Act 1: Paradise
Twilight steadied her breath. It felt like she was on the edge of a precipice, like the next few seconds would be so consequential as to define the rest of her life. She steeled herself, and continued.
“Rarity, would you mind if we used my mugs?”
“Hmm?” Rarity replied absentmindedly, not turning from the box she was unpacking.
“My mugs, Rarity. I know you’re quite particular about the decor, it's just… I don’t know. It reminds me of having tea with everyone in the library. My mum always used to say that mugs were one of the classic signs of home and-”
“Twilight, it’s fine, darling,” Rarity called out, “Put as many as you want in the cupboards, and if there’s not enough space then take some of mine down.”
And so it was done. Twilight released her breath and began to place the mugs in their new home. In her new home. When it had come to taking the next step of their relationship, Twilight had been nervous. Who could blame her, after all? It was the first time she’d ever moved in with a partner. But she felt right doing it with Rarity.
“How’s it going over there?” Twilight asked after their mugs were suitably in order.
“Fine,” Rarity replied simply. For a moment nothing followed. But then she looked up, staring off in thought for a second, and then turned to smile at Twilight reassuringly.
“You know,” Twilight continued, satisfied now Rarity had responded, “This already feels like home.”
“Good! I should certainly hope so, dear. I mean, it’s basically been home to us both these last few months.”
“I just hope Spike will be fine in the library by himself. I know, I know, he’s hardly a child anymore. But it’s hard not to worry about him. I still kind of look at him in that way… Rarity?”
Rarity seemed preoccupied again, but when prompted she looked up at Twilight.
“Sorry sweetheart, I am listening, it's just… well,” she turned and gestured to the pile of boxes yet unpacked, “Maybe we should focus on this first? Then we can open that wine and have a proper chat.”
Rarity is laughing so hard at the silly voices Twilight’s performing as she reads her book aloud. Rarity said she absolutely had to get this commission done. But, in the end, she never finishes it. They’re in a heap of intoxicated, giggling lust long before it’s even halfway done. They have been dating two weeks, and Twilight has never been this happy.
“Sure… sounds good,” Twilight replied.
“When… Twilight, when. When!”
“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you very well,” Twilight teased as she continued to fill Rarity’s glass up. After a couple of seconds, Rarity composed herself and, through shudders of laugher, gently pushed Twilight away.
“Now darling, it’s almost as if you’re trying to get me drunk.”
Twilight murmured something in the affirmative as she leaned in, nipping at Rarity’s neck. Her magic gently took the two wine glasses and placed them on the table. As soon as they were down, Rarity stiffened.
Rarity drops her wine as Twilight pounces on her and the two of them gasp for breath in a tussle without thought or care for the liquid sinking into the carpet. The thrill is too much, the desire to dissociate from stifled reality overpowering. They’ve been dating a month. Rarity ended up having to clean the carpet for an hour straight the next day and she did so smiling.
“Twilight, sweetheart, I’m so sorry but… would you mind using a mat?”
“Hmm,” Twilight replied, looking up breathlessly from her task.
“It’s just… it leaves rings on the wood otherwise.”
Twilight looked down at Rarity, expecting any moment for the facade to break and her to start laughing. But after a moment, it was clear she was serious.
“Provided you give it a wipe after taking the glasses off it should be okay.”
“I know but… please? It’ll bother me.”
“But I’ve just told-”
“Twilight please.” Rarity said, noticeably more firmly this time.
“Oh uh… sure,” Twilight replied, climbing off her partner to grab the mats from the kitchen.
“Do you think we’ll be okay, Rarity?”
“I think it’s worth the risk, darling.”
They kiss after Twilight decides to accept the offer.
She moves into the boutique within two weeks.
Act 2: Nearer My God
Twilight steadied her breath. It felt like she was on the edge of a precipice, like the next few seconds would be so consequential as to define the rest of her life. She steeled herself, and pushed the door open.
“Rarity, I think we need to talk,”
Rarity didn’t respond; she was clearly ‘in the zone’. The sewing machine whirred endlessly. It was a sound that used to rock Twilight to sleep. Coupled with its master’s gentle humming, there was no sweeter lullaby on earth. Nowadays, due to their work schedules clashing, she often slept in the other room.
She didn’t have the courage to start this over again. It had to be now.
“Rarity!” she called out, and was greeted by a quick look-around followed by an annoyed frown.
“Twilight, I’m quite busy with this. Can we talk later on?”
“I really think we should talk now, Rarity.”
Rarity’s shoulders slumped as she took her hoof off the pedal. The whirr eased to a halt, and the room was silent.
“So, I know things have been… tricky, recently.”
“Darling, I’ve told you, it’s just some teething. It happens everytime you move in with someone. It’ll pass, but right now I’ve really got to finish this-”
“I think we should be a little more proactive, though,” Twilight interjected. She’d heard the rationalising before, it scared her, made her feel like she was in a box. She didn’t want to rationalise.
“Just, for me, look over this?” Twilight asked, putting on the subtle whine she knew Rarity was powerless against. Well, she had been powerless against it once. Recently things had been different.
The plunge was upon her, and, after a couple of second’s mental preparation, Twilight levitated the sheet of paper over to Rarity. And then it was done. Twilight released her breath and watched as Rarity looked it over with a darkening expression.
“Rarity, I know you mean well but I really don’t want to wear a dress, okay?”
“It’s not me,” Twilight replies firmly.
And Rarity is all apologies and sweet kisses and perfumed embraces. Later on, Twilight would wonder whether she should have worn a dress this once, instead of putting up a fight. After all, she never wears dresses on casual occasions, regardless of how much Rarity asks her to. But Rarity never brings it up again, so Twilight assumes it's fine.
They’ve been dating two months.
Later that night they make love, which Twilight assumes is more evidence that everything is fine.
“‘Things Rarity should think about’?” Rarity mutters, and Twilight grinds her teeth.
“Yes, but I put a column in there for you to fill in too! I think we both have some stuff we can work on! It’s not just you. It’s just… it’s been hard on me recently and I think it’s been hard on you too, and this is a way to clear the air and move past-”
“‘Things Rarity should think about’?!” Rarity replied, louder, “You want to clear the air, and you think the best way of achieving that is to compose a list of things you don’t like about me?”
“I just want to talk!” Twilight exclaimed.
“‘Rarity should think about how Twilight feels when she flirts with other ponies’?! You think I flirt with other ponies?”
“How is it supposed to make me feel when you’re giving another business client the googly eyes in front of me?” Twilight yelled, finally feeling a little fire of her own.
“I hope you understand,” Rarity cringes after the fashion editor has finally left.
“It’s fine, Rarity. Tricks of the trade, right?” Twilight laughs quietly.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah! Seriously Rarity, I trust you.”
They have been dating for three months, and it always bothers Twilight when Rarity does that. But she doesn’t want to upset her, so she never says.
“And you think this… this… this list of insults is the way to air those grievances? When I asked you time, and time again, whether you had a problem?”
“It’s not a-”
“Do not correct me, Twilight, I swear if you correct me one more time… All this is is everything you resent about me. The way I ‘Am always annoyed with you’, the way I ‘Am too pessimistic about the future’.”
“And if you’ll actually read it, you’ll see the last entry. ‘Never wants to talk’,” Twilight spat.
“Oh please. All we do is talk. You have a mildly bad work day, we talk for half an hour. I’m trying to work myself, and you come in and talk and talk and talk at me when I’m trying to focus. And then, when I politely ask for some peace, you accuse me of never talking.”
“Okay,” Twilight exclaimed, “Then that’s something for your column.”
“I don’t want to write about the things you do that upset me, Twilight! That’s the problem here,” Rarity shouted, a slight crack in her voice betraying the pain.
“What, actually communicating is the problem?” Twilight demanded, fighting the urge to roll her eyes.
“You know that isn’t what I’m saying, Twilight. Don’t you dare make out I am the only one at fault here.”
“I just want to know where she went!” Twilight snapped, finally getting to the crux of the matter, “The Rarity that made me feel better about myself, that listened to me properly. The one who slept in the same bed as me. The one who didn’t care about a couple of little rings on a table. Two months, now, two months of living here and she seems to disappear a little more each day… where is she, Rarity?”
“Where is she… Twilight, I am Rarity. This has always been me,” Rarity responded, tears brimming in her eyes.
“No, no I know that-”
“Then where’s the Twilight who doesn’t think that writing a list of everything she resents about me will help us? Who sleeps in the same bed as me? Who tells me she’s fine with the way I act with business associates? Who tells me again and again, in fact.”
“I… I always wanted you to just know how I really felt.” Twilight whispered.
“Yes, and I always wanted you to just realise a lot of things Twilight. That’s the game, after all. We date, we have fun, we sleep together. We build our connection, like castle walls. Then, when we finally meet the real versions of each other, we hope the walls are strong enough to withstand the flood.”
“So, what… we weren’t strong enough?” Twilight asked quietly, terrified as she felt the castle collapse around them.
“You tell me, Twilight,” Rarity replied, managing a small, bitter laugh. She dropped Twilight’s note to the floor and neither dared move. They both stared into each other’s eyes, and hoped that within could be found some small refuge against the uncertainty of what might happen next.
Afterword: Who We Could Have Been
“Oh darling count Twilight, could you ever love a simple peasant girl such as myself?”
“Mi amore, for you I would move the very stars themselves!” Twilight replies in a horrible attempt at her character’s accent.
“But, what will the court say?” Rarity replies, barely managing to hold in her giggles.
“To hell with them! All I know is I love you, and you love me, and there is nothing else in this world that could change that! Our love is solid rock! Unshakable! Unbreakable! Nothing else matters!”
Twilight dives onto Rarity and kisses her as Rarity squeals in delighted laughter. They are recreating a scene from one of Rarity’s favourite romance novels. Twilight hasn’t told her yet that she thinks they’re ‘trashy’, and won’t for several weeks. The book is about a forbidden romance that prevails against all odds.
They have been dating for six months.
They are both happy.
The following week, Rarity will ask Twilight to move into Carousel Boutique.