Spike starts juggling two fillies at once.
Spike looked deep into the Sweetie Belle’s eyes. She was as beautiful as ever. Her jade irises sparkled in the sunlight, as her face turned a pinkish hue.
“Spike,” the young unicorn said. “Stop it, you’re making me nervous.”
He smiled at her comment, turning his gaze down as he quickly grabbed the sandwich before him. “Sorry, I can’t help it, you’re so pretty it’s hard to look away,” he said, taking a bite.
Her blush deepened, as she tried to hide behind her sandwich. “Spike.”
He giggled at her reaction.
As the two young lovers sat on a checkered blanket on the far side of Sweet Apple Acres, time just flew by.
Sweetie Belle looked up at her boyfriend as he bit down on the amethyst, lettuce and tomato sandwich that she made earlier that day. She was really glad he liked it. Especially after the disaster last week. It made her happy.
“I had a really great time today,” she said, with a sweet smile.
“So did I,” the young dragon responded. His face slowly turned a soft pink, as his mouth pulled itself into a wide grin.
The two just looked across the blanket, and found themselves lost in each other’s gaze. Until…
BEEP BEEP BEEP!
Spike’s watch alarm went off. He looked at the timepiece and said, “Oh no, I have to go.” His voice dripping with worry.
“What?” she asked, disappointed, as the young dragon got to his feet.
“Um… Twilight said she needed help with an experiment, she’ll be really mad if I’m late,” he said with a nervous chuckle.
“Oh, maybe I could come with you.”
Spike froze. “What?”
“Yeah, I could help you and Twilight out, it’ll really help me with my magic, and I’ll get to spend more time with you.” Her smiled widened.
Panic rose in the young dragon’s throat. He couldn’t let her come, she couldn’t find out, but he couldn’t let her get suspicious either. What could he possibly say?
“Oh… is that the time?” She pointed to the watch on the dragon’s wrist.
“Oh, no I can’t. Me and Apple Bloom were going to try to get our cutie marks.” She put a hoof to her chin. “I could try to get out of it. No, not with Scootaloo still in Neighpon. She’ll get really mad.”
“Go,” he said. “We’ll have fun tomorrow, I promise.”
They both leaned in, and gave each other a goodbye kiss, as Sweetie Belle magically folded the blanket up and shoved it into the picnic basket.
“Okay, tomorrow then,” she gave him another kiss, this time, drawing it out as long as she could, before quickly trotting off toward the tree line, carrying the basket in her mouth.
Before disappearing, she turned around, and gave her boyfriend a goodbye wave. Spike returned the farewell and waited for her to disappear, before quickly shoving his sandwich down his throat and running as fast as his little legs could carry him, straight towards downtown Ponyville.
He didn’t have much time.
Twilight was not a cook. In fact, if there was one thing she was downright terrible at, it was cooking. She had complete mastery of the divine arts, and a diverse education in every subject under the sun. But every time she entered the kitchen, it was like a curse was placed on her. She was simply terrible, somehow, everything she cooked ended up burnt or splattering all over the place, or spoiled in some other way. Spike was the library’s designated cook, and it was something he took pride in… but Spike was not home, instead, he planned it all out with military-grade precision well in advance.
Before he left to go see Sweetie Belle, he already had most of the meal prepared, it just needed to be cooked. He gave Twilight specific instructions on what to do. His direction was so specific, it made her blush. She was not happy about this.
The young librarian was standing in the kitchen, with a book and a wooden spoon held in magical grips. She diligently stirred the contents of a big metal pot, as she continued to read from a book on Ancient Equyptian History. She always had a fascination with the great pyramids.
It wasn’t long before her concentration was broken by a door slamming open, and the sound of claws running across the wooden floor. Young Spike ran in, and stopped at the kitchen door, trying to catch his breath.
“Ra… Rarity’s not here yet is she?” He asked, still recovering from his sprint.
Twilight shook her head.
“Good.” He walked over and took over her position at the stove, stirring the pot of soup.
As the unicorn closed the book, she decided to ask a very important question. “So, how was your date with Sweetie Belle?”
Spike refused to take his attention away from the food. “Oh, it was… it was great, we had a great time.” He opened the oven, to get a good look at the hayloaf still roasting away.
“So… what’d you do.”
He closed the oven delicately. “Oh… uh.” He thought back and a smile appeared on his face. “Well, we went for a walk through Sweet Apple Acres, she had me chase her for a while, had a picnic… it was fun.”
“Mmmmhm…” she said knowingly.
He went back to stirring the pot of soup. “Actually, she nearly caught me back there.”
He turned to face the mare. “Well, I almost ran out of time. So, I had to make an excuse to leave abruptly. I said I needed to help you with some experiment. She offered to come with me.”
Twilight paused, waiting for Spike to continue. He didn’t, so she did. “Well… what did you say?”
“Nothing,” he responded, worry in his eyes. “I got lucky, she said she had to meet with Apple Bloom.” He walked over to the fridge, and pulled out a container filled with chopped vegetables and a few bottles.
Twilight trotted up behind the dragon as he lit another burner with his fire breath, and placed a skillet on top. “Spike,” she said. “How long can you keep this up? Eventually one of them is going to figure this out.”
“I know… I just… I don’t know who I’m going to pick yet.”
“It’s been three weeks Spike, if you wait too long, it’ll just hurt them even more when they find out.”
“So you’re saying I should just pick one of them?” He folded his arms defiantly.
“It’s not that simple Twilight.” He turned back to the stove, adding oil and a dark sauce to the pan.
“Maybe it can be. Just pick the one you enjoy spending time with more.”
He closed his eyes in thought. “I don’t know who that is.”
“Oh, please Spike,” she said with a laugh. “I think you know exactly who it is.”
“Oh, really?” He turned his head to look at the mare, dumping the vegetables into the skillet. “And how would you know so much Twilight?” The frustration in his voice was crossed with anger. “When have you ever been in love?”
“What? You don’t remember Silver Bell? You met Silver!”
He looked at her skeptically. “You mean that colt Celestia introduced you to. The colt you went on one date with and never saw again?”
“It’s not my fault he was given a royal assignment in Manehatten,” she responded smugly.
Spike opened his mouth to respond, but decided against it. After all, there was a reason Celestia didn’t tell Twilight the truth.
A knock came at the door, it was rhythmic and delicate. There was only one pony it could be.
“I’ll be upstairs,” Twilight said, trotting away. “Think about it.”
Spike quickly grabbed a mirror he stashed in one of the kitchen drawers, and inspected his scales quickly. He had to look good for the lovely Rarity.
Ensuring every scale was in place, he shuffled the contents of the skillet, and quickly got off his stool, running towards the front door.
As he opened it, he saw, standing in the door frame, a beautiful white mare. Her mane in the same style he’d grown accustomed to, and her eyelids batting seductively. “Good evening Spike,” she said.
“Good evening Rarity, would you like to come in?” He stepped aside as she accepted his invitation.
The unicorn sniffed the air and turned to face the dragon. “It smells wonderful.”
“It tastes even better,” he said, closing the door.
They walked to the kitchen together, and as the mare took her seat at the table, Spike went straight to the stove and prepared the first course.
Bringing both dishes to the table he announced, “alright, for a first course, we have daisy leek soup and fresh-baked dandelion bread.”
“Oooo,” she exclaimed, impressed.
Spike took a seat and explained, “and by ‘fresh’ I mean last night.”
Rarity’s laughter always brought joy to the young dragon’s heart.
The sun had already dipped below the horizon as they finished the soup. The conversation had drifted to Spike’s cooking skills.
“I cannot believe you’re so good at this.” She explained as he went to prepare the second course. “I mean, I always assumed Twilight wouldn’t be very picky regarding food, therefore you wouldn’t need to develop any skills.”
“Well, she might not appreciate fine dining,” he explained, bringing the dishes to the table. “But I do. So we have an Apple-Sage Hayloaf, with potatoes and fried zucchini.”
“Looks delicious,” she said, taking a bite of the loaf. “You know, you could probably teach my sister how to cook, she could really use some lessons.”
Spike chuckled a bit. “Yeah, yeah she could.”
Rarity looked at him inquisitively.
He suddenly got very nervous. “Um, yeah, maybe I’ll do that. If I see her, I’ll offer to teach her how to cook.”
“Oh, no I’ll suggest it to her, though I haven’t seen her in a few weeks… OH! It’ll be the perfect opportunity for you to meet my parents.”
Spike panicked, “NO!”
Rarity was taken aback.
“I mean… um… I don’t think I’m ready to meet your parents yet, it’s a big step.”
“Well… eh… um… I-I think so.”
“Are you alright Spike?”
No he wasn’t. “Yeah, I’m just… um… sorry, I had a rough day, Twilight’s been driving me crazy.” Another lie to pack onto the pile.
The two started in on their meals, as Spike realized his luck could soon run out.
The streets of Ponyville were dark and foreboding. So Spike decided to do the most honorable thing, and walk his date home. They passed by Sugarcube Corner and Spike noticed the lights were still on. Pinkie was probably working on some last-minute stuff. Cleaning, baking, that sorta thing.
“So, where did you get that recipe for dessert?” Rarity asked.
“Hmm?” Spike said, recovering from his distraction. “Oh, I stole it from Pinkie Pie. Made some changes, it was originally a cupcake recipe. I also added chrysanthemums, since I know they’re your favourite.”
“It was delicious Spike.”
The two rounded a corner and Carousel Boutique was in sight. As they reached the storefront, Rarity decided it was time to make the young dragon an offer he couldn’t refuse. She opened the door and said, “Would you like to come in Spike?”
He froze, “um…” His mind drifted to Sweetie Belle, her beautiful face, her eyes, and her reaction if she found out he complied with Rarity’s offer. He simply couldn’t do that to her. This was a bridge too far. “No… actually, I have a lot of work to do in the morning, and I really have to get to bed.”
“Oh, I’m sure Twilight would understand.” She began nuzzling his ears.
“Um… maybe…” He gently pushed her away. “But still, I think… I think we should wait, I’m not really ready for that yet.”
Rarity frowned, she was not expecting this, but still, she complied. “Very well Spike, if that’s what you want.”
“Yes, I… at least… for now.”
“You’re a true gentlecolt Spike.” She leaned down and kissed the young dragon. A kiss they held for several seconds.
When it was finally broken, she said, “Goodnight, Spike,” and slipped inside without another word.
The young dragon sighed and began the trek back to the Library. His mind was racing. He didn’t know what to do. As he turned the first corner, he saw the lights of Sugarcube Corner again. He wasn’t ready to sleep yet, and he was too tired to wander around town aimlessly. So there was only one option…
The moment Rarity entered her Boutique, the smile on her face had faded as she collapsed on the floor. It was replaced by an expression of dread and worry.
Opalescence walked up to the unicorn, and began rubbing her face on her master’s hoof.
“Oh, Opal, I feel like something’s wrong,” she explained. “But I can’t put my hoof on it.” She stared off into the distance. “What is he not telling me?”