If she had known how far this was going to go, Rarity thought, she'd have let the poor dear down a long time ago. Now however, it was too late. Spike had somehow gathered up the courage enough to finally ask her on a date; and after he'd spent the longest time stressing and dreading her response: she had said yes. It was not in the least bit ladylike to go back on a proposal like this one. She would have to go on the date with him and Celestia knows how that would go! What if Spike started telling people about it? What if he started telling everypony she liked him? She had simply not thought of these things in the heat of the moment. She had hardly any time to think about anything at all!
Spike had stopped by only minutes earlier and brought her a bouquet of simply beautiful roses he'd bought from Major, the flower shop owner. He had spoken to Rarity in such a sweet and gentle voice; trying his hardest to not seem desperate. She thanked him for the flowers as any proper lady would, and though she tried, she could not seem to find the words to tell him she wasn't interested in his offer. Until now, Spike had always just been so passive about his feelings for her; always offering to help her out when she needed it yet still staying out of the way most of the time. Now he'd finally made a move and Rarity's conscience had caught up with her; she couldn't keep using him the way she did. It was starting to become so excessive that in the moment he had finally found the right words, she felt she had no choice but to say yes. And now he was gone and she was left to think about her decision over and over.
She paced about her boutique in frantic anxiety, unable to think about anything else. "Oh, why would I ever put myself in this situation?" she questioned herself aloud as if the answers would become clearer to her that way. She could catch up with him and tell him she had reconsidered; but she had no excuses to give him. In any case, tomorrow was the day and she couldn't have been anymore nerve wracked about it.
Yes, tomorrow's the day for me; Spike thought as he dashed home in a sort of semi skip. He couldn't believe his ears when Rarity said yes to him. Tired of constantly hearing of his crush, Twilight had finally told him that he should ask Rarity out. According to Twilight's books it was custom to ask someone out on a date when you liked them; and even though Twilight believed he would certainly be turned down, she knew he'd have to learn eventually. However, as he approached his home in the tree library, he was bearing such a huge sense of accomplishment that his heart would seem to flutter.
Spike skipped up to the door, opened it quickly, and stood in a proud stance as if he were announcing a sports event. Twilight was inside; sitting on the floor reading as usual when the door sprang open. "Fillies and gentlecolts", Spike bellowed from the doorway, "I come bearing good news!"
Twilight raised her head out of her book and looked on at the little purple dragon in a sort of sarcastic astonishment. "Oh?" Twilight responded, "What's the big entrance all about?"
"She said yes!" Spike said as he closed the door and trotted on over to Twilight as she lied in the floor, "Rarity said she'd go on the date with me!"
Twilight raised her head back as if she was recoiling from the weight of Spike's words and looked at him with a new, genuinely surprised expression. "You can't be serious!" she spoke in a confused yet astonished tone.
"But it's true, Twilight! I went over and asked her out like you said and she told me she would go with me. . ." as he continued he seemed to drift in the sky due pure elation, "On a date. . ."
"Well good work then, Romeo. Still, have you actually thought about what you two were going to be doing on this *ahem* date of yours?"
"Um . . ." Spike then considered "No?"
"Ugh! Spike you. . ."
"Oh no! What am I going to do?" he bawled in interruption; now suddenly very worried and speaking rather fast, "I can't just go on a date and do nothing! I have money, I guess, but what am I gonna do? She's going to expect something nice and. . . ."
"Spike!" Twilight yelled in an attempt to stop his excessive yammering, "the book I was reading earlier about this is on the table right over there" she shouted; pointing over at the table, "Bring it to me and stop worrying before you get on my nerves!"
"Oh, ok" Spike said, sprinting over to the table and bringing Twilight the book.
"Thank you, Spike" she said as she opened the book and searched through it for a second before finding a starting point and reading aloud. "Here we are: 'The Date: Chapter 5'. It says: 'It's crucial to have a well-planned first date to leave a good impression. You should do something that shows you put forth the effort to make the date memorable; not just a get-together. The book says here that a good, simple thing to do on a first date is to take your date out for dinner and then go for a walk in the park or out to enjoy a local show or festival. Hmm. it seems simple enough."
"Ah, alright then" Spike responded; then feeling a small sense of renewed vigor, "Piece of cake! I can handle this! We go out for a nice romantic dinner and then. . ." Spike stopped, putting his hand to his chin in thought before continuing, "I'll think of something. The fact is: I'm going on a date with Rarity!"
"I gotta hand it to you, Spike" Twilight added; amused, "I never thought I'd see the day that Rarity would actually give you. . ."
"Wait", Twilight resumed, interrupting her own sentence, "You are SURE she said yes, right? Not just: 'if I can' or 'if work permits'? You know Rarity's a busy pony and if she said 'If' that could mean. . . "
"It's amazing, I know; but nopony can resist THIS" Spike added, striking his best manly pose.
"So, when is this . . .?"
"Tomorrow around 7!" Spike interjected, continuing to flex his muscles before suddenly pausing and staring off into the distance with a shocked look on his face. "Oh no, it's tomorrow! What am I gonna do? What should I wear? Should I wear anything? What if she doesn't like what I have planned?" What if I. . ."
After what seemed like the longest, most arduous night of her life: Rarity awoke first thing in the morning after only a few hours of sleep. She got up and walked to her bathroom, staring at herself in the mirror. With dark bags under her eyes and a big frown on her face she slowly brushed her hair; attempting to fix it while a very empty feeling washed over her. She had finally accepted it; it was nothing. She could go on the date with Spike and act as though they were just going out as friends. If Spike tried to make it out to be anything more she would simply let him know she wasn't interested. It would be fine.
Still though; she worried about it. Why was she still worrying about it? She had gotten Sweetie Belle out of the house for the time being by begging Applejack to take her for the night so Sweetie could go and play with Applebloom. Applejack hadn't asked many questions, thankfully; letting Rarity off after she simply stated she thought Sweetie Belle could use some social interaction given that she had been pent up inside the house so much lately. It wasn't the least bit true and everyone knew it but Sweetie Belle was more than happy to play along and Applejack just decided she didn't really want to know. Now Rarity was alone for the entire day until 7p.m. when Spike would arrive for their date and she had nothing to do but sit and dread it.
It wasn't all that bad, she thought. The night would be over before she knew it and she could finally relax. After changing out of her sleep clothes she decided she'd prepare herself a simple outfit for the date. It was nothing special; just something nice that she'd wear at any time she was going out into public for any reason. Something simple, yet brash, she thought. After she was finished she ate a few scraps of food as a breakfast and then took a look at the clock: 7a.m. It was going to be a long day.
"Ok, Spike: stand still and concentrate" Twilight commanded, as she began casting a spell on her little purple assistant "this should only take a second."
Spike nodded with a smile on his face as he complied. Seconds later, a nice black formal suit would appear on him, making him shrink back a bit as he looked down at it. Spike looked for a moment and gave Twilight a thumbs-up.
"That should last you. . ." Twilight stopped, looking at the clock: 6p.m. "about six hours before it wears off."
"Perfect!" Spike hollered, "That should be more than enough time. Thank you, Twilight!"
"You're welcome, Spike. Now; did you study any of the books I gave you on Chivalry, etiquette, and Gentlemanliness?"
"Thewhatnow?" Spike replied, still trying to get a better look at his suit.
"That's what I thought. So you have everything you need then?"
"Yep! Spike is good to go!"
"Great" Twilight responded, actually seeming to change from her regular sarcastic tone to one that would suggest she was genuinely happy for him, "Now you have a little while before your date so do you want to read up a little before you head out?"
"No, I'll be fine" Spike replied dismissingly, "No one needs extra advice from a book when they look THIS good."
Twilight rolled her eyes with a smile still on her face as Spike continued: "But what if I get there and something comes up? What if. . ."
Twilight grabbed the dragon with one hoof and violently patted his head with the other. "Nonsense", she said, shutting up Spike as he retracted from her blows to his skull, "You'll be perfectly fine as long as you stop freaking out."
"How do you know?" he questioned, pulling himself away from the purple pony, "You've never been on a date."
"Spike, I. . ." she paused, using one hoof to point at herself before realizing Spike was completely right, "how hard can it be, sheesh?"
About another half hour would pass before Spike finally stepped out of the door on his way to Rarity's boutique. All The while Rarity had spent the last half hour staring at her reflection in the mirror; a sinking feeling in her chest. She hated to feel this way; it put her on edge. Just as the clock would near 7p.m. she began pacing around the store again, unable to shake her feelings of impending doom. She stopped at the mirror once more, wiping a small bit of sweat from her forehead with a rag and making sure once again that she was prepared. All of a sudden, there came a knock at the door.
Spike stood at the door with a box of the tastiest chocolates Sugarcube Corner could offer under his arm; waiting for Rarity to open the door. He had stopped by and bought the candy just before making his way to Rarity's boutique and arrived right on time. He began adjusting his suit and correcting his posture as a few seconds went by.
Meanwhile, Rarity stood only a couple meters from the door, eyes still agape from the sound of the knocking as she quivered. She stopped herself then, standing up straight and taking a couple deep breaths. "Alright dear, you can do this. Just stop panicking and answer the door." she paused, still watching the door. She began whispering to herself: "In a minute; After all, I'm busy aren't I? The last thing I should do is seem overly excited and come rushing to the door. Or perhaps. . ." she thought, "If I take too long answering he'll probably assume I've taken an extra amount of effort to prepare."
"Oh Rarity; just go open the door."
So with that; Rarity made her way to the door and slowly reached for the handle, turning it with the utmost of care and pulling the door open to the smiling dragon.
"Oh hello, Spike" Rarity spoke, giggling awkwardly "You're here. How nice."
"Yep, sure am; and you look lovely today in that beautiful dress Miss Rarity. Not to say you don't look lovely every day . . . because you do!"
"Thank you very much, dear. I just decided I'd throw something together. . ."
"And I brought you some chocolates!" he replied, nearly in a yell at first before calming a bit, "they're from Sugarcube corner! For you!"
Spike handed out the box of chocolates to Rarity who then levitated them back onto a table in her boutique. "How nice", she smiled "Now um . . . what were you planning for our little . . . get-together, Spike?"
Oh no, Spike thought, remembering what Twilight had read about making the first date memorable. "Oh" he said as Rarity stepped outside and he closed the door for her "well I was thinking we'd go get some food first. You hungry?"
Rarity thought for a moment before recalling that she hadn't eaten anything since her rather meager breakfast almost twelve hours ago. She had been far too tense to eat all day though she was rather hungry. "Sure" she replied, struggling to loosen up a bit "lead the way."
Spike walked alongside Rarity through the streets of Ponyville just as the summer sun was beginning to set. He attempted to make small conversation as they progressed past shops, houses, streets, and a few other ponies. She felt weak in the legs as her eyes hurried around; looking to make sure no one she knew was watching the two as they walked. The stalls in town were closing up for the day as it would soon be dark and most ponies were too busy to pay them any mind. This allowed Rarity to relax a bit, if only for a second; for just around that time: Spike and Rarity rounded the corner and off only a short distance away was Applejacks stall.
Rarity couldn't believe her eyes; somehow she'd forgotten that Applejack had mentioned she'd be leaving the kids with Big Mac and Granny Smith while she worked in town today and now there she was: not looking, but standing only a small ways away. Rarity pushed her leg into Spike a bit "how about we pick up the. . ."
But before Rarity could get her words out, Spike had already started towards Applejack, "Hey Applejack, how's it goin?"
"Oh howdy Spike, " Applejack replied, turning her head to him for a moment before turning back to her work "Just closin' up the apple stall for the day."
Applejack froze, realizing who was now attempting to subtly to hide herself behind Spike. "Rarity? Why, what are you two doin' together all dressed up nice an' neat walkin' down the street?"
"Oh" Spike replied, "Rarity and I are. . ."
"Taking a walk!" Rarity exclaimed, "yes, just taking a walk down the road; and what a fine day to do it, don't you think?"
"I guess" Applejack said in a confused, sarcastic tone "but that doesn't answer why. . ."
"Oh Applejack, darling, you must be awfully worn out after such a long day of working! We'll just be on our way now then; won't we, Spike?"
Suddenly, Rarity would use her front hooves to push Spike further ahead as she began to walk relatively quickly down the road. Spike hurried along to keep up with her. "Oh; well bye: Applejack!" Spike yelled back to the orange earth pony as she stared back at the couple in bewilderment.
"Now, what in tarnation . . .?" Applejack said to herself as she watched the two of them hurry off. "Could Rarity and Spike be . . .?" she paused, considering what she'd just seen "nah."
A few minutes of walking later, Rarity had finally simmered down a bit and let out a sigh of relief. "We're here!" Spike announced, looking up at the restaurant sign hanging over the two. "Chess Monster yavezz" Spike read, pronouncing the words as best he could, "what do you think, Rarity?"
"Actually, it's 'Chez Monsieur Yves, Spike" she said, letting out a small laugh, "It means 'In the house of', or, 'in the presence of: Sir Yves'."
"Oh. Well who's Sir Yves?"
"Well I would assume he's the pony who owns the restaurant."
Spike stood staring at the sign for a second more, attempting to understand the odd language as Rarity watched him. "Hey, what are we waiting out here for? Let's go inside!" Spike said, breaking out of his trance "Ladies First."
Spike and Rarity stepped inside the restaurant, looking around at the tables and the people scattered around the room. The atmosphere was pleasant and easygoing; it was quiet and peaceful and candle-light filled the air. Ponies in formal attire sat at tables with their food as waiters and waitresses made haste through the establishment. Just then, one haughty looking grey stallion earth pony with a rather regal mustache approached the two.
The stallion stood there looking the couple down for a few brief moments with a very uncomfortable look on his face before speaking: "And the two of you are listed as . . ." he gestured to them for their response; looking at a list on the nearby podium.
"Sparity!" Spike said proudly, just now noticing how ridiculous that name was. He blushed and cringed a bit; looking back at Rarity and smiling a little awkward smile as she continued to look forward with a somewhat lost expression.
The stallion looked over the two for a moment and then again at the paper. "Of course . . . well follow me to your table then."
With that, the stallion led them to their table on the other side of the restaurant. As they passed groups of other dining ponies Rarity shrunk a bit as a few of them stopped and watched she and Spike pass by. Spike simply walked with his head held high and a smile on his face, not even noticing the barrage of eyes on him and his date.
As the group approached the far end of the restaurant the stallion showed them their table. The table was quite nice: a very warm setting. It had been properly set for the two: with wine glasses, candlelight, and all. Spike waved for Rarity to sit down and she complied, Spike following suit; both of them then turning towards their waiter.
"My name is Gilles and I will be serving you both tonight." Gilles continued, preparing them with a couple of menus he held in a saddlebag around him before speaking: "First . . ."
"Gilles?" Spike giggled "What kind of a name is that?"
"Spike!" Rarity interjected with a hint of anger, "never make fun of somepony's name! Especially not your waiter's . . ."
"Oh, sorry" Spike again giggled a bit before looking at Gilles once more "but seriously, you gotta nickname or somethin'?"
"My Friends call me 'Gus'" the stallion said stoically and paused; looking over the couple again "now what would you both have to drink?"
"Um . . . I'll have a coltacola, Gus!" Spike bade.
Gilles stood for a second, looking at the baby dragon inquisitively. "I'll see what I can do."
"And you, Miss?" Gilles continued.
"I'll just have the citron Pressé"
"Very well then, I will be back with your drinks and you can get started on some Hors d'uvres."
As the earth pony walked off Spike would turn to Rarity who was now wearing an ever so slightly stressed expression. Spike would hardly notice this, simply smiling at her. "So that Gus is a real character; know what I mean?"
"Yes, he really was . . . a character." Rarity agreed halfheartedly.
"Smelled kinda fishy too. . . Hey you know where the best place is to hide your money from that guy? Under a bar of soap!"
As Spike began to laugh uncontrollably at his joke Rarity sat back and stared at him for a moment. She had actually thought the same thing about the waiter, and even if Spike's humor was a bit crude, she couldn't deny it was funny. She laughed a little with him; smiling.
Their time in the restaurant would go on with many more of Spike's crude jokes and ignorance of proper etiquette. At times Rarity would shrivel up from being embarrassed by the dragon and other times she would just laugh it off. Spike was having a great time with Rarity so far and as far as he knew he was doing a great job; even if he DIDN'T know where to place his drink, or how to pronounce French words, or which hand to hold his utensils in (and he hadn't really prepared to pay as much as he did either).
Sometime later though, the couple would emerge from the restaurant; standing outside as the moon had begun its climb through the sky.
Rarity had started to ease up after an admittedly nice dinner at the small town's decent little French themed restaurant but was still slightly uneasy. She was glad that the date had made it this far. At this point, however, it occurred to her as she smiled at Spike who looked up at her in the moonlight, she'd have to let him down at some point. This thought made her feel kind of bad about herself. Maybe she could let him down easy though if she could just get a chance and find the right words . . .
Just then, Rarity's thoughts were interrupted by Spike: "so Rarity, I wanted to know if you would be interested in um . . . just going for a walk through the park with me." Spike continued, adding more confidence to his words as he did "we could just talk and enjoy the scenery and stuff . . ."
"Fine, Spike . . . but I should probably be getting home before long. It's pretty late after all."
"Oh, of course! It's really close by. Come on; we won't stay long!" Spike started to dart off in the direction of the park before looking back to Rarity and clumsily laughing for a moment and returning to her side to walk with her.
It would be only a couple minutes later when Spike and Rarity finally arrived at the park and began walking. The moonlight shone down upon them and created a very appealing light. Rarity was even more gorgeous in this light, Spike thought as he walked with her, attempting to keep a conversation going. In time the two would reach the other end of the park and sat together on a bench enjoying the stars. The night was silent and lovely; every star seeming to smile down on the two as they looked and smiled back. Rarity had started to enjoy Spike's company but she still had the same yearning inside of her that made her feel distressed. She knew how Spike would have to learn eventually and the feeling was tearing her up inside.
The sights of the stars made Spike feel a little bit emotional. He never really opened up to anyone in his life but now it just seemed right. "You know Rarity, sometimes I just like to look up at the stars and think: Maybe, right now, there's a girl looking at the same star I am and she's the one for me? You know?" Spike spoke softly, attempting his best to put his feelings to words.
"Yeah . . . I suppose."
"Is something wrong, Rarity?" Spike asked, with a sense of gentle concern for Rarity "I feel like you aren't really enjoying yourself."
"It's just that . . ." Rarity continued her heart throbbing as she and Spike's eyes met "I have something to tell you, Spike."
"What is it, Rarity? You can tell me anything!"
"I just don't see this working out between us, Spike. I'm sorry. I can tell you have a lot of feelings for me and I may have abused them in the past but I have to be honest with you Spike: I don't think this is right for me."
"Oh . . . I get it. I knew you didn't . . . I guess I was just fooling myself into thinking I had a chance with somepony like you." Spike started up off the bench, looked down, and sighed. "Come on Rarity, I'll take you home."
"Spike, please, sit down; I want you to know something."
Spike obeyed, returning to his seat to turn to Rarity once again as he continued to look down.
"Spike, you're one of the most underappreciated individuals I've ever met. You do so much for other people and you try so hard so often. I can't even tell you how much you mean to so many ponies."
Rarity continued, staring deeply into the eyes of the little purple dragon. "You're funny and helpful and sweet and you always do what you can for your friends. You work yourself to the bone for Twilight and you hardly ever complain; something I can't claim to be good at in the least. But let's face it: you and I are worlds apart. Not only in that you're a dragon and I'm a pony but in age and personality. I- I just can't see myself ever having a truly functional relationship with you . . . The shoe doesn't always fit the first who try it on."
"Yeah but . . . so many times I've tried to get somepony to like me and it never worked out; I always feel so lonely and confused. I just . . ."
"Want somepony to love you?"
"Yeah, I guess."
Rarity looked up at the sky once more, staring at the stars and considering what Spike had said about them. "You know, sometimes the best things in life can't be rushed; but you can't just give up, you've got to try again. If prissy prince Blueblood was any indication: I don't always choose the right person the first time either. Sometimes you have to be happy with what you have; you can't expect the one for you to come just like that . . ."
Rarity paused for a moment, and nudged for Spike to look up at the sky with her "sometimes the one who's looking at the stars with you isn't looking at the same star you are."
Spike looked up for a moment and then stared back down at the ground: "I just don't know what to do. I've never even met a dragon my age and I don't even know where to look or if they'd even be nice if I met them."
"Spike, I know how when they found your egg they never found your parents." Rarity continued, looking sincerely into the orphaned dragon's eyes ". . . and I'm sorry . . . but they found each other, didn't they? And they had you, one of the nicest people I've ever met."
"I think that if you just keep your head up high and your eyes open for that one person with the same stars in her eyes you'll find out she's more amazing than you ever imagined . . . and you won't have to be confused anymore."
Spike looked up at Rarity as she finished her speech and smiled. "Thank you, Rarity. You're one of the best friends I could ask for."
With that, the two shared a long, tender hug; the two largest stars above them seeming to look down at the couple, as if reflecting the faces of two people smiling down at them; and just as Luna's moon rose above the trees in the distance, Spike and Rarity would both shed a single tear as the crickets chirped in the distance. "I had a great time with you tonight, Spike" Rarity admitted.
When Spike finally returned home he opened the door as lightly as he could so not to disturb Twilight. Upon coming inside he noticed she was there, passed out on the floor in a pile of books as usual. Spike laughed at the sight of the purple pony as he tiptoed his way past her. Except, instead of going to bed; Spike sat down at the table nearby, grabbed a scroll and a feather, and began to write.
Dear Princess Celestia,
This is Spike. Today I learned a valuable thing about friendship that I think you might like to hear. In life we all fall down and reach our breaking point at times; but it's important to always keep trying and never give in. Sometimes the thing you're looking for in a friend or in a relationship may take a while to finally show itself. That doesn't mean that somewhere down the line you won't find out where or with whom you really belong.