Fluttershy was waiting at the square and noticed some ponies giving her odd glances. A few times, she would see a young filly or colt and she would smile warmly to them and their parents would quicken their pace to get away from her. 'Why are they looking at me like that,' she wondered, but couldn't give it much more thought since an orange blur nearly knocked into her.
"Sorry Fluttershy," Scootaloo said, "I was trying a new trick on my scooter. Hopefully, I can get it right and impress Rainbow Dash!"
Fluttershy giggled and when she saw the annoyed look on Scootaloo's face she said, "I remember when I wanted to be just like Rainbow."
"Really? Aren't you older than her?"
"Yes, but I was always impressed with her bravery and ability. After a while, I decided that I will never be like her so I just chose to be myself."
"Well, I'm gonna be just like Rainbow!"
"And what's wrong with being Scootaloo?"
"Nothing I guess. I just want to be cool like Rainbow."
"I think you're, um cool," Fluttershy said warmly. When Scootaloo scoffed, she looked hurt and said, "Well I think I may be a better judge of 'cool' than you. After all, I've known Rainbow for years, and seen her best moves first hoof. In fact, I often help her with new tricks."
Scootaloo looked at the pegasus not expecting that answer, "I guess you have a point there."
Fluttershy smiled and gave the filly a hug. She noticed some ponies making disgusted faces at her and she asked Scootaloo, "Um, why are those ponies looking at me like that?"
Scootaloo turned and before she could say anything, a mare grabbed her and began dragging her away. "Hey," Scootaloo shouted, "Get your hooves off of me!" She wrestled free from the mare, ran to Fluttershy and hid behind her.
"Get away from her," the mare shouted, "You don't know what kind of monster she is!"
'Monster,' Fluttershy wondered to herself.
"Um, I'm sorry," Fluttershy said, "But what's going on?"
Scootaloo looked up at Fluttershy and said, "There's a rumor going around that you're a, um..."
Fluttershy nodded remembering her talk with Sweetie Belle before. "I know what you heard but I am not like that." Many ponies scoffed but Fluttershy continued, "Listen to me! Why would I harm anypony? I am afraid of my own shadow at times! There is no reason for me to cause harm, and you know that! I know you want to protect your foals, but you can't believe every single rumor just because you're scared. I know what it is like to be scared and it is lonely." Fluttershy looked back to Scootaloo and continued, "I am tired of being scared. You heard the rumor and yes I am gay," the crowd gasped and angry murmurs spread, "But that does not make me a monster that would harm your foals! No pony has ever had a problem with me. In fact, most of you ignored me. Please, I just want you all to understand that I am not like that!"
The crowd had calmed down quite a bit and the mare that grabbed Scootaloo walked up to Fluttershy and looked her in the eye. After what felt like an eternity passed, she looked down and said, "I'm sorry. I was caught up in the horror story that I just assumed it was true." She looked to Scootaloo and said, "I apologize to you too. I didn't mean to pry you from your friend and clearly somepony you trust very much." Scootaloo nodded, but didn't change her look of distrust of the mare.
The mare was walking away when a sudden blue and rainbow blur landed. "Alright," Rainbow Dash said, "Who's giving you trouble Fluttershy?"
Fluttershy tapped Rainbow on the shoulder and said softly, "Nopony is causing me problems, Rainbow."
Just then, three colts made their way to Fluttershy. Scootaloo tapped her leg and pointed at them saying, "I remember those colts from school. They were asking about you and Ms. Cheerilee chased them from the school."
Fluttershy turned to face them and wasn't afraid at especially since Rainbow Dash was there.
"So you're Fluttershy," one of the colts said, "The fillyfooler?" He had a tone of disgust when he said that.
Rainbow was about to say something but Fluttershy stopped her.
"Yes I am," Fluttershy said softly, "Is there something wrong?"
The colt looked at her and said, "You really think ponies like you should be allowed to be free?" He was clearly dead serious. He glared at Fluttershy, but she kept calm. He cleared his throat, "I know what you want. You want to hurt ponies. You can fool ponies here, but you're not going to violate another foal's trust. I won't let you."
Fluttershy took a step closer to the colt and asked, "What do you mean 'violate another foal's trust'? That sounds personal."
The colt took a step back and said, "You fillyfoolers are all the same. You enjoy spreading pain-"
"I have no intention of harming anypony," Fluttershy said. She gave the colt a stern stare and said, "I know that you dislike me and nothing I say or do will change that, but you don't know me. Don't assume that you know anything about me."
The colt looked down to Scootaloo and was stunned to see her looking at him with fear in her eyes. He couldn't understand it. He was the good guy here not this sick pony, but this filly trusted her. He knew that kind of trust wasn't earned with presents or treats. He hung his head and said, "I'm sorry. It looks like I was wrong about you. It's just that my sister was hurt by
" He shook his head, "It doesn't matter. I guess you aren't like that."
Fluttershy put her hoof on his shoulder, "I am so sorry about what happened to your sister, and you have nothing to apologize for. You haven't wronged me so there is nothing to forgive." She smiled warmly at the colt.
The colt signaled the other two that they were leaving. Once they were gone, Rainbow Dash looked at her friend and said with clear respect in her voice, "Wow Fluttershy! How did you manage to stay cool with that mob and those colts?"
Fluttershy didn't know how she did it. She looked at Rainbow and said, "Well I had Scootaloo to look after and well I had you here in case something went wrong."
Rainbow shook her hoof in the air in protest, "No that's not it. You're not gonna get away with that excuse. I think you're getting a little braver." She had a smile that shone with pride and happiness.
Fluttershy blushed and looked at Scootaloo and remembered what she told her. "Rainbow? Do you know if Pinkie still has her scooter?"
Rainbow tilted her head confused, "Yeah I think so, why?"
"Well I would like to issue you a challenge."
"You want to challenge me," Rainbow asked in disbelief.
"No not me," Fluttershy said nudging Scootaloo from behind her, "Scootaloo would like to challenge you to a race."
Scootaloo looked up at Fluttershy scared, "What? I can't race Rainbow! I'll get creamed!"
Fluttershy kneeled next to the filly and said, "You are a better Scootaloo than you are a Rainbow Dash. I know you can win." She gave the filly an encouraging smile and the filly nodded and put on her helmet.
"So Rainbow," Scootaloo said, "You interested in a race?"
Rainbow would have answered if she weren't laughing so hard. "Race? You? That's rich," she laughed grabbing her stomach. After a minute, she stopped laughing and saw that both Fluttershy and Scootaloo were serious.
"Ok," she said, "If you insist on being embarrassed. It's been years since I've ridden one of these things, and I won't take it easy on you."
Rainbow took off to Pinkie's house. Fluttershy looked at Scootaloo and said, "Don't worry. She has never ridden a scooter. All she knows is flying and running." Scootaloo tried to smile and failed, so Fluttershy said, "I should know, I've known her since we were fillies."
"That's true," Scootaloo said feeling a bit calmer.
Suddenly, a sweaty and tired Applejack made her way to the town square. She saw Fluttershy and Scootaloo and ran up to them.
"Fluttershy are you ok," she gasped between breaths.
"Yes I'm fine," Fluttershy said. "Applejack are you alright?"
"Yeah I'm fine," Applejack said still winded, "It's just ah heard some colts were looking for you and I got worried that they'd try and rough ya up some."
"Oh yes I met them," Fluttershy said, "We talked and they went on their way."
"Oh," Applejack said embarrassed, "so I ran for nothing?"
"Not for nothing," Fluttershy said giving Applejack a small kiss on the lips. She laughed when she heard Scootaloo gasp.
"You're her girlfriend," Scootaloo shouted. "Why didn't Applebloom tell Sweetie Belle and me?"
"She only found out today. I was worried how she'd take the news," Applejack said.
"So what's it like being," Scootaloo tried to ask.
"It feels. Nice," Fluttershy said with a warm smile.
"Nice," Scootaloo repeated, "hmm." She shook her head and said, "Weird."
Rainbow landed with Pinkie's scooter and said, "Alright, let's get this race started!"
"Race," Applejack asked, "What's going on?"
"Scootaloo challenged Rainbow Dash to a race on scooters," Fluttershy said.
"Is that filly crazy," Applejack laughed. She was going to continue but a cold glance from Fluttershy stopped her.
Fluttershy kneeled next to Scootaloo and said, "Remember, you are the best Scootaloo in all of Equestria! There is no other pony like you."
Scootaloo nodded and Fluttershy got into position to start the race.
"On you mark," Rainbow and Scootaloo got ready. Scootaloo flapped her wings to get ready to take off, a trick Rainbow didn't know about. "Get set," both pegasi leaned forward itching to get going. "GO!" Fluttershy shot to the sky out of the way of both racers.
Rainbow did not make a very good start tripping slightly as she tried to use her back legs to kick off. Scootaloo on the other hoof kicked off quickly and began using her wings to gain speed.
Rainbow was shocked that she was behind, but being a quick study of almost all things athletic began imitating the filly's wings and began to pass her up. She gave Scootaloo a smirk as they made the first turn, and Rainbow, not used to using her wings like this, made her turn far too wide allowing Scootaloo to gain the lead again.
Back on the straightaway, both pegasi were neck and neck for a while, but the older athlete passed up the younger until she hit a rock in the path, and her flapping wings launched into the air and then quickly into the ground. Scootaloo shot passed her and made the second turn even tighter than the first.
Rainbow was now very behind and the race was almost over. She put all she had into her speed and control. She was not about to be upstaged by this filly whose name she couldn't even remember. She built up her speed shot around the second turn and sped toward the finish line.
Scootaloo was getting tired and felt that she would lose. It would be a close race but she was simply no Rainbow Dash. She then heard Fluttershy's voice, 'You are the best Scootaloo in all of Equestria! There is no other pony like you.' She gripped the scooter tighter and flapped her wings harder than ever. The finish line was getting closer. Fifteen feet. She could do this. Ten feet. Almost there. Five feet. Be the best Scootaloo in all of Equestria. She felt the rope that marked the finish line and a split second later felt a rush of air as Rainbow Dash passed her.
She collapsed to the ground panting and wheezing, but she was smiling. She heard something but could not make out any words. Suddenly, Fluttershy's face filled her view. She was saying something but it was garbled. Scootaloo shook her head and sat up.
Rainbow was not pleased and Applejack was laughing at her. Fluttershy was giving Scootaloo a big smile, and she knew. "I won," she gasped. Fluttershy nodded and Scootaloo jumped in the air screaming, "I won! I am the best Scootaloo ever!"
She hugged Fluttershy and whispered, "Thank you. I would never have challenged Rainbow on my own."
Fluttershy hugged her back and said, "You just needed to be shown a little confidence." Fluttershy looked to Applejack and Scootaloo understood. The strength Fluttershy got from Applejack she was able to give to Scootaloo.
Scootaloo walked up to Rainbow and said smiling to her idol, "That was a good race."
"Yeah whatever," Rainbow said and was about to take off.
"What is your problem," Scootaloo asked.
Rainbow turned around and before she could say something Scootaloo said, "So what? The Great Rainbow Dash isn't the best at every little thing? I beat you at something I am good at. Something I spent years practicing. Something you've never done, and I barely beat you! Why can't you be a good sport about it?"
"I hate losing," Rainbow said.
"And I hate being in your shadow. I always get compared to you. 'Oh, you're quite the athlete. You might be as good as Rainbow Dash one day.' You know what? I liked that! I was thrilled to be compared to the coolest, bravest pony around. I wear my mane like you. I even thought about saving my bits and going to the spa to get my coat, mane, and tail colored to match you, but now," Scootaloo said with an edge of disgust in her voice, "Now that I see you can't even congratulate somepony who you know admires you. Somepony who thinks the world of you. Now I'm not sure I want to be compared to you anymore."
Scootaloo picked up her scooter and began to head home when she felt a hoof on her shoulder. "Fluttershy," she began and saw that the hoof was blue not yellow. She turned around and saw Rainbow looking at her ashamed of her actions.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I let my need to win everything hurt you. That was an awesome race." She stuck her hoof out in apology and Scootaloo shook it slowly. She was still angry at Rainbow but accepted the apology.
Rainbow smiled and took off with Pinkie's scooter. Fluttershy walked up to Scootaloo and said, "You really are the best Scootaloo ever."
Scootaloo hugged Fluttershy and with tears in her eyes said, "Thank you Fluttershy. I gotta tell Sweetie Belle and Applebloom." She then turned towards Rarity's boutique.
Once Rainbow flew away, Scootaloo zipped off on her scooter, and the crowd dispersed, only Fluttershy and Applejack were left in the town square. Applejack looked embarrassed because she was still covered in sweat from her run and said, "I'm sorry about the state ah'm in. I guess you don't wanna go to dinner with me."
Fluttershy giggled and gave Applejack a hug. She was wearing a perfume that smelled like flowers, and Applejack wanted nothing more than to scoop her up and take her back home. 'Easy there Applejack,' she reminded herself.
Instead, she said, "Well if you still wanna go then we probably should get going."
Fluttershy nodded and both ponies made their way to the restaurant. It was a cool evening and that helped Applejack's coat dry off quicker but she still smelled of sweat. She was feeling very self-conscious.
Fluttershy could see that Applejack was uncomfortable and said, "Um, would you like to go some other time?"
Applejack stopped and said with her head down, "No sugarcube. It's best we go tonight cause if we don't I doubt I'll build up the nerve to go again."
Fluttershy smiled at Applejack and nuzzled her cheek. "Thank you. I really appreciate it."
Applejack nodded and the two entered the restaurant. It was a nice place. The first thing Applejack noticed was the abundance of green. Though the building was built of wood, there was a great deal of ivy growing on the walls. There was even some ivy on the tables. Applejack was about to walk right in and look for a table when she bumped into the hostess.
The hostess gave her a fake smile and then sniffed and gave her a look of disgust. "The employee entrance is around the back," she said.
"We're customers," Fluttershy said, "We would like a table for two, please."
The hostess scoffed and led the two ponies to a small table, and said, "A waiter will be with you, two in a moment."
"Well she seems mighty neighborly," Applejack said, "I hope she don' expect a tip."
"Um," Fluttershy said, "We don't tip the hostess."
"Well that explains the foul mood," Applejack said still annoyed.
At that moment an older unicorn stallion arrived at their table, "Good evening, I will be your waiter for this evening. May I offer you something to drink?"
Fluttershy looked over the drink menu and saw a wine that she enjoyed, "Yes we would like a small bottle of the apple spice cider."
The waiter nodded and asked, "Very good. Would you care for a ten year or the twelve year bottle?"
Fluttershy thought for a moment, "Do you, um have any six year bottles?"
A smile appeared on the unicorn's face, "Of course. Excellent choice." He bowed and went to get the wine.
"You planning on getting me drunk, Fluttershy," Applejack asked with a sly grin.
Fluttershy blushed and said softly, "Oh the wine is not very alcoholic. I don't care for harder drinks."
"Ya can't hold your liquor," Applejack said with a smile, "Got it." She looked at the wine Fluttershy ordered and noticed that it was the cheapest on the menu. "Fluttershy," she said. Fluttershy looked up and Applejack continued, "I hope you didn' pick this wine just cause of the price." She put her head down and didn't want to look Fluttershy in the eye. Her guilt was clear on her face and Fluttershy lifted her face with a hoof.
"I picked it because it's my favorite," Fluttershy said, "You shouldn't have to feel bad because you have responsibilities to your family." She gently stroked Applejack's cheek softly and put her hoof down.
Applejack smiled and asked, "How'd I ever get such a lovely pony in my life?"
Fluttershy smiled and blushed.
The waiter arrived, poured the wine into two glasses and asked, "Are you ready to order or would you care for a few more minutes?"
Applejack looked over the menu quickly and said, "I reckon we're ready to order. I'll have your hay fettuccini with, uh sorry, what's that sauce?"
The waiter looked at what Applejack was pointing to and said, "That is a house blend made from honey and apples."
"Thanks," Applejack whispered. "I'll have that." She looked over to Fluttershy and saw that she hadn't opened her menu. All Fluttershy was doing was motioning with her head to Applejack's menu. Applejack looked at her confused and Fluttershy smiled and motioned again. Applejack tilted her head still confused and was about to ask what Fluttershy was doing when it dawned on her. Fluttershy wanted her to order for her. "And my friend here will have," she looked over the menu trying to figure out what Fluttershy would like. She saw a flower and fruit salad that looked very good, and was pricey enough that should let Fluttershy know that she really did want to treat her to a fancy meal. "My friend here will have the seasonal fruit salad."
"Excellent choices," the waiter said, "May I assume that the two of you are
" Fluttershy simply nodded and the waiter chuckled and said with a smile, "I hope you two have a lovely evening." He then turned and left for the kitchen.
"What was that," Applejack asked, "Did you just let him know that this was a date?"
Fluttershy giggled, "Well there are, um subtle ways to say things."
"I guess you're right about that," Applejack said. She then heard somepony mutter something. Applejack turned to the noise and saw a mare looking at her with a look of contempt. "Is something' wrong," she asked.
"Oh nothing is wrong," the mare said, "I was just recalling what this place was like last week. Oh, you should have seen it. It had something it doesn't tonight."
"Oh and what's that," Applejack asked with genuine interest.
The mare looked at Applejack and said, "Standards."
Applejack was stunned and at a loss for words. She was about to stammer something when a quiet voice spoke.
"Those standards couldn't have been that high if they let you in the door," Fluttershy said.
The mare gasped in shock and glared at her husband in an attempt to get him to defend her. He was completely oblivious as he was staring at a waitress's flank. She smacked him on the shoulder and gave him a cold glare that would have had Nightmare Moon telling her to calm down.
Fluttershy and Applejack laughed and waited for their food to arrive. Fluttershy said after a while, "Um, Applejack?" Applejack looked up and Fluttershy said, "Did you order me the salad because-"
Applejack wave her hoof and said, "I ordered for you cause I thought you'd like it. I can swing it." Applejack put her hoof on Fluttershy's and smiled. That smile made Fluttershy want to lean over and kiss Applejack but she did not want to make a scene. So she merely returned the smile.
The waiter arrived with their plates and both ponies began to eat their meals. Applejack found her food to be very good, was happily eating, but saw that Fluttershy was bothered by something.
"Sugarcube," she said, "Is there something the matter?"
Fluttershy looked at Applejack and with tears in her eyes and a cracking voice she said, "I don't think this will work."
Applejack was stunned, "What do ya mean? Is it something I did?" She began to beat herself up for her behavior.
"No," Fluttershy said, "It's me. You need somepony tougher. Somepony who will give you what you need and not drag you down. I'm just a big disappointment." She sniffed back her tears not wanting to cry in public.
Applejack put her leg around Fluttershy's shoulder and said, "You ain't no disappointment. You hear me? You ain't dragging me down and you sure as heck are tougher than you think. Now I think we have something special and ah would like to see it through, but this ain't my rodeo, sugarcube. It's ours and both of us need to be on board for it to work."
Fluttershy looked at Applejack and smiled, "I want to be with you." She blushed and whispered, "I want to share myself with you, but I'm scared. I know you wouldn't hurt me, but I still get scared."
Applejack gave her a hug and said, "I wanna share mahself with you too, but all things happen in time. We can wait and it will be magical."
Both ponies enjoyed their meals and Applejack was about to ask for the check when the waiter arrived with a chocolate and cherry cake. Before either could ask, the waiter said, "Compliments of the house. It is a small tradition that we celebrate the first time a couple dines here."
Applejack looked at Fluttershy and asked, "He didn't bring us plates, so how're we supposed to eat it?"
Fluttershy shrugged and took a bite right out of the side. Applejack laughed and did the same. Applejack was a faster eater and noticed that the center of the cake was hollow. She wondered why they would do that until she saw Fluttershy's nose poke through the other side. Smiling she leaned and waited. When Fluttershy poked her mouth through she gave the pegasus an unexpected kiss. Fluttershy gave a small squeak of surprise and returned the kiss.
Applejack lifted her head and saw Fluttershy blushing and smiling. The waiter had brought them their check and Applejack went to pay. Fluttershy ate a bit more of the cake and scooped the rest into a small box the waiter left there. She snapped the lid shut and picked it up with her mouth. She was almost at the register when she saw Applejack talking to two ponies. To be honest, it was more like she was being spoken too. The ponies were not familiar to Fluttershy and the only thing that jogged her memory was that they had oranges on their flanks. She walked slowly and listened to what they were saying.
"Well we are already here so I suppose we will have to settle for less than standard fare," said the mare on the left.
"It makes me sick that they let such a malcontent into this establishment," said the other mare. She leaned to Applejack and said in a condescending voice, "I know you don't know what that means." She started laughing and stopped when Applejack interrupted her.
"I know what it means," Applejack said, "Clearly ya'll don't. It means somepony that ain't satisfied, and it looks to me ya'll are the malcontents here cause I'm doing just fine and dandy."
The mare on the left snapped at Applejack, "Don't you dare correct your betters."
"Betters," Fluttershy laughed, "A pair of self-entitled ponies are not better. You just sound spoiled."
"And who are you," asked the other mare with a disgusted tone, "This is a family matter."
"Then it also concerns me," Fluttershy said, "She is my friend and I will not sit idly by while somepony attacks her. Family or otherwise."
The orange-marked ponies were about to say something but Fluttershy's stare was locked onto both of them. They slowly backed away and Applejack and Fluttershy left the restaurant without further incident.
Both ponies made their way back toward Ponyville square, and Fluttershy knew that the incident bothered Applejack greatly. She gently nudged her toward a small park and they sat down on a park bench.
It wasn't long before Applejack began crying and Fluttershy hugged her. Applejack cried into Fluttershy's shoulder and after a few minutes wiped the tears from her face.
"Just like family to make ya feel special huh," Applejack said.
Fluttershy stroked Applejack's mane and let her girlfriend continue.
"It's always been like that. All my relatives on the Orange side seem to hate everything about us Apples. I don't understand why, but it seems that when my mom married my dad that their status dropped somehow. The only Apples near the Oranges is us at Sweet Apple Acres and they only have the nerve to attack me. They ain't about to say anything to Granny Smith or Big Mac, and I know they've been trying to get Applebloom to move to Manehattan." Applejack smiled and said, "That filly has no intention of leaving Ponyville. She has her family and her crusadin' buddies. All the sophisticating in the world won't matter to her if she can't enjoy it with her friends." Applejack sighed and continued, "It wasn't anything major. It was just a bunch of little things. Being called trash for so many years will eventually sink in. No matter how hard you work or how proud you might be of that hard work a small part of you will remind you that a part of your family thinks you're trash. That you're nothing but a-"
"Disappointment," Fluttershy finished.
Applejack looked at Fluttershy and was about to say that Fluttershy was not a disappointment but Fluttershy stopped her.
"I know how you feel," she said, "Did you have a cutciñera party?"
"Well yeah," Applejack said, "It was nothing fancy seeing as how we lost our mom but got Applebloom, and dad had become sick with a broken heart. It was still a fun time for us. Why?"
"Well," Fluttershy said, "I didn't have one." She saw the confused look on Applejack's face and she said, "You see, my parents have always been disappointed in me. You know what Rainbow does on the weather team." Applejack nodded. "Ok," Fluttershy said, "Well my father does that, but in Cloudsdale. My mother stays at home, and both hate my cutie mark. I was so happy when I got it and they were just disappointed. My father is a bit of a show off and he was always embarrassed because of my weak flying." Fluttershy looked at Applejack and said, "Maybe we can be disappointments together."
"Fluttershy you are no disappointment," Applejack said.
"And you are not trash," Fluttershy said, "I don't see any Orange being one of the Elements of Harmony, and Celestia would not have chosen you if you were not very special." She gave Applejack a small kiss on the cheek and rested her head on her lap.
"We really should get going," Applejack said feeling much better.
"Can't we stay here just a bit longer?"
"Sure we can sugarcube."
After a while both ponies left the park and Applejack said, "Well it's fine time we get you home. It's past your bed time."
Fluttershy laughed and they headed toward Fluttershy's cottage. The meek pegasus thought about her past, 'Maybe I'll be able to tell Applejack tonight what happened.' She felt a growing panic but was able to control it. 'She'll understand. I hope.' Fluttershy was surprised that they were already back at her cottage. Fluttershy smiled and asked meekly, "Would you like to come in for a little bit?"
Applejack's heart skipped a beat and she said, "Sure!" She said that much louder than she intended and got a giggle from Fluttershy for it.
They went inside and made their way to Fluttershy's couch. If Fluttershy's plan was to talk more then it failed because as soon as she sat down Applejack grabbed her and gently kissed her. Both ponies kissed for a while and Applejack made her move. She gently and slowly worked her tongue into Fluttershy's mouth and though the meek pegasus was surprised at first she returned in kind. Both ponies shared the heightened passion between them and Applejack broke away from the kiss and began kissing and nibbling Fluttershy's neck working her way down her chest to her belly. Fluttershy let out soft moans and when Applejack neared her hips Fluttershy panicked and scooted away whispering, "No. please. Not yet." She began crying and Applejack put her legs around her in a hug.
"I'm sorry sugarcube," Applejack said kicking herself. "I shouldn't have pushed so hard." She hugged Fluttershy and said, "I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm so sorry."
Fluttershy said between sobs, "I really want to be with you, but it just hurts too much." She looked up at Applejack and saw the guilt on the earth pony's face. "This isn't your fault, Applejack. I promise that I think I'm almost ready to tell you. When I think about it, it hurts less."
"When you're ready, I'll be here for you," Applejack said. She then helped Fluttershy into her bed and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Do you mind if I stick around for a little bit longer? I promise I'll behave." Applejack gave her a warm smile that she hoped would ease Fluttershy's mind.
Fluttershy nodded, "Don't feel bad Applejack. I think I'm ready to tell you what happened."
"You don't have to," Applejack said. "I'll wait until you know that you're ready."
Fluttershy smiled and said, "Thank you Applejack." She rolled over so she was facing Applejack, "How did your family take the news about us?"
Applejack smiled, "They took the news really well. Figures that Mac already knew about us. He seems to know a lot more than he lets on, but Applebloom might have some trouble."
"She isn't mad at us is she?"
"Nah. She just needs some time to come to terms with it." Applejack looked at the clock on Fluttershy's end table and said, "I better get going. I'd love to stay, but there's a lot of work tomorrow."
"Good night Applejack," Fluttershy said, "I had a nice time tonight."
"Me too," Applejack said, "It was a much better night with you there with me."
Applejack left Fluttershy's cottage still feeling guilty, but also feeling content knowing that the feeling in her chest was not lust. Not entirely. She walked home and said to herself something she hoped to tell Fluttershy in the near future, "I love you, Fluttershy."