sugarcoat said was true.

“So far I’ve managed to perform better at this job than the other two.” Sugarcoat continued her story. “But Sassy Saddles has it out for me because she doesn’t like my mom very much. I guess she’s trying to take all her frustration towards her out on me.”

“Have you told your mom about this?” Sonata asked, returning the dress she’d been holding to the rack.

“Yeah, but she doesn’t believe me.” Sugarcoat answered. “She just thinks I’m trying to get out of this job. That, and she doesn’t believe Sassy is as bad as I say she is since she’d never had a bad interaction with her. Sassy’s a real two-faced bitch.”

“So you’re stuck in this job with a boss that has it out for you?” Sonata asked in disbelief.

“Pretty much.” Sugarcoat admitted. “At least until I can get an internship in college.”

Sugarcoat’s story weighed heavy on Sonata’s heart. It reminded her of when her and her sister’s were living in a van down by the river. She imagined that Sugarcoat must be having the same feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness that they felt in those day. She wanted to help her, but it wasn’t like she could get her a job or take her in like Sunset had done for them.

Think, Sonata, think. She silently told herself as she tried to figure out a way that she could help her friend.

Then, as if out of nowhere, the perfect solution came to Sonata like a divine gift from the heavens themselves.

“What if you got a new job?” She euphorically asked. “A better job? One that would look good on a business school application?”

“And what job would that be?” Sugarcoat indifferently inquired, writing off Sonata’s words as nothing but sheer fantasy.

“Managing a magician!” Sonata exuberantly explained as she grabbed hold of Sugarcoat’s shoulders. “My sister’s friend is a magician and she needs a new manager! You know, someone to book the shows, handle the finances, that sort of stuff! If you could get a job like that your parents couldn’t say no to you leaving this one, right?!”

After getting over the initial shock of Sonata suddenly grabbing her, Sugarcoat contemplated the idea of being a magician’s manager.

“A manager job would look good on my college application and resume.” She agreed. “But how do you even know if your sister’s friend will hire me?”

“Oh please, if I recommend you you’ll get it for sure.” Sonata said as she left go of Sugarcoat.

Despite Sonata’s apparent assuredness, Sugarcoat still had serious reservations about the idea. Should she leave her unfulfilling yet stable job for a chance at being a magician’s manager?

“Sugarcoat.” Sassy Saddles could be heard saying from behind her. “Are you helping this girl or socializing with her?”

Sugarcoat turned around to see Sassy with the same stern and condescending face as before, and knew right there and then what her decision was.

“Actually, I have been socializing with her.” She bluntly admitted as she stared down Sassy with very focused eyes. “And she just got done offering me job, so I quit.”

Both Sassy and Sonata quickly dawned expressions of surprise as Sugarcoat simply walked out of the store without saying another word.

“Sugarcoat, wait up!” Sonata called out to the girl as she chased after her, leaving Sassy Saddles alone to figure out what the heck had just happened.

“Come on, we’re getting some pizza.” Sugarcoat informed Sonata once the Dazzling had caught up with her.

“Um, okay.” Sonata confusingly agreed as they both headed for the food court. “I like pizza.”

“That felt good.” Sugarcoat said with a wicked smile after swallowing a bite of pizza. “That felt really, really good. And did you see the look on Sassy’s face? Priceless.”

“Yeah, priceless.” Sonata half-heartedly remarked before taking a sip of her soda.

“What’s wrong, Sonata?” Sugarcoat concerningly asked her friend, picking up on her unusually somber attitude.

“W-what do you mean?” Sonata replied as she suddenly perked up. “Nothing’s wrong.”

Sugarcoat simply raised a single eyebrow in response.

“Okay, something is wrong.” Sonata admitted, slumping down into her seat.

“It’s not about the manager job, is it?” Sugarcoat apprehensively inquired, worried that Sonata may have left out some important detail she should have known before quitting her job.

“No, no, it’s nothing like that.” Sonata quickly clarified as she sat up straight in her seat. “It’s just…in all the time we spent looking at dresses, I never found the perfect one.”

“Oh yeah, you were looking for one to wear for when you meet your sister’s girlfriend, right?” Sugarcoat stated just before taking another bite of pizza.

“Uh-huh.” Sonata dejectedly confirmed.

“Let me ask you something.” Sugarcoat said once she swallowed her pizza. “Why do you need to get a new dress just to meet your sister’s girlfriend?”

“Because if I don’t then the meeting won’t be perfect.” Sonata answered.

After hearing Sonata’s answer, the first question that came to Sugarcoat’s mind was ‘How would a new dress make the meeting perfect?’, but instead of asking that one she decided to go with the second question that came to mind.

“Why does the meeting need to be perfect?” She asked.

“What do you mean ‘Why does the meeting need to be perfect?’!” Sonata passionately replied, sounding almost offended by the question. “This is Adagio’s girlfriend I’m meeting, of course everything needs to be perfect!”

“That doesn’t answer my question.” Sugarcoat blatantly stated. “Why does it need to be perfect?”

“Because…because…” Sonata struggled to answer before finally letting it out. “Because if I can make this meeting perfect than maybe Adagio won’t see me as her stupid little sister anymore!”

Admittedly, Sonata’s answer caught Sugarcoat off guard. She hadn’t expected it to be so…deeply personal.

“Okay, I’m going to need some details here.” She said.

Sonata didn’t reply. She just stared at her pizza with a distraught look on her face.

“Come on, Sonata, talk to me.” Sugarcoat gently told her friend. “You helped me earlier, let me help you now.”

There was a brief moment of silence before Sonata finally spoke up.

“I’m not an idiot, okay?” She solemnly started to say. “I know what people think of me. They think I’m a klutz, and a ditz, and I know no one thinks those things more than Adagio. I admit, I can be a bit much sometimes, and I don’t always pick up on things right away, but I’m not an idiot. I just figured that if I could make this meeting, something that means so much to Adagio, perfect than maybe she’d finally realize that.”

Sugarcoat wasn’t sure how to respond to all that. She wanted to say something supportive, but given her track record of being overly blunt about pretty much everything she knew she needed to be careful.

“I hate to break it to you, Sonata, but that meeting isn’t going to be perfect, no matter what you do.” She began to say. “But that’s okay, it doesn’t need to be perfect to make a good impression on either your sister or her girlfriend.”

Her feeling of distress now replaced by feelings of confusion, Sonata silently looked up at Sugarcoat with a quizzical expression.

“Look, I can’t attest to how your sister feels about you now or how she’ll feel about you in the future, but here’s what I can attest to.” Sugarcoat continued. “You’re a very kind person, and as long as you act that way around you sister’s girlfriend I think you’ll be fine.”

Sonata wanted to say something to Sugarcoat, but was too choked up with joy to speak.

“Just maybe try to be more cognizant of your words and actions in order to avoid being ‘too much’, okay?” Sugarcoat added.

“Okay.” Sonata managed to get out with a small smile on her face.

Seeing Sonata smile brought a smile to Sugarcoat’s face as well.

“So, not to ruin this heartfelt moment or anything.” Sugarcoat spoke up. “But do you think I can meet your sister’s friend soon, I want be able to tell my parents I have a new job before telling them I quit the one at the clothing store.”

“Oh my gosh, the clothing store!” Sonata exclaimed, as if coming to some great realization, and suddenly getting up from her seat. “Aria said she’d meet me back there in an hour, and that was an hour and fifteen minutes ago!”

Without saying another word, Sonata bolted towards the clothing store, leaving Sugarcoat all alone.

“See, this is right here is why I made the comment about being more cognizant.” She said to no one in particular as she got up from her seat and slowly followed Sonata.

Author's Note:

If you have a suggestion for a future chapter let me know in the comments.

The next chapter will feature Aria and Applejack.