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    XIV. Words Spoken in Anger

    Sharp Silk hated the dresses.

    He hated them, and in retrospect, I can’t blame him.

    No, Twilight, I cannot blame him. Regardless of how much heart we put into them, they were hardly a display of my abilities. They were simple and elegant, yes, but considering the fact that the submission deadline had been announced nearly three weeks prior… well… it’s natural he expected something more elaborate.

    I was shamed when he critiqued them, but I was also not terribly wounded. I hadn’t been looking for a job, so to not get that one would not devastate me. It had, at the moment, been nothing more but a venture, a quick bet with what I thought were low-stakes.

    And then he made it personal.

    He made it oh so personal the moment he brought you into the picture.

    The moment he said that, clearly, I thought my ‘connection’ to you and Celestia surely meant I was convinced I would get an industry job not through my talent and merit, but because I was The Element of Generosity.

    That just because other designers would accept somepony due to status and not talent didn’t mean that he would take in a pretty face who had taken his company as a joke by submitting three jokes for dresses.

    Imagine if he had known the Princess herself had helped me with him.

    That, if I were truly and seriously dedicated to the industry, I would have known about the open-position the second it was announced, not the day before the vetting process ended.

    That, clearly, I wasn’t serious, and that a job with Princess Celestia would not change the fact.

    And it hurt me. No, that’s a lie. It devastated me, to be so bluntly told I’m, well, medio—Dearest, I know I’m not. I know, my love, trust me, this far in the game, I am very well aware I’m frankly fantastic at my job, but at the time, well…

    I was starting out, and as I marched back to the castle, tears shrouding my eyes, his comments tore me apart. He was right, to an extent. If I had been serious about it, I would have known about the position opening. But, instead, my downtime in Canterlot had been almost exclusively spent on you, whi—let me finish!—which I belatedly realize was absolutely the right thing to do.

    Anything that involves fawning over you is always the correct choice.

    But, I was angry, and… and I‘m sure you remember what happened. Even today it continues to be a memory as painful as it was shameful.

    Even now, when I think of it, I…

    I remember marching into my study, indignant and furious, and finding you there, looking terribly tired but still waiting for me with two cups of coffee and that smile.

    It made me even angrier. That ponies would think you were pulling strings to get me places, that my relationship to you was seemingly tainting my career with cronyism, that my status as an Element of Harmony would forever shadow my real talent, and that these things would only get worse if you and I became…

    Your smile dropped when you saw me, really truly saw me.

    “He loathed them,” I replied before you could ask, and I found I couldn’t bear to look at you. I wanted to be mad, I wanted to be furious, I wanted to blame you for saddling me with these feelings that so wholly consumed me.

    But I knew that a single glance your way would melt my ire away.

    “H-he did? I…” I could hear you moving close, and I prayed you would not try and comfort me. “Rarity, I-I’m so sorry.”

    No, you aren’t I wanted to say, even though deep inside I knew you were. No, you aren’t because now I have to stay in Ponyville with you.

    Remember that thought, darling. We will return to it shortly.

    So, as I was saying, I said nothing at all in reply, which was a mistake, wasn’t it? I wish, now, so much later, that I had said anything, something, that would have changed fate’s design, but I did not. I intelligently elected to sit there, to brood in my misery, and to give you the…unfortunate…role of trying to cheer me up.

    You were never one for tact, my love.

    “Well, it’s okay, Rarity. You still have your boutique back home,” you said, and you were honestly and truly trying to cheer me up. “I’m sure other designers will want to work with you, too! Princess Celestia hired you, after all.”

    In a single sentence, Twilight, you managed to tear apart the meagre barrier keeping my ire at bay. I’m not justifying myself, of course, but you must admit it was rather painfully amusing how you proved Silk right.

    “No, Twilight, it’s not okay,” I snapped, finally turning to you, too blinded to see you flinch back. “That wasn’t any old cucumber sandwich! That was one of Equestria’s top designers! He could have made my career!”

    “You don’t need him, Rarity,” you defended, bless you, stamping your hoof against the floor. “Your boutique in Ponyville is doing fi—”

    “In Ponyville?!” I cut off, infuriated. “Ponyville isn’t Canterlot! It’s not even Manehattan! You think Ponyville knows the first damn thing about the fashion industry?!” I marched towards you, and when you stepped back, ears flattened against your head, I did not relent. “Canterlot has what I need, not Ponyville!”

    “That’s not true,” you fought back, and if I had been wise, I would have relented. “Ponyville has a lot of things.”

    “No, it does not,” I hissed, looking you right in the eyes, trying to convince myself more than I was trying to convince you. “There is nothing for me in Ponyville,” I said to my everything, and only then did regret seep into me at the expression that seared your face.

    “Your friends are there,” you still protested, and then, with all the bravery I can only imagine it must have entailed, you added, “I’m there.”

    And because I’m a fool, and because I had made my bed and yes, yes, I’d rather sleep on it than admit I was wrong, I replied, “My future is here.”

    And because, my love, you are you, you took my word for it.

    What? What wasn’t a compliment? ‘You are you’? Yes, that was a compliment! What do you mean it wasn’t? How do you know what I mean to say! Well, no, but—Twilight, sweetheart. stop.

    Is there something wrong with the way you are? No?

    Then it’s a compliment!

    In any case, you drew back from me; stood tall and proud, wounded but not defeated.

    “Fine,” you said coldly, and the pain in my heart when your eyes welled with tears. “I’m sorry things didn’t go well. I have to go back to my work.”

    Without another word, you strode past me. You did not look back, and I could hardly blame you. You simply marched forwards, out the door, and when it closed behind me, so did tears brim around my eyes.

    Only then did I realize what I had done, said, implied, and how asking for forgiveness might not be enough.

    Only then, having crossed a line, did I realize a very simple fact.

    I had hurt you, and I was terrified to realize that not only the barriers we’d slowly done away with would be back in place tomorrow, but you might never let them down again.

    I arrived to the train station later that night, two warm teas in town, only to find you weren’t there. I stood outside, the fall breeze brushing against my coat, and I waited for you. Even then! Even after everything I’d done, I was so self-centered, I truly believed you would have waited for me as you did every time. The thought that you might have gone straight into the train did not cross my mind, and so I waited for you to arrive from the appointment or task that had so clearly kept you out late.

    But you never arrived.

    I stepped into the train eventually, concerned about your whereabouts, until finally I found you as I made my way across the public carriages.

    You were talking to somepony. An elder mare sitting besides you, blindly squinting at you from behind her crooked pince-nez glasses as she spoke in visibly slow sentences. There were no free seats next to you, no signs that you wanted any other company, but I still came to a stop. The mare kept talking, and it wasn’t until ponies noisily entered the train a little further away that your eyes flickered towards the entrance, briefly examining the arrivals.

    You were waiting for me, weren’t you? Yes, of course you were. Waiting to see me so you could focus your attention on the mare before you, pretend you hadn’t seen me at all. You wanted to spare my feelings? I suppose it would have hurt less, yes, if you didn’t have to explicitly show me you didn’t want to be with me.

    But what am I, Twilight, if not a mare that demands to be seen.

    The newcomers did not interest you, and though you made a move to look back at the mare, your eyes finally landed on me.

    We stared at each other across the abyss, and your ears lowered. You did not scowl at me, but you did not smile either. The teas floated besides me; I vainly hoped that you would feel compelled to invite me over if only because I’d bought it for you. You would invite me over, I would make a witty remark, draw a laugh out of your lips, and then ask—no, beg—for your forgiveness.

    But you didn’t invite me over.

    Your eyes hardened, and you shook your head before smiling brightly at the mare besides you. I took a deep breath, and without a word to you, levitated the tea and placed it on the table nearest you. I waited for some kind of acknowledgment, but when I received none, I finally strode away and found our carriage was now occupied by a smitten couple, cuddled together.

    I made my way towards your compartment once we arrived home. I thought, maybe, possibly, you’d reconsidered during the trip and would talk to me.

    But I did not find you.

    I only found a single untouched cup of cold tea.

    I still search for you in crowds,
    in empty fields and soaring clouds.
    In city lights and passing cars,
    on winding roads and wishing stars.

    ~ Lang Leav

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