The Hidden Heart Revealed
"Down! Get down!"
"Huh? What is it, Teddy?"
His reply came in the form of a downward shove that pushed her out of sight from behind a small stand in the main walkway of the mall. Teddy and Sweetheart peered out to see Starlight, Melody, and Bright Eyes walking by.
"Ooh, we just HAVE to go there!" Melody exclaimed, pointing to a shoe store. "They're having a ten percent off sale on EVERYTHING!"
"Ten percent isn't that much, Melody. That place is still through the roof with their prices," Bright Eyes pointed out.
"Don't come if you don't want to then. But I'm going in!"
As Melody galloped to the shoe outlet, Starlight and Bright Eyes exchanged glances, sighed, then followed her. When the three ponies were deep into the shoe store, Teddy crept out from behind the stand, followed by Sweetheart.
"What was all that about, Teddy?" Sweetheart wanted to know, pressing the hair on her mane down that was in disarray from Teddy's shove.
"I told you, we can't let anyone know we're dating. I have a reputation, you know," he replied.
Sweetheart looked down to the ground. She wasn't sure what to make of this. She couldn't tell if he was ashamed of being with her, dating in general, or both. She hoped that he'd get used to it though and eventually share their new relationship with their friends. Not wanting a downer of a moment, she changed the subject.
"Wanna go get some ice cream from the mall cafeteria?" she asked sweetly.
"You bet! Um…" He fished around in his backpack, and there was money inside, but he acted like he was out. "Sorry, Sweetheart, but, your treat?"
Sweetheart sighed, but it was a playful sigh that was accompanied by a grin.
"Of course, Teddy."
As they walked over, Teddy moved stiffly to keep the coins in his pack from jingling and giving his lie away.
"I'll have one scoop of vanilla with some chocolate syrup, please," Sweetheart said, trying to be cheap for fear of what Teddy might order.
"And I would like four scoops of chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup and sprinkles and one, no, TWO cherries on top."
Sweetheart had to keep herself from smiling. She found it amusing when she was right about someone. She scrounged up enough money to pay, which was nearly all she had, then they both sat down to eat. While Sweetheart tried to make the treat a pleasure, Teddy made it into a competition. Despite the size difference, he was nearly done while she had a ways to go. Suddenly, a familiar chattering entered Teddy's ears. He looked to see the girls from earlier walking by, clearly wanting a snack of their own. He had no time to think. There were plenty of tables in between his and the girls, so he quickly pressed his head against the table and pushed Sweetheart's down as well. In his hurry, he didn't pay attention, just pressed hers straight down. Her face splattered into her ice cream, sending bits of frozen milk all over the table and her body. She tried to pull up and speak, but Teddy held firm. Melody, Starlight, and Bright Eyes eventually passed them, never noticing them. Finally, Teddy let up.
"Teddy!" Starlight exclaimed unhappily, gasped for breath from her mouth and exhaling from her nose to get the ice cream out. "What did you do that for?"
"Chill out, okay? I just didn't want those girls to see us. You're not mad, are you?"
"I'm not so mad about you pressing my face down, but-"
"Great! Wouldn't wanna make you mad."
Sweetheart looked down sadly. She wasn't happy about getting ice cream all over herself, but that wasn't what was really getting to her. She decided that, after days of such antics, she had to tell Teddy what was on her mind.
"Teddy?" she began.
"Yeah, what's up? Need a napkin?"
"No. I mean yes! I mean, that's not what I was going to say."
"I'm just not so fond of the fact that you feel you need to hide that we're dati-" but Sweetheart couldn't finish her feelings before Teddy suddenly slammed her face into her bowl again. This time, she didn't even struggle, just waited for his pressure to leave. When the three girls were safely away again, Sweetheart was allowed to sit up.
"Okay, so what were you saying?" he asked her.
Wiping the new ice cream off of her face, she opened her mouth to speak, then Teddy dashed under the table.
"Teddy, what are you-"
"Shhh!" he hissed as Lancer came over.
"Hey, Sweetheart," he said casually with a wave.
"Oh, um, hi there, Lancer. How are you today?"
"Eh, I'm trying to hide from Teddy."
Sweetheart struggled hard to keep from giggling at the irony of that.
"Why?" she asked curiously.
"Well, I was proofreading his homework like he had asked, then I spilled milk all over it."
An angry grunt came from below the table.
"What was that?" Lancer asked, starting to look underneath.
"That was me!" Sweetheart said suddenly, drawing his attention away from Teddy. "Too many bean tacos from the school cafeteria today…" She turned red at what she was admitting to have done. Teddy better appreciate this.
"Oh. Oh," was all Lancer could think of to say. "Well, I hope that your stomach feels better soon. See ya, Sweetheart." With that, Lancer left the mall eatery feeling rather awkward.
Sweetheart was about to tell Teddy that Lancer was gone, but cackling laughter made her stop.
"Ha ha ha! Oh my goodness, heh heh heh. You actually told Lancer you farted. Oh, that is rich, too rich, ha ha ha!"
"I did that so he wouldn't find you," Sweetheart explained, getting a little hot in the face.
"That Lancer is going to pay when I catch up to him," Teddy remarked. "Getting milk on my homework! That butterfingers!"
Sweetheart was hoping for a thank you for defacing herself like that, but none came. She sighed mentally.
"I should have known better than to expect something like that from him," she thought to herself in realization.
"Come on, let's get out of here," he told her as he got up.
"Okay, one moment," she replied, gathering up her bowl and his to throw away.
It was getting late, and the sun was nearly out of sight. They'd have stayed up longer, but it was a school night, so Teddy decided to walk Sweetheart home.
"Thank you very much for coming with me," she told him. Then she remembered what she was going to tell him earlier, back when they were at the mall.
"Welcome," he answered.
"Now, uh, there is something I need to talk to you about," she began.
"Hey, guys!" Bon Bon called out to them.
"Uh oh," Teddy thought to himself.
"Hey, Bon Bon," Sweetheart replied politely.
"Wow, is Teddy walking you home? Are you two out on a- date?" she pressed.
Seemingly ignoring her question, he turned to Sweetheart and said, "I hope you have enough to pay for this escort when we get to your house."
"Escort?" Bon Bon wondered.
"Yeah, Sweetheart wanted some company, so she hired me to walk her home."
"Um, um, yeah…"
"Okay, cool, I guess. Well, I'll see you two at school tomorrow," Bon Bon told them as she waved good-bye and trotted off.
"That was close," Teddy said with a sharp exhale.
"I do not like lying to my friend, Teddy. This is getting out of hoof. Now please listen while I tell you what's on my mind."
Then movement caught Teddy's eyes, and he shoved Sweetheart into a mud puddle.
"Wha-!" she exclaimed as she went down.
Teddy stepped back to avoid getting splattered.
"Ha ha, good one, Teddy," Ace said, walking over. "At first, it looked like you two were on a date or something. I shoulda known you were just getting ready to knock her down."
"Yeah, and boy is she dirty!" Teddy said with a laugh.
Sweetheart slowly got up and wiped off as much mud as she could. Her dirty eyes started to clear out by a filling of tears, and she galloped the rest of the way home by herself.
"Guess she doesn't like mud," Ace joked.
"I think there's something else on her mind…" Teddy said slowly.
"Oh, it's nothing. Night, Ace."
Teddy started to make way to his house, but then he hesitated. He looked in the direction of his home, then over to Sweetheart's. Then he made up his mind- and began going over to hers. He stood outside her window and called to her.
"Psst. Sweetheart. Psst! Hey!"
"Hm? Teddy, is that you?" she asked, poking her head out.
"Duh. Anyway, that thing you were wanting to tell me, what is it? I'm all ears."
Sweetheart smiled. She knew he really cared.
"Okay, it's about you hiding our relationship. I would really, really like it if we could be open about-"
"Hey, Teddy!" Patch called from the sidewalk. "What are you doing talking outside Sweetheart's house at this hour?"
Teddy looked at Patch, then he glanced at Sweetheart and her hopeful eyes. He gulped and thought really hard about what he should do. He quickly made up his mind and turned to Patch.
"Sweetheart borrowed a book from me. I'm just here to get it back." Teddy flinched when he heard Sweetheart's window slam shut.
"Uh, is everything okay with you two? Sweetheart looked upset a second ago," Patch remarked.
"Well, I- yeah, things are fine," he replied. "At least, I hope they are," he thought to himself.
The next day at school, Teddy took his seat as usual. Before class started, he glanced over at Sweetheart. He was prepared for the worst- an ugly look, a rude remark, to be ignored, but it was none of the above. She smiled at him sweetly.
Lancer trudged over to Teddy hesitantly then handed him his homework back.
"Sorry, I uh, had a little accident," he explained. The ink was smeared pretty badly, but everything was still legible. Well, if you squinted really hard.
"Will everyone please pass their homework to the front of the class, please?" Mrs. Hackney asked.
When she got them all, she quickly flipped through them to be sure they were all filled out.
"Teddy, what happened to yours?" Mrs. Hackney asked.
"I spilled milk on it. Sorry."
Lancer knew Teddy was going to make him pay for this. He couldn't say who really did it because he'd get in trouble for having Lancer look over it.
"That's okay, Teddy. I can still make it out. Sort of. Now, today we're going to learn about motion. The law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you kick a ball, the ball pushes back before it goes sailing into the air."
"But Mrs. Hackney!" Clover began. "I don't get knocked back when I kick a ball."
"You don't notice being kicked back, Clover, because of the friction between you and the ground. That holds you in place," Mrs. Hackney explained.
Teddy tried to imagine about this equal and opposite reaction theory. It was the opposite of Sweetheart. No matter how many things he did to her, he never got any sort of bad action back at him.
"Mrs. Hackney," Teddy began.
"Oh, what is it, Teddy?" she asked, eyes aglow. Teddy never showed interest in his studies before. She felt like she was starting to succeed as his teacher.
"Well, this action/reaction thing, does everything do this?"
"Why yes, this law of motion applies to anything you put force into. When you lean against a wall, for example, you don't fall through it because it presses back to you. Everything you go against will respond the same way."
"Oh," Teddy said quietly.
He hoped with all his might that she was wrong, that this law didn't apply to everything. If it did, then all the things he's doing to Sweetheart might cause an unpleasant reaction. He thought back to when Sweetheart had slammed her window last night. He was too distracted with his thoughts to learn from or even hear anything more his teacher had to say before class ended. "Aw, I'm worrying about nothing. Sweetheart would never lash out at me. I'm sure she just closed her window 'cause she needed to get to sleep, that's all." His thoughts were cut short, however, by hoof steps approaching.
"Hey, Teddy!" Sweetheart called to him. "Let's go to the ice cream parlor together."
"But all your friends will be there," he objected. "They'll see us."
Sweetheart took a deep breath before replying to that.
"Teddy, this is exactly what I've been trying to tell you. We can't keep dating like this if you're ashamed of it, ashamed of me."
"But I'm not!"
"Then prove it and come with me to get some ice cream. Don't hide or hide me. Let's just casually go in and enjoy a treat."
"Well, I guess so…"
She stepped forward and kissed him on the cheek, turning him red.
"Thank you so much, Teddy! My treat, too."
They walked side by side into the parlor and sat down beside each other.
"What'll it be?" Starlight asked from behind the counter.
"A vanilla shake, please," Sweetheart replied. "A small one." She knew that Teddy had to get her money's worth.
"And an extra large chocolate one for me," he told her.
"Coming right up!" As Starlight mixed the ingredients, she asked, "So, are you two together this evening?"
"Yep!" Sweetheart replied, but Teddy shrunk down slightly.
"Like, on a date or something?" Starlight pressed.
Before Sweetheart could tell her the truth, Teddy burst out and said, "No, of course not! She just owed me some ice cream for helping her with some homework."
"Sweetheart actually got your help with homework?" Starlight asked incredulously.
"Teddy, I- I can't believe you! Please don't talk to me ever again!" Sweetheart exclaimed, dashing out of the parlor.
Teddy watched her go with a heavy heart. He'd blown it.
"I guess that law really does apply to everything," he thought to himself sadly. "Cancel my shake. I'm not hungry anymore." Then Teddy ran out of the parlor too.
"What's with them?" Starlight wondered, pouring out the shakes into the sink.
Her daughter's sobbing finally reached her ears. She knocked on the door, but despite getting no answer, she walked in anyway.
"Sweetheart, dear, what's wrong?" her mother asked gently.
She lifted her dripping face out of the pillow and tried to talk with her hiccup sobs.
"It hurts sniff sniff inside me hic. I thought hic I thought I knew sniff someone. But now I hic I think I really don't sniff sniff."
"Aw, there, there my precious little one. Some ponies can seem one way to fool you but really be totally different. Someone can appear to be the nicest of all but be rotten on the inside. You have to be careful with whom you associate with."
"No, it's hic not like that, exactly. Sniff he seemed mean, but, hic I always thought he was really good on the hic on the inside. I guess he sniff sniff really is just like he seemed. Hic. And it hurts. It hurts, mom." Sweetheart buried her face in her mother's lap and wept bitterly. She stroked her daughter's mane gingerly while Sweetheart let it all out.
"Well, now that you know, you can stay away from this pony. It's probably for the best that you do."
"Sweetheart, no one is worth suffering like this over. If whoever it is is really a good friend, you wouldn't be sobbing right now, would you?"
"I hicca I guess not."
"Now, you just forget all about this 'friend' of yours and you'll be just fine. I'll be in the kitchen if you want to talk any more."
"Sniff thanks, mom."
"Any time, dear."
No sooner had her mother left and shut the door when there was another knock. Sweetheart looked up hopefully, and said, "Come on in." But she was in for a disappointment. It was only Lancer.
"Hey there, Sweetheart I didn't come at a bad time, did I?"
Wiping her eyes and nose, she replied, "Hic." She covered her mouth in embarrassment, and Lancer gave a short laugh.
"Anyway," he continued, "I wanted to invite you to a poetry reading at the school auditorium tonight. I've already invited everyone else. Will you come?"
Hiccups finally gone, she replied, "Sure, I'd love to. I really enjoy poetry. Thank you for the invitation; I'll be there."
"Great!" And with that, Lancer was gone.
"Maybe this recital will cheer me up," she thought to herself. She would never have imagined just how right she was…
Later that night, at the school, the audience was whispering, waiting for the act to start.
"Hey, Sweetheart, over here! Saved ya a seat," Starlight called from the front row.
"Thank you a lot," she replied happily, taking a seat.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and everyone hushed. The curtains pulled back to reveal a pony sitting on a stool holding a piece of paper- it was Teddy! He cleared his throat then began to read.
"To what shall I compare thee?
Perhaps a winter's night?
With a noble face that shines,
Like the moon so bright?
Like the beautiful flakes
Of shimmering snow,
Thy eyes do sparkle,
Yes, they are aglow.
The frosty winter air,
Does create such a chill,
That reaches my core,
As thy love always will.
The beautiful ground,
All covered with ice,
Sparkles like thy lips,
Which I long to kiss thrice.
Sweetheart, oh my love,
I now confess my feeling.
Thou can call me a thief,
But thy heart, I am stealing.
Can you ever forgive me?"
The whole room exploded with applause as tears streamed down Sweetheart's face. But unlike earlier, these were of true happiness. She was right about Teddy after all! She ran up onto the stage to be by his side.
"Who wrote that?"
"Okay, okay, so Lancer wrote it for me. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize! Reading that in front of everyone means the world to me. You aren't embarrassed about us anymore, and that makes me so happy. And to answer you, yes, of course I forgive you."
Then she kissed him there in front of everyone, and Teddy didn't try to hide, just kissed her back.
As their lips pressed against each other, Teddy thought to himself, "Yep, Mrs. Hackney was right. With actions, there come reactions. And boy, some of them feel so good."
Thank you for reading. The My Little Pony franchise belongs to Hasbro.