Pick Me Up At Seven

by Jondor

Chapter 1: Wait, what?

“Hey, RD!”

My eyes pop open, hearing my name. I had been taking one of my usual afternoon naps on a tuft of cumulus, but I’m not too annoyed. I got to sleep for almost a whole hour judging by the sun. Besides, AJ is my best friend in all of Equestria, I can cut her some slack.

I flip over, sit up and whip my mane out of my face all in one awesomely smooth move. “Yo, AJ! What’s up?”

“Come pick me up at the Acres at seven. We’re goin’ on a date tonight,” she says in that mater-of-fact Applejack manner.

“What?!” I ask, confused. I couldn’t have heard her right. I must have some cloud in my ears.

“You got cloud in your ears? I said, we’re goin’ out tonight, come get me at the Acres at seven.”

I shake my head and look around. We’re in the town square. I guess my cloud must have drifted. And, seeing the funny looks from the ponies around us, I guess AJ really did say that—twice.

I hop off my cloud and do a pretty awesome swoop down to the ground so I can look AJ in the eye. “Are you serious?” She looks serious. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“Sure am, sugarcube. You, me, tonight, seven.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait.” It’s not like I’ve never been asked out before—I’m Rainbow Dash—but usually I get asked. “Don’t I get a say in this?”

AJ puts a hoof to her chin like she always does when she has to think about something—score one for the Dash. “Alright, sugarcube. I challenge you to a hoofwrassle, best two out of three. You win, you get to pick where we have dinner, an’ I’ll pick you up an’ pay; I win, I pick the chow an’ you pick me up an’ pay.”

A challenge, eh? That sounds better. “You’re on!” I say without hesitation.

We find a nearby tree stump and lock hooves while a bunch of ponies crowd around to watch—time to show off.

I glare right into her eyes and give a quick push. AJ’s hoof hits the the stump—I’m awesome! Half the crowd cheers for me and I pass out some hoof bumps as we catch our breath. AJ doesn’t seem the least bit worried as we lock hooves again.

Ugh, my hoof hits the stump—too much gloating, not enough focus, Dash. AJ gets just as many cheers, but doesn’t work up the crowd. She’s pretty modest that way, and she must be gunning for the tie breaker.

Yeesh, this is tough. We’ve been at the last round for at least as long as the first two combined. I can feel the sweat rolling down my face and AJ doesn’t look like she’s doing any better. Our hooves are still right in the middle. The crowd of ponies around us are all holding their breath.

What? Argh! No, bad hoof, stop leaning toward the stump! When did AJ get so good at this? I always used to be able to beat her in two out of three. I grit my teeth and give one last push, but it’s no good—my hoof hits the stump. Ugh, ugh, ugh. She must have been practicing.

“I’ve been practicing.” She leans in to tell me over the cheers of the crowd. I swear I can see bits changing hooves around us, but I’m too busy listening to Applejack to care. “Come get me at the Acres at seven, an’ don’t bother dressin’ up too fancy; I ain’t Rarity. Trust me, you’ll be glad ya lost.” She winks at me and turns to go with a swish of her tail.

I guess losing wasn’t too bad—I’m still going out with AJ tonight.

Wait... What just happened here?

I’m glad to be home. After finishing my weather rounds—and that intense hoofwrestle—I really need a shower. Applejack said not to bother dressing up too much, so I just brush my mane and tail and give my wings a good preening.

I’m just finishing my starboard pinions when I remember that I’m not even sure why I’m going out with AJ tonight. I mean, I like AJ, and I definitely remember hoofwrestling to decide who picks dinner and who pays, but how did we even get to that point? I’ll have to ask her, but I can’t really do that until I go pick her up. Maybe I’ll read a chapter or two of Daring Do to kill some time.

As a pack of Diamond Dogs are sneaking up behind Daring, a sunbeam coming through the window suddenly hits me in the eye. Wait, what time is it? 6:45? Oh jeez, gotta bolt!

I can just hear the clock tower in town strike seven as I trot down the path through rows of apple trees. I wouldn’t be late, but Daring Do and the Canine Caves is WAY too good and I kinda read one chapter too many. I still totally could have made it on time, but flying that fast would have ruffled up all my feathers. AJ will forgive me, right?

AJ answers the door when I knock. She’s only a little more dressed than I am—she braided her mane and tail and she’s wearing one of those kinda fancy hats Rarity made for her. I think it’s the one she wore to the Gala that first year. It’s not much, but I feel underdressed next to her.

She gives me a scowl—I hope it’s just for being late—but it’s that playful one she uses when we get into any sort of contest, and it changes to a smile pretty quick, so I feel better. “You’re a little late, but I’ll forgive ya fer bein’ so hot.” She runs a hoof down the yellow stripe of my mane and gives my bangs a playful flick. “Yer mane looks nice tonight.”

I try to keep the blush out of my face, but my wings betray me with a woosh of displaced air. It’s not easy being a pegasus sometimes.

“Wings are lookin’ great too.” She grins and turns toward town, giving my primaries a little swish with her tail. “Well, come on sugarcube, this date ain’t gonna go on itself.”

I had planned on asking AJ how we got into this whole date thing, but I have to keep myself very calm and centered to get my wings back under control. AJ’s just chatting about kinda boring stuff about the weather— I think she knows it’s just the distraction I need right now. Thank Celestia—by the time we see anypony else on the streets, my wings are folded back against my sides. When I finally look up, though, we’re already at the restaurant. There goes that chance—gotta look for another one.

AJ’s picked a good restaurant—Mare’s Country Kitchen. Rarity or Fluttershy might scoff at it, but an all-you-can-eat-buffet is right up my alley. The place is only half full and it doesn’t look like we’re the only couple, either. Not that AJ and I are exactly a couple, I mean. Besides, I’ve still got to figure out just how we ended up on a date anyway.

It feels like everypony in the room is staring at us as we load up our plates, but any time I look right at them, they’re looking at their food or each other—so, whatever. I grab some mini-garden burgers, a pile of hay fries, a couple slices of mushroom pizza and, of course, some apple pie. It’s not quite as good AJ makes, but they’re still her apples.

“Been practicin’ any new tricks lately?” she asks, part way through our first round of food.

“Huh? Oh, totally!” Finally, something that makes sense! “I’m working on this really wild one out by the reservoir. I do a bunch of loops and get a big cloud spinning, like really going fast, ya know?” I pick up a slice of pizza and start flying it around as I explain—everything’s better if you can see it. “Then, I take off upward to gain some dive time and swoop down and buzz the surface of the lake at super-duper-almost-rainboom speed and get this huge trail of water following me!” I buzz my pile of hay fries with the pizza slice. “Then I pull up in a big arc, dragging the water with me and make a sharp turn right before I hit the cloud and goosh! Water hits the cloud, mixes with my rainbow contrail and gets flung everywhere like a rainbow laser beam rave!” I pump my hooves in the air—they don’t call me Rainbow Awesome Danger Dash for nothing!

AJ has this big smile on her face—I think she’s impressed. “Sounds impressive, sugarcube. Mind if I come watch sometime?” She shifts her leg beneath the table and starts playing hoofsie with me.

I let out a little squeak. “I’ve only p.. pulled it off once so far.” I’m trying really hard not to let my wings get away this time, and I can feel my face light up instead. “Uh... Usually I just end up hitting the water.” As if this can’t get any more embarrassing, a mushroom from my upside down pizza slice falls off and plops dead center in my water glass, splashing me right in the face.

AJ is chuckling at my expense, but she hasn’t stopped playing hoofsie, so I guess I can’t really be mad at her. Now she’s wiping me off with a napkin and smiling. “Still worth watching, even if ya get all soaked.” AJ leans in to whisper in my ear before I can decide if she’s making fun of me or not. “Ya look mighty sexy with yer mane an’ tail all wet.”

The sound of feathers against vinyl isn’t loud, but I take a quick look around to see who all might have noticed my wings getting away from me. I swear the couple paying for their food and the waiter helping them at the counter have been watching us the whole time—and then he hands them back their bits!

“Speakin’ of clouds an’ water.” AJ’s voice and hoof turn me back around. “Thanks fer givin’ me a copy of the weather schedule. I ain’t Twilight, but gettin’ time off at the farm is easier if I can plan ahead.” AJ isn’t playing hoofsie under the table anymore, but her forehoof is gently touching mine which is just as bad—or good, maybe.

I’m so confused. “N.. no problem.” My voice is cracking, so I give her what I hope is my best grin. I guess it was good enough—she seems pretty happy.

After another plate of food, a fresh not-so-mushroomy drink, and some more dessert, we’re getting up to leave, but I feel like I’m forgetting something—maybe more than one something.

“Weren’t you gonna pay?” AJ gently bumps me with her shoulder and grins. “Ya did lose the hoofwrassle.”

Horseapples. My hoof hits my face. “I left my saddlebag with my bits at home.”

AJ just chuckles and pulls a bag of bits out from under her hat. “Guess you’ll just have to pay fer our next date, then.”

“Yeah, I guess so. Thanks, AJ.” She’s on my right counting out her bits, but I swear I can hear bits clinking from my left too. Wait... our next date?

I’m still trying to sort this all out as we walk back, but it’s getting harder and harder to think clearly. AJ keeps brushing her flank up against mine or her tail against my wings and it all just feels so awesome, but totally distracting too. Maybe I can think after I drop her off at the Acres. It can’t be too long—I’m pretty sure those are apple trees we’re walking by.

“You free on Friday?”

We’re at AJ’s door now and she’s got her hoof playing with my mane. “Yeah. What’s up on Friday?” I think my wings are back up, but there’s nopony around to see now.

“Our second date,” she says as if it’s obvious. “You know, three day rule. Kinda silly, but we gotta do this proper if we’re gonna be dating, right.”

“Yeah, that makes sense.” It does—every time I’ve broken the three day rule, I’ve regretted it.

“Good.” She smiles radiantly. “I’ll come pick you up Friday and you can pick what to do, but it’s still your turn to pay, remember.” She winks at me and runs a hoof under my chin.

“Right, yeah. I won’t forget, AJ.” I feel like I’m floating on clouds right now. Then, AJ leans in and kisses my cheek, and now I’m floating up in the stratosphere and all the clouds have been left far behind.

“Night, sugarcube. See ya later.” AJ walks into her house with that tail swish she does so well.

As I’m walking home, I think I can hear somepony shushing a giggle in the bushes and the clink of a few bits, but it sounds far away and by the time I really notice, I’m staring at the front door of my house.

I can’t worry about that, though. I have another date with AJ in three days and I have to figure out what we’ll do.

Wait, another date already? What in Celestia’s name just happened?

Three days. You'd think three days would be plenty of time to figure out what AJ's been up to. Ha! I wish.

Wednesday, I roll out of bed, and I’m feeling pretty good. I still feel a little tingly where AJ kissed me. What the hay, though? I like AJ a lot, but I thought, if anything, I'd be the one asking her out. Maybe I did, though. I don’t even remember her asking me.

I've got plenty of time to go talk to her now, but I'm not sure if I should. I kinda want this to go somewhere, and I've never made it to a second date by breaking that dumb rule. Who decided on three days anyway?

On the other hoof, we already set the date and AJ wouldn't just leave me hanging if I went to see her early, would she?

As soon as I finish breakfast and step outside, I find out I've got other things to worry about. I’m pretty sure today's supposed to be only 10% overcast, all cumulus. Unfortunately, the sky is half covered in various types of nimbus, and it’s starting to drizzle. I go and recheck the weather schedule just to be sure.

If there's one thing I'm never wrong about, it's the weather. Whoever messed this up is going to get a swift kick in the flank. The worst part is, we can't just bust up all this nimbus, Cloudsdale is having a shortage. This is going to take me all day...

It’s late evening when I get home. I flop into bed, exhausted from a long day of very careful cloud wrangling. I love Flitter and Cloudchaser like sisters and they’re great fliers, but they are way too featherbrained for morning weather duty. Maybe I'll give them a shot at the evening shift.

I fall asleep, hoping that tomorrow at least gives me some time to think.

Thursday morning, I wake up late. That’s what happens when I don’t get to nap. I’m done with the weather in the late afternoon. No emergencies—Thunderlane came through for me—but the schedule called for light rain and we had to be extra careful moving those damaged clouds back into town.

Part of me still wants to go talk to AJ and ask what’s going on, but I'd rather not mess up my chance at a second date. I hardly ever make it to a second date. Oh jeez—I'm supposed to pick what we're gonna do. Think, Dash, think. I really do like AJ, even if I have no idea what's going on. I've gotta figure out something good.

I take off and fly around town while I think. Heck, maybe I’ll even spot something while I'm out. I’m trying to remember all the second dates I’ve had—it’s a short list, but most of them were a while ago.

I remember Blossomforth took me to the skating rink—not my coolest hour. Lily took me stargazing—pretty boring for a second date except for the make out session, that was awesome! Noteworthy took—Hang on. I happen to fly by the bowling alley. That might work. AJ and I are pretty good at bowling, though we usually prefer horseshoes. I'll keep it in mind and keep looking.

Where was I? RIght, Noteworthy. That was pretty radical, he got tickets to a DJ-Pon3 concert. Not really AJ’s scene, though and I can’t get tickets to anything on such short notice anyway. Berry Punch took me to a wine tasting, which might have been cool if she’d stuck to just tasting—that didn’t exactly end well.

My thoughts are interrupted as something awesome catches my eye. The movie theater in town is pretty new—hay, movies themselves are pretty new in Equestria—but what really catches my eye is a poster for a Daring Do movie! Ohmygosh–ohmygosh–ohmygosh! Okay, breathe, Dash, breathe.

I haven’t been out with somepony since it opened, but a movie seems like it might make a good date. Even if AJ isn’t all that into the movie, the place is dark, so we can always just make out or something. She’ll be into it after all that hoofsie, right? I land and buy two tickets for Friday night. Awesome—now to go decide on a restaurant.

I get back home just as the sun is setting. Time enough for a chapter or two of Daring Do before bed. Since nopony can hear me, I can’t help squealing like a little schoolfilly out loud. “Eeeeeee! I’m going to see Daring Do!” I’m not sure which is more exciting, the movie or going out with AJ or both! I get both at the same time—so awesome!

Cloud busting goes pretty smoothly on Friday—aside from my heart pounding in my chest every time I think about what’s coming up after work. To be fair, I only busted five tufts of cumulus too many, and two sheets of nimbostratus that we were saving for the weekend, and I might have kicked a thunderhead by mistake. I’ll deal with all that later—I have a date to get ready for.

A quick shower gets all the char off from that lightning strike and stops my mane and tail from standing on end. I still need to preen my wings, that’s a given. No way I can just brush my mane and tail again and call it good, though—gotta kick things up a notch. Rarity uses any excuse she can to give out beauty products as presents, and I’m pretty sure I still have some lying around.

A couple hours—and several dirty words—later, I’m all set. My wings all preened and shiny. I put on just a little mascara—and almost put out an eye—but I think my mane and tail are the best part. I found some shampoo in the stuff Rarity gave me that made them all poofy and flowy. I put my mane up in that cool little ponytail thing she did for me for the gala and the way my tail flows, it kinda looks like my rainbow contrail, except upside down. It’s pretty radical.

I carefully glide down when I hear AJ calling. Her tail is in the same sort of braid as last time, but her mane is in two braids now and she must have borrowed one of Apple Bloom’s bows. I think she put on a bit of eye shadow too, not overdone like Rarity, just a hint. It’s weird seeing her without a hat and wearing makeup, but it’s also pretty hot. I’m glad I put in a little more effort tonight. I still feel underdressed next to AJ, but not as much as last time.

“Hey there, good lookin’.” AJ saunters up, checking me out. I give her a confident grin, but my heart starts to race as she nuzzles up against me and I can feel her hot breath in my ear. “If you’re tryin’ ta impress me tonight, it’s already workin’.”

I stamp a hoof and nicker with the effort it takes to keep my wings down. My face has got to be as red as Big Mac, though. Why do you have to be so good at that, AJ? Seriously, It’s like my brain is stuck in the middle of a big orange and blond fog and all I can make out through the clouds are a gorgeous pair of emerald eyes and three little red apples.

“So, where’re we goin’ tonight?” The words penetrate the fog and snap me back to reality. Focus, Dash. You’re supposed to be in charge tonight, remember?

I fish around in my saddlebag and pull out the tickets, remembering to check whether I packed enough bits for dinner as well. “Got us tickets to a movie.”

From the look on AJ’s face, I think I finally managed to surprise her—score a point for Rainbow! “Ain’t never been on a date to see a movie before.”

“Me either, but it’s Daring Do, there’s no way it can’t be awesome!” I rear up and pump my forehooves—best idea ever!

AJ just chuckles at me and slides up beside me as I drop back to all fours. “Sittin’ in the back of a dark theater? I can see how that’d be fun. Lead the way, sugarcube,” she purrs into my ear as she wraps her tail around mine. My brain goes all foggy again, and it takes a minute for me to remember that I’m supposed to be lead pony tonight.

I'm sort of getting used to AJ touching me so much, but not fast enough. The way our coats keep brushing as we walk into town is making it really hard to stay focused. I decide to drape a wing over her back and hold her close—AJ seems to like that. I swear I can hear more bits clinking in the bushes along the road.

My head still feels fuzzy, but the steady touch of her coat is much easier on my nerves. I can't help feeling like there was something I wanted to ask AJ, but I'm having enough trouble just walking in a straight line right now.

A short, silent walk later, we get to the theater and get some snacks. Dinner's only a couple hours away, so we just get a bag of popcorn and a hay smoothie to share.

Out of the fog in my head, I remember AJ saying something about sitting in the back, so I lead her down the very back row and grab two seats in the middle—perfect spot to see the screen from.

The seats are pretty close together, AJ and I are sharing an armrest between us, so our forelegs keep touching—it’s making my brain kinda foggy again. I’d move over a seat, but that seems like it wouldn’t make a very good date—I can manage. AJ’s just grinning to herself beside me—I guess she must be as excited as I am to see Daring Do!

The theater is still pretty empty when the movie starts, and nopony else is sitting farther than halfway back. The movie’s been out for a while, so I guess most everypony else has seen it—I’ll have to pay attention if they make more movies, I definitely don’t want to miss out.

This is so awesome! I can’t look away from the screen. Of course, just as Daring lands outside the crumbling temple and Ahuizotl shows up to nab the statue, I start feeling kinda hungry. As I reach for the popcorn, my hoof bumps into something that is definitely not popcorn. I tear my eyes away from the screen and see that AJ went for the bag at the same time. I grin at her and she grins back, moving her hoof back and ducking for a sip of our hay shake instead. I smile thanks and grab some popcorn, but my face lights up in a blush—I don’t think it takes that much tongue to drink from a straw. If they weren’t stuck against the back of the seat, my wings would be going crazy right now.

I try and focus back on the movie and my popcorn—dang, they salted it way too much, I hope they’re not serving this to the foals. I’m about to take a sip of the hay shake when I stop, my eyes locked on the straw. I can’t help thinking about what AJ was just doing to it—her lips and tongue were all over it. I only got one straw, so if I take a sip, I’m practically kissing AJ. She kissed me on the cheek last night, and I know I was thinking about makeouts, but getting it from a straw just seems lame.

“Y’all can take a sip, sugarcube. I ain’t got cooties.” I can feel that hot breath in my ear again and the sound of the movie fades into the background. “Unless you’d rather get your sugar straight up?” I can feel her tongue flick against my ear and all I can do is nicker softly as my eyes roll back into my skull.

I can feel stuff moving, but I have no idea what’s happening until it’s over. When the fog in my head clears again, the armrest between me and AJ is folded up and AJ’s got her foreleg around my withers. What was I doing, again? Straw, lips, AJ, kiss—kiss AJ? I was about to kiss AJ, wasn’t I? We’re cuddled together and her lips are so close to me—why not? Our lips meet, and the fog rolls into my brain again.

Oh Celestia! Oh Luna! What the flying hay just happened?

I don’t remember anything about the movie. I’m surprisingly okay with this. AJ and I step out of the theater. My wing is over her back—as much to steady myself as to hold her close. “Enjoy the movie, sugarcube?” AJ nuzzles me as she asks—I can only giggle stupidly. Suddenly, our stomachs growl in unison—we didn’t get through much of our popcorn. “Y’all got dinner lined up for us?”

Dinner? Oh, right! I’m lead pony tonight. “Yeah, just down the street.” I lead the way down to Horte Cuisine. I know it’s more of a Rarity or Fluttershy thing, but I am trying to impress AJ. I can tell she’s a little stumped over this just like the movie.

“Mighty fancy place you’re takin’ us to. Ya sure that’s Rainbow Dash in there an’ not a changeling?” She gives me a playful tap on the head and I catch the glint of a few bits passing between two ponies across the street.

I give her a sheepish grin back. “Yeah, it’s me. This was my backup plan in case you didn’t like the movie. We can go somewhere else if you want.”

“Nah, sugarcube. Betcha got reservations an’ all. Be a shame ta waste ’em.”

We get seated at the table and order. A plate of appetizers and a glass of hard cider each to start. The cider reminds me of AJ for some reason—cider always reminds me of AJ, they are her apples—but this is something more. I take another sip, but the feeling is already gone again.

My hoof’s journey toward the plate full of mouthwatering little cucumber sandwiches is interrupted by an orange hoof with the same goal. AJ doesn’t back away this time, instead she grins and picks one up, moving it in my direction. I grin right back and wrap my tongue around it, flicking against her hoof before reeling my prize home. Awesome—I finally managed to get a blush out of AJ!

AJ’s gotta be hungry too, so I pick up a sandwich for her. It looks like she’s just going to take it in her teeth, and she does—kind of. Instead of taking the close end, she moves forward and closes her lips around the whole thing, planting a kiss on the tip of my hoof. First a hay shake and now a cucumber sandwich—how does AJ make eating so sexy?

The clink of bits and some murmurs around us remind me where we are, and I fight to get my wings back down before the waiter comes back with our meal. AJ’s just chuckling at me. At least I know she’s having a good time, and embarrassment aside, I am too.

I get my wings to settle down just as our main course is served—roasted carrots and asparagus over rice with a side of Muledorf salad. AJ and I dig in since we’re pretty hungry by now, but it needs a little something—Pepper. I reach for the shaker, but I must have had a bit too much cider too fast—it’s farther away than I thought.

AJ spots me reaching and hoofs the pepper over with a smile. “Need a little pepper, sugarcube? All ya had ta do was ask.” The shaker reaches my hoof, but it’s completely forgotten as AJ’s last word echoes in my mind.

Ask... Ask... Ask...

“I can't help feeling like there was something I wanted to ask AJ...”

“Part of me still wants to go talk to AJ and ask what’s going on...”

“I had planned on asking AJ how we got into this whole date thing...”

“It’s not like I’ve never been asked out before—I’m Rainbow Dash—but usually I get asked.”

It all finally comes back to me—everything since AJ roped me into our first date—I have to ask her. “AJ, why are we dating?”

She looks a little shocked. “What do ya mean, sugarcube?”

“Come on, you know what I mean. You didn’t ask me out, you just dropped it on me.” I mime with my hooves. “And then you kept me distracted being all touchy-feely.” I’m not quite shouting. I’m not really angry either, just kinda frustrated now that I’ve finally noticed.

“You didn’t like it?” I’ve never—never—seen AJ look as helpless and vulnerable as she does right now. Horseapples.

“No, AJ. I didn’t say that. I did like it. Hay, you had me on cloud nine the whole time.” I sigh and reach across the table to touch hooves with her. “But I’d still like to know why. Why didn’t you just ask me out like anypony else?”

“I’m guessing y’all don’t remember Pinkie’s last party too well.” I shake my head in response. “Ain’t surprisin’, y’all got a little too friendly with the cider barrel.”

I smack a hoof into my face. “That explains a lot. Don’t spare any details, what’d I do?”

“Well, first y’all got real huggy with everypony y’all could reach.” Oh, Celestia—I press my face against the table and cover my head with my hooves. “Pinkie darn near laughed her head clean off.” I let out a groan. “I tried ta getcha away from everypony, but y’all wouldn’t have none of that. You were just huggy with me at first, until ya recognized me...”

I look up when AJ doesn’t continue, and to my surprise, she’s blushing almost as red as Big Mac. “Oh jeez, AJ... What’d I do?” Part of me doesn’t want to hear it, but I gotta know. “It must have been something big. Don’t leave me hanging.”

AJ nods at me, takes a sip of cider and finally continues on. “Y’all got hoofsie with me. Real hoofsie, sugarcube.” A fresh blush appears on her face and she won’t quite meet my eye. “Ain’t nopony ever been that bold with me, drunk or sober.”

“Oh, Celestia.” I bury my face in the table again, “I’m sorry AJ, I knew I should’ve stayed away from the cider.” I can be a real mule when I’ve had too much to drink—but what I hear next makes me look right back up.

“I didn’t say I didn’t like it.” Before I can say anything else, AJ continues on. “Y’all were spoutin’ off in front of everypony too. Kept talkin’ ’bout how I make yer head swim whenever I’m near ya.” She pauses for a breath and a sip of cider. “Y’all had this whole long list of date ideas ya wanted to take me out ta do. Said I had the ‘hottest flank in all Equestria’.” AJ’s got just a bare hint of a smile on her face.

A moment of silence passes before I blurt out, “well, that part’s definitely true.” Our eyes meet, and to my relief, we share a chuckle.

“Practically the whole town’s been betting on all the stuff you said that night.” AJ’s final remark is conveniently punctuated by the clink of a few bits somewhere in the restaurant and Pinkie Pie bouncing along the street outside, a jingling sack nearly the size of her head clutched in her teeth. “They’ve been takin’ sides on what we’d do, where we’d go, who’d be in charge, all of that. Y’all made a pretty big scene.”

“I thought I kept seeing bits changing hooves and ponies spying on us, but that still doesn’t explain why you dropped our first date on me.” My eyes go wide and then narrow menacingly. “Unless... You didn’t just do it to win a bet, did you?”

“Shoot no, sugarcube.” AJ looks horrified and insulted, and I instantly regret what I said. “I waited. Three whole weeks, I waited. I was sure you’d come ask me out, sugarcube. Figured you’d rather take the lead.” AJ reaches back across the table and takes my hoof in hers. “When ya didn’t, I figured ya musta been too drunk ta remember, so I decided ta take matters into my own hooves.” She gives a little blush again. “Y’all bein’ so bold kinda inspired me, an’ I weren’t about ta waste the opportunity.”

I sigh and look down at the table, my hoof still in hers. “I hate to admit it, but you got me beat.” I grimace. “It took me Celestia knows how much cider to spill, but you go ahead and do it stone cold sober.” I look up and smile at her. “You’re awesome, AJ.”

“So, y’all ain’t mad?” She clicks her forehooves together, looking like a filly caught doing something wrong. “I knew being all touchy-feely the whole time would prob’ly keep ya distracted. It weren’t exactly honest, but you’ve always made a big point about how much ya hate awkward first dates, so I knew I had ta get us past that, real quick.”

I had to think about that for a bit. Yeah, it was kinda sneaky, but AJ hadn’t really done anything wrong—she knew I wanted this. I might be a total mule when I’m drunk, but AJ’s hung out with me enough to know I’m still honest. Really, it could have been so much worse. She was right, too. Going out with her wasn't awkward like most of my first dates—confusing maybe, but it was lots of fun, now that I think about it.

I take so long to think that AJ starts to look really worried, so I smile at her. “Nah, I’m not mad. No way you could lie about something like that.” I slide around the table and sit down next to her, wrapping a foreleg around her withers. There is still one thing I have to ask about, though. “That was some pretty interesting weather we had on Wednesday. I don’t suppose you know anything about that, do you?” I give her a playful head bump.

She chuckles nervously. “Sorry ’bout that, sugarcube. I was worried you’d catch up too fast, before I got ’round ta explainin’. Hope y’all weren’t too hard on Flitter an’ Cloudchaser. They’re nice girls.”

“Nah, just bumped them to the evening shift; which was probably their plan all along.” I shrug and grin. “I’m glad you did everything the way you did, though. So worth it.” I grin wider and nuzzle her and she returns it. “Best. Fillyfriend. Ever.”

So, that’s what happened. Some ponies might be mad about being tricked into a date like that and not being given a chance to figure it all out, but AJ knew just how to get me what I always wanted and now we’re both really happy about it—Awesome.

Author's Notes:

Want more? There's a sequel for that: An Informal Study of Romance

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Other Titles in this Series:

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