Heart and Soul

by Orcus

Chapter 6: A Night Out

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A Night Out

Friday had come at long last.

For almost fifteen minutes Bumble Bee waited at the front of the movie theater for Peach Blossom. With patience he stood there with only a minor fidget-or-two to keep him from boredom; his hoof tapping in a rhythmic pattern against the concrete ground until a familiar shape came trotting in his direction over the cobblestone street. He looked up when the figure came close enough, smiling when he saw just who it was.

"Hey, Peach," he greeted when she was mere feet from him. "You ready to see the greatest movie ever?"

"Psshh. We'll see if it's the greatest movie ever," she puffed and grinned. "And from that level of judgement we shall see if it surpasses the high level of action, drama, romance and so on from the book..."

It was when Peach Blossom finished her hammily-delivered sentence when Bumble noticed she was wearing something he hadn't seen her put on before. "What's that you're wearing over you neck?" he decided to inquire, pointing to the green, patchwork handkerchief tied there.

"This? Just a lucky bandanna," she answered, touching it with her hoof for a second before lowering it. "It's my mom's boyfriend's. He said he wanted me to take it with me when I was heading out of the house."

"For luck?" Bumble guessed as they began to walk to the entrance of the cinema together.

"Well, duh," she chuckled, pushing the door open for both of them. "Let's get some tickets before they sell out."

Going up to the ticket vendor they asked for two tickets to see The Dragon and the Rose, and were given them after dispensing the proper amount of payment. They then bought a big bag of popcorn at the concession stand several feet away to share, and merrily trotted away to the proper theater in the hall of the complex that was due to show the film. They scampered into it as the previews were flashing away on the big screen and found some available seats near the middle of the room, amongst a medium crowd of ponies who had also come to watch the film. As they sat down and got comfy, Blossom chanced a look Bumble's way.

His red right eye seemed to glow a little in the darkness of the theater, but it didn't look any manner of freaky at all. Peach Blossom thought it actually sort of made him look... cute, in a way. She turned away with the intent of not being caught staring at him a few precious seconds before the disguised changeling looked to her and did the same thing. He always loved having the chance at getting to sit beside Peach Blossom, and this time was no different.

As the final preview aired and vanished, the movie began in earnest. Peach Blossom and Bumble Bee munched and crunched away on the buttery and salted popcorn sitting in between them while it played out, and remained that way for a time they couldn't count. It was around the half hour-ish point when Bumble let out a mighty yawn and stretched his forelegs out.

He had been hoping to try this since first asking Peach Blossom to see the movie with him. With slow movement, he let his lifted hoof float just over Peach Blossom and slowly, carefully began to lower it behind her head.

So close... he thought to himself, taking deep, silent breaths as the sound of the movie went on around them. So very close... don't screw this up now, Bumble. You've been waiting for so long to do this... Don't you dare screw this up...

With held breath, he finally let it come to rest where wanted it to go; perfectly over and around Blossom's shoulder. Relaxing his tensed muscles, he let his foreleg stay where it was, undisturbed, and began to focus back on the movie. It didn't take two minutes for Peach Blossom to delightfully realize what he had done.

"Hmm," she smiled, closing her eyes for a second as she took in the warm feeling draped over her shoulder. "This movie sure can get intense, huh Bumble?"

"Just like in the book," he agreed. "Do you think they'll kill off Sir Dragonheart like in it, too? He's my favorite character."

"We can only hope not," she chuckled, leaning in a little closer to him. "But after all, this movie looks like a faithful adaptation. I wouldn't get my hopes too high."

With a playful 'hmph' from Bumble, the show continued on. A romantic moment happened between the leads, a fight scene went by, and several characters were axed off in steady succession, including poor Sir Dragonheart. It was as the movie was entering its climax and a fairly quick, but rather brutal event happened between the main protagonist and antagonist involving swords and a loss of limbs when Peach Blossom almost hugged Bumble in startled reaction, gasping in surprise.

"Too shocking for you?" Bumble asked a few seconds later, once it ended. Blossom looked to him and quickly shook her head.

"Oh, no," she whispered back, straightening her mane and regaining her composure. "I just didn't think they would make the scene happen like... that. Surprised is the word I would use."

He smirked. "It surprised me a little, too."

Both suddenly winced with the audience as another extreme scene went by on the big screen.

"As did... that," Bumble commented.

Friday happened to be the day that Habeas and Persica scheduled their date. They traveled to Canterlot an hour after Peach Blossom left for it. Two days prior the trap for the boggart had been placed, but it had not yet touched the bait. Persica said to give it time, and the results would show for themselves.

With what news had come out and the royal decree of the newfound alliance with the changeling kingdom, Habeas wanted to go not as his disguised form, but his true one. He passed through Canterlot's streets and into the posh restaurant with nothing more than a fetching red coat around his chitinous body and Persica by his side. Sure enough, other than the occasional sideways glance of pure curiosity, nopony witnessing the changeling in their midst seemed to mind him too much. Habeas soon began to hold his head high with pride.

The table they were given in the restaurant was a comfy little stall in a corner sitting under a large painting hanging on the wall that vaguely resembled what they could only picture as a tea cup; a genuine work by a famous surreal artist, Silverdoor DalĂ­. It was an impressive piece, but Habeas, and Persica even, found it to be a little bit too surreal to hold their gazes onto it for too long. They could scarcely make out the full details of what the painting was truly trying to represent.

They were given menus to look over, but Habeas simply could not help but take the occasional peek over from his slab of plastic and paper to look at Persica's beautiful face. He tried in vain to calm himself with what he was surely soon to ask of her, taking in the cinnamon aroma of the trio of candles lit inside of little holders between them for help with it. "So, my lovely Persica... what do you think you may want?" he softly cooed after around a minute has passed.

She put the menu she held down and balanced her chin on a hoof as she looked back at him and hummed. "I was thinking of having the romaine salad and garlic breadsticks that come with them."

"Mmm... good choice," Habeas licked his tongue over his mouth in agreement. "I was actually thinking the same thing, you know."

"Great minds think alike," the mare shrugged. When they finished looking over the menu and a sharply-dressed waiter approached, they both ordered the salad and breadsticks. It came to them in a short time, and the time they waited through for them was spent trading bits of small news concerning the newest happenings around town with each other, or complimenting how the other looked. When the meal arrived and they began eating it, they still did the same thing; only with mouths half full with food at times.

It was as they were finishing their meals when things went silent. Maddening stillness starting to ring in his ears, Habeas knew that had been waiting specifically for this exact, fragile moment, and it was already here. Persica was wiping her mouth with a white napkin when he took one last, deep breath before speaking.

"Um... Persica, I... I wanted to speak with you about something," he voiced to her, leaving his seat with trembling hooves and going to the edge of the table originally between him and the earth pony.

Persica could only look at her beloved changeling with a lowered brow. She knew Habeas long enough to know what he looked like when he was feeling nervous, and right now he was expressing the emotion in spades. "What is it, Habeas?" she asked. "You seem a bit... tense."

Habeas stuck his hoof into his coat pocket, feeling the treasure-keeping box held within. His heart pounded harder, and his eyes widened and then contracted. "Th-there's something I... I've been meaning to... to..." he tried to say, summing up as much courage as he could manage without gulping down the river of saliva building up in his mouth. With sudden thoughts of her somehow negatively reacting to his oncoming message causing his heart to pulse from his chest to his throat, his words became lost to him in one, horrid instant. Habeas' cheeks flushed to a pallid green color as his stress once more got the better of him.

"Something... what?" asked the mare again, truly wishing to know what he had to say.

"I-I-I-I..." he stuttered like a fool, growing more and more panicked in his visage by the second. "I... I need to... to gotothebathroomberightback..."

Taking his hoof out from his pocket, he turned about and hurriedly trotted off with his troubled expression still painted over his face in a way more disconcerted and baffling than the surreal painting on the wall, leaving Persica alone at the table. She watched him leave as abruptly as he stood up, and let her ears droop in confusion. Inhaling a deep breath and sighing to herself, she plopped her idle hooves upon the smooth surface of the table, waiting for his imminent return and stewing over what might of triggered the queer phrasing of his rather simple statement.

Habeas went into the stallion's bathroom to the sight of it being empty. Going to the first sink that came into his sight, which laid in front of a mirror with four others, he turned the right nozzle sharply to the left and filled it up with water until it was filled up to the brim with the cool liquid.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" Habeas splashed a hooffull of cold water into his face as he grumbled the word three times over, his wing-like tail twitching twice in vexation. Taking a nearby paper towel from the dispenser, he dried his now-wet face off and looked at himself in the mirror. The only words to describe how he looked like was shaken and embarrassed. As he should feel after that mess-up. "Why can't I do this? It's just a simple question! You've known Persica for a while! You love her, Habeas, you dolt! And she loves you! She'll say yes. Why can't you just realize that?"

His rage at himself dying down, he sighed. Unplugging the sink and allowing the small pool of water to flow down into the pipes awaiting them, he tossed the dampened paper towel into the trash. He looked into the mirror again and started to straighten himself out until he looked presentable once more, but his face was still filled with the greatest of uncertainty. "What if I can't do this?" he asked himself next, before sharply shaking his head in utter disagreement over the words he just spoke. "No, I can. I can. I've just got to try it out another time, soon. It will be soon, and I will be able to do it then..."

He began to exit the bathroom after making sure he was set. "It won't happen today, but it will happen soon," were the final words he said to himself before his and Persica's table came back into his sight. He walked up to it as Persica turned her head his way, noticing he looked much better and adjusted than he did before leaving.

"Is everything okay?" she inquired when he was close enough for her not to raise her voice.

"Yeah... yeah, I'm fine," Habeas quietly said back with a loving gaze aimed her way, his chance gone, but no longer despairing over it. Sliding back into his seat, he noticed a dessert menu now laying in front of him that had must have been given to the table sometime after he rushed off to the restroom. "Have you thought about ordering dessert, Persica?" he spoke after getting himself situated.

"Oh, yes." She quickly nodded her head with a smile, her tongue licking over lips in an anticipating way. "I've been thinking about getting the chocolate cake they have. It looks positively scrumptious."

"Chocolate cake? As in a cake made from chocolate?" Habeas asked her, lowering the dessert menu from his face to look at her in a most curious, if not confused way. "I thought you weren't a big fan of the flavor. I could swear you were going to order the peach cobbler, dear. They have that here, you know, and it looks absolutely divine. Incomparable to the cobbler made back at the farm, but still."

"I know it does. It's, uh... just a little taste for the stuff I think I have right now. A harmless, little taste," she grinned sheepishly. Brushing a small strand of her mane's hair from her good eye, she grinned. "It's nothing major, so don't worry about it. It's nothing important at all."

How she phrased it only served to pique Habeas' interests further, and the changeling rubbed a hoof over his chin. "So it's like a... craving, then?"

"N-no, nothing like a craving," Persica immediately denied. "I'm only in the mood for something different."

"Alright... then." Habeas said, putting his menu down now sooner than he had lifted it. "Chocolate cake it is."

The movie had ended as night was falling and the two ponies exited the theater with satisfied feelings. It was a decidedly great film, and they couldn't help but keep chattering to themselves at how epic it was.

"I still can't believe how awesome it looked when Sir Dragonheart took out Dark Lord Shadis' top two servants before he died from his wounds!" Bumble spoke, throwing a series of punches to the air.

"And don't forget Rose Thorn," Peach Blossom mentioned, casting her thoughts back to the main character of the movie. "It was so cool how she was able to barely defeat Shadis after he cut off one of her legs!"

"Ehh... there was a lot of blood in that scene..." Bumble stuck his tongue out in a slightly disgusted manner, and Peach Blossom joined in on the expression with a loud "Bleck!" and a burst of laughter from both ends. The amused chortling soon grew quiet, and they traded warm smiles to one another. Blossom tapped her hoof on the ground and straightened the bandanna around her neck out before putting an end to the silence that had been built up.

"I... hope we get the time to do something like this again, soon," she said. "With our last year of school coming up, it might get a little tough to plan another trip out."

"You said it," he sadly sighed back, looking out to the dark streets of Canterlot and the few ponies who now walked along them. "It'll stink if I'm unable to get to spend more time with you, Peach. I love getting to spend time with you, whenever I can get it."

"Hey, don't make it sound so... mushy." Peach Blossom playfully punched his shoulder, snapping him out of his melancholic tone. "You know how much I hate it when you get mushy. Now, care to be a gentlecolt and walk this young lady home? My mom's probably not going to be done with her date until later."

"I would be glad to," Bumble agreed with a large grin, rubbing a hoof over the place where she had lightly slugged him as though she had thoroughly bruised it. Straightening his disguised body up proudly, he marched right to her left side. Both locking a foreleg together, they set off from the theater like a young married couple heading off on a walk through a park.

Next Chapter: The Albatross Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 21 Minutes
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