8-10 Years Ago
Caramel was running through the street in his neighborhood in Manehattan not paying attention to where he was going. The young colt was having too much fun tossing his ball into the air and bouncing it off of his nose to notice, and he certainly did not notice when he ran right into a filly. A filly he would meet again years later.
"Whoa," yelped the orange filly.
"Oh I'm sorry," Caramel said quickly forgetting his ball being worried for the filly he ran into. He knelt over and helped her back to her hooves. When he saw her, he was stunned by how pretty she was. Her hair was a bit exaggerated but she had the most beautiful and honest green eyes he ever saw. All he could was stare.
"Oh don't ya'll worry none," Applejack said. 'Shoot say it right,' she scolded herself. "I mean," She said quietly, "That is quite alright. Accidents do happen you know." She gave him a warm smile.
Caramel shook his head, "Why are you talking differently?"
"Why I am certain I have no idea what you mean," Applejack replied keeping the smile that was being forced to remain on her face.
"You said something differently after I bumped into you," Caramel said, "I'm really sorry about that by the way, but why are you talking like that?"
Applejack sighed knowing that the jig was up, "Mah name's Applejack. And ah ain't from Manehattan. Ah'm living with mah aunt and uncle Orange while I figure what mah special talent is."
"I like your voice," Caramel said, "It's pretty."
Applejack blushed, "Thank ya." She looked up and saw the clock tower, "Oh no ah gotta go! Sorry but ah'm late fer lunch."
"Wait," Caramel said pulling a camera out of his pack, "Let me get a picture first."
"Ya want my picture," Applejack asked confused, "Well shoot go for it. It's your film." She gave him a warm smile and Caramel took the picture. "It was nice meetin' ya," Applejack said as she ran back to her relatives' apartment.
"It was very nice to meet you too, Applejack," Caramel said. 'She was so pretty,' he thought to himself. He ran across the street to collect his ball and continued to the park. The day was lost anyway. All he could think of was the filly with the orange coat and blonde mane. That filly would fill his thoughts for years.
4 Years Ago
"You are going to law school and that is final," Caramel's father screamed at him, "I don't care what your cutie mark is. No colt of mine will throw their life away on some stupid farm. That is for pathetic stupid ponies."
"Well that's too bad, father," Caramel shouted, "I refuse to go and you can't make me. This is my life not yours, and I don't need your approval!" He turned to go to his room and the door slammed shut. He turned to the butler, with a smirk turned around lifted his rear legs, and bucked the door off its hinges. "That takes care of that," he said.
His father was not finished. He followed his son into his room and shouted, "This is your final warning. You either go to law school or get out!"
Caramel was stunned by the words and for a moment did not know what to do. He looked to his father, back to his bed, and then with finality said, "Fine. I guess I don't live here anymore." He went to pack his things and stopped when he heard his father.
"Then get out," he said, "You are no longer my son and if you take anything I will have you arrested."
Caramel faced his father stunned but only said, "May I at least take my pack with me, sir?" His voice dripped with sarcasm and his father snorted and walk out of his room. Caramel went about the task of trying to figure out what to take. There were a great number of personal mementos but nothing he wanted to take with him. Instead, he walked to his pillow, lifted it, and took the only thing that gave him comfort all these years. His father was very demanding and a powerful lawyer, but Caramel was not a lawyer. He had no interest in such things, and his father hated it. All the times his father would yell at him and force him to tears, Caramel would run to his bed, reach under the pillow, and look at the photo of the beautiful filly he met years before. Tonight, he once again reached under the pillow, grabbed Applejack's picture, and placed it in the pack. It would be the only item he took with him.
"Goodbye," Caramel said as he walked out the door. He left his former home and the city of Manehattan and did not return for years. After he left his father said softly to his butler, "Of all the times to gain a backbone." He turned and entered his office knowing that he no longer had a son.
Caramel was outside in the street and had no idea where to go. He had no money no possessions and no home. With a heavy sigh, the young colt made his slow way out of town. He got his cutie mark when visiting a farm and he decided to find a farm to work at.
Though sad at his sudden loss of family, he walked at a quick pace away from Manehattan and continued on the road unknowingly to Ponyville. The first night went quickly and he slept soundly under a tree with Applejack's picture in the pack.
When he woke up in the morning, he opened the pack and looked at the picture. 'Well I'm lost and have no idea what I'll do,' he thought, 'but as long as you're with me, Applejack, I know I'll be ok." He stretched and continued his way to Ponyville.
His stride slowed down and by the third day, he was starving and dehydrated. He was walking in a zigzag along the road, and it was a few hours later he passed out. He laid slowly baking in the sun unable to move and barely able to breathe. His vision faded just as he heard faint hoof steps nearby.
Hours passed and Caramel woke up in a strange place. His head was spinning and he felt hot. His vision cleared and he saw that he was in a house. Slowly, he rose and saw that he was in a bed and the source of the heat was the covers. He removed them and looked around the room. It was very plain with only a dresser and a table with a mirror and the bed he was laying in. He turned toward the door when he heard it open.
In walked an old mare and Caramel sat up slowly and tried to stand out of respect. "Ya'll just stay there," the old mare said. She was green and slowly made her way to Caramel with a pitcher of water. "Here ya go," she said, "You were half starved and nearly dead when Mac found ya."
Caramel drank the water and thought, 'This is so delicious.' Perhaps it was his dehydration, but he had never tasted water so good before. He placed the glass back on the tray, "Thank you very much for the water, ma'am. I appreciate you saving me. My name is Caramel, and if I may ask your name?"
"Weren't nothing," the old mare said, "An' you don' need to be standin' on airs for me. The name's Granny Smith and that'd be fine enough with me."
Caramel nodded and said, "Well thank you very much Granny. Now how can I repay you?" Before Granny could respond he said, "I am not about to take your kindness for granted. I want to help and I intend to do so. I take it this is a farm, and I think my talent is working on a farm." He looked at Granny Smith and said, "If you have the room I would like to work for you."
"Well," Granny said, "We're a pretty small farm and don't really hire ponies except for Winter Wrap-Up or Apple Buckin' Season, but I can make an exception." She smiled at Caramel. "Welcome to Sweet Apple Acres, Caramel." She stood and said as she left the room, "My granddaughter Applejack will bring you something to eat."
Caramel's heart stopped when he heard the name, 'Did she say Applejack,' he thought. He looked over the side of the bed and saw his pack there. He reached inside and carefully grabbed the old photograph. 'Could it be the same Applejack,' he wondered. He flipped the photo over and read the noted he wrote over the years, 'The prettiest pony I saw. The prettiest pony ever. The reason I can get out of bed in the morning. The reason I don't cry myself to sleep.' He placed the photo under his pillow and turned to the door when he heard a slightly familiar voice, "Well ah heard somepony is in a powerful need for some food."
Applejack walked in with a tray on her back, and she turned to Caramel and smiled warmly, "I know ya'll are in a bad way, but could ya help me out here?"
Caramel stared and Applejack laughed, "Must be the most beautiful thing ya'll seen in a while." She was referring to the food.
"Most beautiful thing I've seen in years," Caramel was referring to Applejack. He slowly grabbed the tray and placed it on the small table next to the bed, "Thank you very much Applejack."
"How'd ya know mah name," she asked.
"Granny Smith told me," he said quickly. 'She is the same pony,' he thought, 'How is this even possible? Is this a fever dream?' He saw that Applejack was about to leave and he said, "Would you care to join me?"
"Oh no," Applejack said blushing slightly, "There's only enough for you." She turned and stopped when Caramel spoke.
"I would feel more comfortable sharing my food with somepony than eat alone in a strange place." That was true. He did not know where he was and it was a good excuse to get Applejack to stay a bit longer.
"Well," Applejack said, "Sure. Why not?" She split the food on the single plate and both ate in silence. When they were finished, Applejack went back downstairs with the tray on her back. "Ya'll rest up now," she said, "We get up early round here." She gave him a warm smile and left the room.
Caramel rested his head back on the pillow and looked at the old photo. With a smile, he placed it under his pillow and said softly, "I'm home."
"Look Mac," Caramel said, "All I'm saying is that there is a different way to do things."
"Yes, and there's a certain way we do things here."
Caramel sighed, "Aren't you afraid of being stuck in the past?"
"Nope," Mac said.
"Ok," Caramel said, "I'm only trying to help."
"Ah know," Mac said, "Let's finish up this barbed wire."
"Right," Caramel said.
Both stallions were repairing a stretch of fencing that was damaged in the last storm. Applejack and Big Mac blamed Rainbow Dash on being over zealous again, but Caramel knew that there was a freak storm from the Everfree Forest at the same time. There was no way Rainbow could have known, and when he tried to convince the Apples, he was ignored. 'I guess I'll never learn to argue with an Apple,' he thought. "Ouch," he yelped. The barbed wire rather sharp and even though he was wearing thick gloves he was still pricked.
"Be careful," Mac said. After all these years, he stopped noticing when Caramel hurt himself, but this time he had to say something. "What's goin' on with you, anyway," Mac asked.
"What do you mean," Caramel asked.
"Well," Mac said, "Your work's getting' sloppy and for you that's sayin' something. Your mind just isn't here."
"Yeah I'm sorry Mac," Caramel said. He wanted to ask Applejack out for a long time. Ever since he saw her four years ago, he tried to ask her out, but never gathered the nerve. Now it was affecting his work. The only reason he still had his job was considered a friend of the family.
"Just tell me her name," Mac said.
Caramel gulped and said, "No."
"Why? Think ah'll laugh at ya?"
"No," Caramel said, "It's more along the lines of looking out for my own skin." He knew better than to try and sneak anything past Big Mac. The red stallion was much more perceptive than ponies ever gave him credit for.
Mac turned to Caramel and said softly, "This is where you tell me it isn't Applejack."
"Well it certainly isn't Applebloom," Caramel said jokingly hoping to defuse the situation.
Mac glared at him.
"Ok ok," Caramel said, "It's Applejack. Look Mac I'm sorry, but I've loved her for a long time."
"Four years of barely knowing her is hardly a long time," Mac said.
"It would be closer to ten years Mac," Caramel said, "I met her back when I still lived in Manehattan and I took her picture. I kept it and it comforted me, and now I live on the same farm as her. I don't know what to call it, but I can't ignore it."
Mac looked Caramel in the eye and was surprised by the determination he saw in them. The only other time Caramel had that determination was four years ago when he left home. "Well if you want my blessing, I guess there are worse ponies out there. You gonna ask her out?"
"I don't know," Caramel said, "I really want to but I'm scared."
Mac laughed, "Then until you do, you don't work here."
"You know what happened the last time I was given an ultimatum," Caramel asked.
"Eeyup. You nearly died."
"Right," Caramel said. 'Not the image I wanted to project,' he thought. "Ok fine." He began to walk back to the farmhouse, turned around, and yelled, "Of course I don't see you making the long walk over to Sugarcube Corner." He smiled to himself and walked back towards his room.
On the way, he saw Applebloom gathering various materials. "Hey Applebloom," he called.
"Howdy Caramel," the filly replied, "What's the score today?"
"Six out of twenty," he said proudly.
"It that six mistakes or six without," Applebloom asked.
"Six with," he said.
"Nice," she squealed, "A new record."
They slapped hooves and Caramel made his way inside. His room was just as plain as when he first arrived. Ever since he left Manehattan, he had no desire to own anything. He walked to his bed and reached under the pillow. The pillow was worn but well cared for. He flipped it over and wrote down on the back, 'Love of my life.' He turned to leave and placed it under the pillow but not entirely. Part of it was visible and he did not notice.
The sun was high in the sky and Caramel knew that Applejack would be in the kitchen eating lunch. What he did not know was that she was looking for him. She wanted to have lunch with him since they did not spend much time together.
Applejack walked up to Big Mac and asked, "Hey where's Caramel?"
"Well ah can see that," Applejack said, "Ya know where he is now?"
"Nope," Mac said, "I sent him off to you cause he had something he needed to ask ya."
'Now what could that be,' Applejack thought. "Yeah that's what ah'm here. Just making sure I heard him right. Kind of an odd question wasn' it?"
"You're an awful liar, sis," Mac said, "I ain't telling you. You just get the question from Caramel."
"Fine," Applejack said, "he's probably in his room readin' or somethin'."
"Eeyup," said Mac and continued working on the fence.
Applejack ran back to the farmhouse and knocked on Caramel's door. It swung open and she saw that he was not there. She was about to leave but noticed something underneath his pillow. Slowly walking up to it and saw it was a photograph. She gasped when she saw it, 'That's me.' She flipped it over and read the notes Caramel wrote on it. 'Love of my life,' she thought. Her head was swimming. She had no idea Caramel felt that way, and she suddenly remembered him from all those years ago. 'He was that nice colt that told me ah was pretty,' she recalled blushing and did not hear Caramel enter the room.
"Something wrong Applejack," he asked.
Applejack screamed and dropped the photograph.
Caramel saw the photo slowly float to the ground and sighed, 'guess it's too late.' "I'm sorry Applejack. I, I'm sorry." He turned to leave another home and was stopped by Applejack's voice.
"Don't go. Please." Applejack walked to Caramel and said, "How long have you had this picture?"
"Long enough to know true beauty," Caramel said, "Applejack I'm sorry you found out this way, but I love you. You don't know me very well other than that stupid clumsy pony that can't get anything right, but I just want to," he trailed off. He shook his head, "No. I don't deserve you and I never will. I ruined things here just like I ruined things back in Manehattan. It seems I'll never have a home."
"Don't say that," Applejack said with tears in her eyes. "You ain' stupid, and yeah you're a lil clumsy. You're still one of the hardest workin' ponies ah know, but ah never saw you like that."
"I know," Caramel said.
"No you don'. I said I never saw you like that before. I'm not sure now."
Caramel's heart began to beat faster, "Do you mean that you'll give me chance?"
"I dunno," Applejack said with a sly smile.
"Well I'm not going to let this chance pass me by. Applejack would you honor me by allowing to take you to dinner tonight?"
"Well," Applejack said remembering their first meeting all those years ago, "I would be delighted to have such a gentlecolt show me a wonderful time." She finished with a small bow.
Caramel laughed and said, "I hope you never do that again. I love your voice. It's
"Pretty I remember," Applejack said, "Well I should get ready for tonight." She leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Caramel waited for the sun to begin to set and grew very anxious. He wanted their first date to be perfect. The plan was simple and that was the point. They would enjoy a quiet picnic under Luna's moon.
Once dinnertime came around, Caramel made his way to the kitchen and met Applejack there. He looked inside and saw only Applebloom and Granny Smith inside. "Where's Mac?"
"Oh he had something important to take care of at Sugarcube Corner," Applebloom pouted, "And he couldn't take me with him."
Caramel laughed and said, "Don't worry Applebloom. Next time I'm in town I'll get you a batch of cupcakes."
The filly lit up and went back to eating her dinner.
The two ponies made their way to the picnic site and Applejack smiled at the display.
"I know you prefer simple over extravagant, "Caramel said.
"I love it," Applejack said. She turned to Caramel and they both sat down.
Though he made the meal, Caramel did not remember any of it. He was entranced by Applejack. She was talking and her eyes were darting every which way and he followed them eagerly. Once the meal was finished, they laid down and looked at the stars. Applejack rested her head on his side and said softly, "This is a great first date. Thank you."
"It's not as perfect as you deserve," Caramel said, "But it's the best I can do." He leaned and kissed Applejack on the cheek causing her to blush.
They remained for another hour before heading back home. Caramel walked Applejack back to the Apple home and said, "Well, goodnight Applejack. Thank you for giving me the chance. I would like to see you again. If that is acceptable."
Applejack laughed, "I'd love to see you again, too." She leaned and kissed him on the cheek.
Caramel paused for a second, 'Oh go for it.' He leaned in and kissed Applejack on the lips. She instantly returned the kiss and time froze. When both ponies broke kiss they were blushing. She smiled at him slyly and went inside.
Caramel went to his room and went to sleep thinking, 'I have the perfect life."