Taking a deep, bracing breath, Fluttershy knocked on the front door to Sugarcube Corner. She knew, by now, to steel herself for whatever she might find on the other side of that door. There could be anything inside the bakery, from a mariachi band to an experimental and magic-fueled pasta maker. The night with the mariachi band had been loudest, but the night with the pasta maker had been messier.
She didn’t really like thinking about the night with the anteaters.
But when the door to Sugarcube Corner opened, to reveal Pinkie’s beaming face, Fluttershy saw something she never expected to see—absolutely nothing at all. There were no party decorations, no balloons, no streamers. There were no explosions, no blaring music or excited shouting. There was nothing except exactly what should have been inside the bakery, a quiet room full of empty tables and chairs.
One of those tables, however, was slightly different than usual. It had been draped with a linen cloth, and an empty wine bottlle sat atop it, holding a single glowing candle. Frowning a bit, Fluttershy glanced back over to her girlfriend. Pinkie was still smiling at her, but the smile now seemed strained at the edges.
“Don’t you …” Pinkie licked her lips. “Don’t you like it, ‘Shy?”
“Oh, yes! Yes, of course!” the pegasus replied, while nodding vigorously. “I just, um, don’t quite know exactly what it is.”
Pinkie’s shoulders slumped, almost imperceptibly. “It’s romance! Or, uh, it was supposed to be romance?” The earth pony scuffed a hoof along the floor as Fluttershy stepped inside. “Rarity and Dashie said I should do something nice for you, and I said I did nice stuff for you all the time ‘cause I do! But then Rarity said that I had to do romantic stuff, not friend stuff, and Rainbow Dash started arguing with her about what kind of flowers I should buy for you, and …”
Fluttershy tuned out the rest of Pinkie’s monologue as she began taking in her surroundings a little further. Now that she was a little less startled, she could just make out the sound of soft, classical music coming from somewhere in the general direction of the kitchen. Also coming from the kitchen came the unmistakable and inviting scent of fried zucchini.
The pegasus turned back toward the other pony with a small smile. Pinkie was still babbling away, with an anxious expression in those deep, blue eyes. Fluttershy had to bite back a sigh. She knew her best friend and ex-girlfriend meant well but, seeing how worked up Pinkie had gotten, she couldn’t help but wish that Rarity and Rainbow had held their tongues. If just this once.
There was, of course, only one thing to be done.
Leaning forward, Fluttershy interrupted Pinkie’s rambling with a kiss that was long and deep. She marveled at the softness of Pinkie’s mouth, just as she always did, and enjoyed the feel of Pinkie’s strong, warm chest pressing against her own. Just as always, kissing Pinkie made her feel almost as though she was drowning, as though she couldn’t breathe, and it sent a little thrill of fear and excitement coursing through her veins.
When she finally pulled away, Fluttershy was still smiling.
“Pinkie. Do you know want to know what’s really romantic?”
Pinkie Pie started at her with wide, wondering eyes. Silently, the earth pony nodded her head.
“The way you always try so hard to make me happy.” Fluttershy gave her girlfriend a brief nuzzle. “Even if some of your ideas are a bit, um, non-traditional … there’s nothing that means more to me than that.”
A hopeful grin tugged at the corner of Pinkie’s mouth. “You mean it?”
“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”
“That’s great!” With a cheer, Pinkie began trotting off towards the kitchen. “Go sit your pretty little keister down right over there, and I’ll get dinner in a jiffy! I made fried zucchini, ‘cause it’s your favoritest!”
Fluttershy happily flew over to the table with the candle and felt her mouth begin to water. After sitting down and resettling her wings against her back, she called out, “Um, Pinkie? May I ask you a question?”
“Of course you can, ‘Shy!” came the shouted reply.
“How did you know fried zucchini was my favorite dish?” Fluttershy paused, and her brow furrowed in thought. “I don’t think I ever mentioned that to Rainbow Dash or to Rarity.”
Pinkie came bounding out of the kitchen with a steaming-hot plate balanced precariously atop her head. She set the plate down in one quick, fluid motion, somehow managing to not spill a single vegetable, before plonking down across the table from Fluttershy.
With a wink, the pink pony replied, “Oh, it was super easy! I mean, who wouldn’t be able to figure out that’s your favorite? I mean, duh!” She giggled a bit. “Every single time we go out to eat, you always, always, always eat the zucchini last, and you only eat the stuff you like mostest at the very end ‘cause you like saving the best for last!”
“O-oh. I see.”
Fluttershy quietly began munching from her side of the plate of fried zucchini while Pinkie enthusiastically dug into her own portion of the meal. The zucchini was the most delicious she’d ever had—just the right mixture of tender and crispy, salted and seasoned to perfection. As she chewed her dinner, Fluttershy couldn’t quite hold back a quiet moan of pleasure.
“You like it?”
When Fluttershy glanced up, she saw that anxious look was back in Pinkie’s eyes again.
“I love it.” Fluttershy reached across the table and laid her hoof over Pinkie’s own. “I love you.”
The earth pony beamed in response.
And it was then that Fluttershy decided that maybe Pinkie Pie did, in fact, need some lessons in romance. That perhaps she could find a way to get rid of all that anxiety and insecurity that boiled away just beneath Pinkie’s surface, if only for a while. That perhaps she could show Pinkie that she’d paid as much attention to her likes and dislikes as Pinkie had paid to her own. That perhaps, finally, she could convince Pinkie that she truly did love her.
Failing all that, perhaps she’d find out just how loud Pinkie Pie really could yell.
As a warm flush overtook her cheeks, Fluttershy quickly went back to eating. Suddenly she was very eager to finish dinner so that they could get to dessert.
This was very sweet and lovely. I loved Pinkie picking up on what Fluttershy likes, and I loved her taking advice to try and give Fluttershy what she needed. Pinkie’s eagerness to please was wonderful, and I also hope that Fluttershy can help her to be less anxious too. Heh. The ending was great too. I hope they both enjoy their dessert. Well done!