Darling, you really didn’t think I’d leave you dangling off the edge like that? Don’t be silly. Whyever would I do that?
It’s so much easier to simply push you off the cliff.
There we were, she and I, sitting at a window table in the bar, each cradling distinctly non-alcoholic drinks. I’d offered to have our usual when we met up again weeks later, to have a cup of chocolate milk with spicy rum, but she refused.
She wanted coffee, please. Black with no sugar.
“My! Someone’s had a difficult week?” I’d asked, and she’d smiled thinly, wrapped in her coat that seemed to act like a barrier around her.
“You could say that.”
I myself had tea. Something simple and sweet, my mind too preoccupied with the oddly quiet woman in front of me. Gone was the Twilight Sparkle I’d seen during the holiday, gone was the giggling woman I’d kissed, and back was the Twilight Sparkle that initially drew me in and now concerned me.
Quiet. Reserved. Intense.
To all my long questions she only offered short replies.
To all my vivid tales she only offered quiet nods and hums.
To everything I did she was distant, her eyes barely meeting me and too lost in the life out in the street.
She was tired, I thought. The trainride from the North was a long, difficult affair and it had worn her out. She missed her family, I surmised next. To go home after so long and to be back to a life one still hadn’t adjusted to was painfully difficult. Her heart was filled with longing, and it tainted her every move.
I felt selfish for a moment. She missed home, and all I could do was be delighted she was back.
“Twilight,” I asked eventually, once our conversation had dried out when faced with a woman who was clearly keeping secrets. I would know. “Is something wrong, darling?”
She looked out the window for the longest time, her eyes following the passing people and passing cars.
“She spelled out the word liar,” she replied and a lopsided smile curved her lips. “Rainbow did say she was honest.”
I put my cup down.
“Pardon? I think you’ve lost me, dear.”
She glanced at me and then back at the window, her fingers leaving the cup and rapping on the table one, two, three times until she sat up straight and tore her sights away from the window.
I felt naked under her penetrating stare, and for once, I didn’t like it.
“You said you had something to tell me during Hearth’s Warming,” she said, her every word composed, exact, the same. “What did you have to tell me?”
I had my chance. I had my chance to tell her right there and then I didn’t.
It was too terrifying, and even more so when I felt like I was telling an absolute stranger and not my friend.
“I did, but it’s not important right now,” I said, offering an apologetic hasty smile. “I don’t want to assume, but you’re clearly having a hard time now, and whatever I have to say can wai—”
Her words were as cutting as her tone.
“Rarity,” she interrupted, “what did you have to tell me?”
I remember wishing I could leave. I remember knowing that that was it. I remember the sinking impression that somehow I’d finally tripped on my web of lies.
I didn’t know how to answer or where to even start.
Ultimately, it did not matter.
It’s said patience is golden, but Twilight soon learned that patience was for the foolish.
Her expression hardened.
Her eyes on mine, she lifted her hand from the table and dug it into the pocket of her coat. She kept it there for a moment before extracting her fist and not slamming it on the table, no, but certainly not placing it down like a gentle flower.
I didn’t dare ask what was in her hand. I only watched as her palm opened until it was flat on the table and then, less than a second after, it had returned to her coat pocket and left behind a single blue key.
Nothing could have prepared me for that moment.
My entire life I thought nothing would ever be worse than what I went through telling Celestia.
I was dreadfully wrong.
Not a question. Not an exclamation.
Simply a fact stated aloud.
I said nothing.
“I didn’t go into your room,” she said next, as though my biggest concern in the moment was that violation of privacy.
I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t. I wanted to place my hand over my mouth, to grab my cup of tea, to do something with it, but instead I ended up crossing my arms over the table and accepting the reckoning I’d invited for tea.
“Lady Celestia has a framed photograph of you on her desk,” she said. “And other context clues.”
It was funny for me. The Lady had a framed photograph of me on her desk. A fact that would have once pleased me now damned me.
I wished I could die. I tell you sincerely and honestly, I wished I could drop dead and not have to deal with the hell I was dealing with. Oh, if only looks could kill, Twilight would have already granted my wish.
She was not so kind. Like with everything else she wanted answers from, she took her time picking me apart.
Not a question. Not an exclamation.
Simply a fact stated aloud.
“Twilight, please, you have to unde—”
“You lied to me, Rarity.”
Silence suffocated me again, and Twilight didn’t seem to feel inclined to save me from it. She simply sat there, looking away from me and back towards the window.
How many people had warned me? How many people would shake their heads at me and remind me they had?
“I’m sorry, Twilight.”
She neither replied or looked at me.
“When did you find out?” I managed to ask next.
“Hearth’s Warming Eve,” she said, her eyes fixed on a couple kissing outside. “After you left.”
My God, I thought. Since Hearth’s Warming Eve?
What now? What else could I say? What could even be said? It all felt muddied and clear at the same time. She’d known for over two weeks now, and this explained everything about her attitude.
This wasn’t a Twilight Sparkle who’d just found out, one who dazed and confused and who I could still sway and relax with soothing words.
It’s said you only need a night’s sleep to make up your mind on something.
This was a Twilight Sparkle who’d had two entire weeks to process, to think, to accept and to make up her mind on who I was and what she thought of it. All this time, I thought I’d be leading her into my carefully calculated conversation when really it was the opposite that was true.
Outwitted and lost, I deferred to her.
She found it generous enough to look at me again, sitting up straight in her chair and folding her hands on the table.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I tried to tell you.”
“When? I don’t remember you trying to tell me,” she said, her harsh tone striking a vein.
“I was going to in front of my room. I even asked you to consider the idea that it could be me, and look at how you reacted!”
Hurt flashed through her eyes, and shame as well.
“That’s not the same at all! That’s different!” she protested. “That’s not fair. If you had told me from the beginning, I would have—”
“Well, you know now,” I said, my tone harsh even though I knew I shouldered the larger share of guilt.
For a moment, I feared she’d get up and leave.
“You lied,” she whispered, and I looked away, ashamed.
“I know.” I forced myself to look at her. “I… Twilight. It’s not… It’s not an easy thing to say or to deal with. It shouldn’t even matter!”
“Of course it matters!” she shot back. Her tone surprised even herself and she took a breath, choosing her next words with care. “I’d have taken it well.”
“Would you have, Twilight?” I asked her. “Really?”
Her hesitation said enough.
My heart couldn’t bear waiting to see what she had to say, and it seemed neither was she ready to answer.
“I… I’ve been meaning to ask if I can visit your workshop. I’d really like to see your designs,” she said instead, the change in topic strange but welcome. “Applejack mentioned you had one. Carousel Boutique? Would Friday work for you?”
I was caught completely off guard.
She… She wanted to see me again so soon? No asking for time apart, no nothing of the sort? Defensive as I was, the idea that she hadn’t yet made up her mind about me in an unfortunate way was too good for me to risk losing.
“Yes,” I said immediately, knowing full well I had previous engagements on Friday already. I grabbed a pen from my purse and scribbled down the address on a napkin. “Yes, of course. Yes.”
As soon as she had the napkin in her hand, she got up to leave. She was late for her lessons, and she needed some time to think.
I was terrified.
Think about what? Our friendship? Our future? I knew that she knew, but to be deprived of her thoughts was worse punishment than death.
“Twilight!” I called out as she walked away, a desperate last attempt to somehow grasp what was quickly slipping away from me.
She turned to me.
“I missed you,” I replied. “I really did miss you.”
It felt for the longest time like she wasn’t going to reply. In truth, I was afraid of what she would have to say.
Eventually, her expression softened.
For a flicker of a second, my Twilight was back.
“I really missed you too.”
She was gone after that, leaving me behind to try and figure out where we were supposed to go now.
And this is why I like the scene from the previous chapter, it’s great. Twilight pieced it all together, all of it, and she knows that Rarity lied, and even then, she’s willing to listen despite the fact.
I felt this line in my bones.