Chapter 1: It's all about Scheduling
Twilight Sparkle sat at her desk, a dozen different plans floated before her. Spike, was busy disposing of the ones she'd already ruled out. Clutter didn't help her think, but then again, that could be because he was a cat. A cat hellbent on breaking her of her OCD.
" Clutter, I can't possibly settle on just one plan, especially when I have to make sure this is the best sleepover ever for six people." Twilight said,
The cat looked at her plaintively at her, meowing and grooming himself. Twilight's snout scrunched up in frustration. She took her quill underlining the similar traits in the lists. Clutter meowed again, this time more insistently, pushing past the neatly lined up lists in midair.
" What is it now?" Twilight asked, attempting to stare down the cat and failing miserably. She checked the time. " Oh my, that's right I haven't fed you yet. Spike! Feed Clutter for me will you? I have to narrow these Sleepover schedules down to one, and I can't concentrate with Clutter pestering me. I should've never agreed to pet sit for Blueberry Revival, Honestly, I can't imagine what he had to do that was so important in Stalliongrad." Twilight sighed, moving Clutter from on top of the desk to over by Spike.
After she moved Clutter off the desk, she noticed another Sleepover schedule that had been hidden under the Tortoiseshell cat.
" Rrrrgh!" She groaned frustratedly. Adding it to the queue she started going over it. It had been one of the earlier lists of things to do at this sleepover, back when she had been daydreaming about Big Macintosh. She noticed that several of the activities on this list, actually balanced out the satisfaction indices that twilight had made for her friends.
" That's it! Why didn't I see it sooner? It's exactly what the first sleepover didn't have!" Twilight exclaimed, noting that for once her distracted scribbles in the margins of her notes had improved the evening plans for once.
" Are you sure about that? I mean, it's not even on the checklist." Spike said, carrying a bowl of food out for Clutter. Smudges of ash and soot on his face, as he'd lit a fire outside to dispose of the plans. Twilight was very particular that no one ever find out exactly how many versions of her lists or schedules had to be made before she was satisfied. Spike remembered distinctly the chaos that had ensued when her stellar record was at risk before. So for now he humored her requests for him to discreetly destroy the lists that failed to meet expectations.
" I guess we'll have to make another checklist. Won't we." Twilight said simply, taking a blank sheet of parchment and writing a cleaner draft of the Sleepover schedule.
" Ponys are going to start wondering about me if I keep burning things, and having to evade their questions when they catch me. They're going to think I'm an arsonist if this keeps up Twi." Spike said, accepting the pile of rejected schedules she floated over to him, while she concentrated on reorganizing the schedule for the big surprise that she'd found.
While she hated surprises, Twilight found that her friends generally enjoyed them. Given her previous experiences Twilight couldn't help wonder why her friends enjoyed them at all. Each time the surprise had caused unnecessary trouble and in some cases heartache for the pony involved. Fluttershy insisted that it wasn't the case, but it had sure seemed like Pinkie took it especially hard. Even if she forgave them shortly after. Every now and again Twilight could see that hurt Pinkie hidden away behind her cheerful exterior.
" Spike, I don't really want the citizens of Ponyville to think I'm a failure as an event planner. But at the same time, it has to be absolutely PERFECT. We discussed this. Next time we're in Canterlot I'll go to the Efficiency and You class you showed me. Until then, bear with me." Twilight said, choosing to put Rainbow's activity first, along with Pinkie's. Those two were the most important to please first. Rainbow Dash was always in a hurry, and the activity played right into that, while Pinkie just loved to party.
I can't help but feel a little guilty for telling Pinkie that I wanted to plan this on my own. The first sleepover went well, but it was so hurried that it was nearly a disaster. We'll eat food that I ordered from Sugar Cube Corner, and play party games, with some pranks like at Gilda's party. That should cheer Pinkie right up. Twilight thought to herself, making annotations to her personal copy of the schedule. The one with all the surprises on it, she'd carefully omitted the surprises based on which friend the schedule was going to be given to. So that each pony knew some of what was going to happen tonight, but not all of what was going to happen. Only Twilight and Big Macintosh would know about the grand finale. I have to figure out a way of contacting Big Macintosh without Applejack overhearing.
" I hear you Twilight, it's just that with this sleepover I've had to 'discreetly' burn in four different places, ponyfolk are starting to look at me funny." Spike said dejectedly.
" In regards to that, you don't have to worry about that anymore, I've settled on this list, and I'm finalizing the copies right now. I probably would've found it sooner if I'd just paid more attention to Clutter and kept him off my desk." Twilight said reassuringly.
" Oh, you finally settled on one? Can I see it?" Spike said, lighting up at the good news.
" No Spike, I have to make sure that this is a perfect surprise, and besides. Why do you care? You'll be pet sitting for Fluttershy and Rarity. You won't even be there." Twilight said.
" Oh come on! It's not like it'll hurt anypony, and besides didn't you tell Pinkie that I liked Rarity? Don't I get a little slack for your inability to keep secrets?" Spike asked haughtily.
" Fine, I'm going to have to ask Big Macintosh for a favor though. It mostly hinges on him agreeing to come to the slumber party. There's an entry to about brothers in Sleepovers 101 that I need to discuss him. I think it'll be a really good night if I can convince him. The rest are some fairly trivial surprises to loosen everyone up so their open to what Big Macintosh and I will propose." Twilight said, bouncing up and down.
" And that is?" Spike asked skeptically.
" An ORGY."
" With my Rarity? What are you thinking Twilight?" Spike said, facepalming in disbelief.
" I'll ask Blueberry Revival to pet sit so you can come too. He owes me for Pet sitting Clutter for him. He should be getting back in an hour or so." Twilight offered. Or maybe I owe him, I might've overlooked this schedule if it wasn't for Clutter sitting on it. She mentally amended. And then she said, mostly to herself "At least as far as he knows, he owes me."
" Really would you do that?" Spike asked his face filling with a gleeful smile.
Reader's Note: Pretty much flying out of my comfort zone on this one. So I'm warning you now, I considered Gentle Clouds largely a failure on my part (For getting squeamish and cutting the lemon scenes short). In a way this is my... Atonement, for it being so short. That and Fallout: Equestria has inspired me to attempt longer chapters.( I kind of feel like I've been using sub 1k word chapters like a crutch. I'm pretty unhappy with myself about this as well.)