It's been FOREVER! Sorry about that! Nothing much to say except that you all who have read, faved, and commented on this little story. Really means a lot : )
And yes, a lot of this probably doesn't make sense. You know what else doesn't? Talking horses.
Exposing his green orbs to the bleeding sunlight, Soarin let out a large yawn and turned his head to the empty space next to him on his bed. For many moments he stared at it as his thoughts raced in his head. Anger and betrayal swelled in his chest. Never had he feel so small, so mortified. Somehow, he found the motivation to bring his body upward and slide out of his comforter to head towards the bathroom. A folded piece of paper plopped onto the floor as his blanket was pushed back. Staring at it for a while, he read his name repeatedly on it and reached down for it. There was only a short message inside but it managed to cause a stir of mixed emotions within him.
'I know that I hurt you and I'm sorry,' the letter read, 'I came by last night to find you sleeping and suddenly an idea hit me. It may be hard, but I need you to trust in me.'
"'Love Applejack'," he said out loud. His sight darted across the words on the page again and once more. "What the hay does that mean?" Frustration made him hastily crumble the paper and storm into the bathroom. Mindlessly searching through the drawers, he suddenly felt a certain lightness throughout his body. He glanced in the mirror and grimaced when trying to figure out why he was experience a subtle positive change of mood. Perhaps it was a small tinge of hope from still accessing some sort of communication with her. Still, he felt humiliation swim viciously in his veins. There was a knock at the door that made him snap out of his thoughts.
"Doesn't any pony answer their phone around here?" the towering mare sarcastically quipped. Much to Soarin's revulsion, he began shutting the door until he felt something halt it. Swinging it open again he noted that Top Boss's hoof stood on the threshold.
"What do you guys want?" Soarin questioned in an exasperated tone, "Didn't you hear? The wedding is off."
"I wouldn't say so," Hard Hitting countered with a knowing smirk.
"You can't have a wedding with no bride," Soarin snapped with a shaky voice, "She made it clear enough for me that she doesn't want to be married anymore. And you can count this colt out, too."
"Soar, don't be ridiculous. Of course she wants to be married to you."
"Snap out of it, Hard! Our relationship in the papers is just a fantasy. She never wanted to be married; neither of us did! This was just a mistake that has now been blown way out of proportion. And you know what? This is all…my fault." He let out a long sign as he leaned on the door frame. "I allowed myself to be hurt by this. My imagination and reality just warped together. I couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't anymore. Well, that line was drawn real clear yesterday. I should hate her but…I can't. That's the worst part, I have all this anger and hurt, but the more I think about it…the more I realized that it's not towards her but me."
"Look, wanna know something?" the publicist cut in, "I told her that I was willing to tear up the contract yesterday afternoon in the office. She kicked herself and got up out of her chair to catch up with you and Boss but you two were already gone. Then she turned to me and really shocked me: she told me that she wanted not only to continue with the wedding but also move it to a new location. I said 'AJ, I like your enthusiasm kid but that's darn near impossible'. She didn't give a hoot, she told me that she would have to move the whole wedding location herself and only herself if she had to."
"She…she still wants to do the wedding?"
"I gotta phone call from Hard saying that Applejack still wanted proceed with the wedding," Top Boss continued, "I told her that I was willing enough to hire more helpers and movers and have the delivery places move everything to the new location. Being as stubborn as she is, Applejack has been working since early this putting everything together and directing everypony. She left a note for you since she figured she didn't have time to really talk to you about it." Soarin quickly glanced from one pony to the next, stunned.
"She's doing all of that?"
"Soarin, I know that your friends and family and teammates have told you this a thousand times so what I'm gonna say isn't new. You two compliment each other well and bring the best out of one another. I know that things are overwhelming, I'm not gonna deny it. Heck, just lookin' over your schedules make me exhausted. It'd pain me to see you two get so far and to not make it to the finish line. And I'm not talking about the wedding, I'm talking about mutual peace. I'm not gonna try to sway ya either way, but you two need to rekindle somehow. Whether it'd be a romantic relationship, a friendship, or even as acquaintances, I know that the two of you can fix and repair this relationship. You two are hard workers and I know the both of ya want to work things out." Abruptly, Soarin trotted towards the stairs, leaving the two ponies in the doorway bewildered.
"Well, I gotta get ready, right?" Soarin reminded before resuming to his room.
"I don't how she did it, that Applejack certainly can book a place!" Hard Hitting praised as she reapplied her lipstick, "Who knew she would be that useful? I've been trying to get my calls through to them for months! I guess it has something to do with her being one of the Elements of Harmony or something and knowing Princess Celestia…" Her words were drowned out in Soarin's hearing. Nervously, he peered out of the cart's window once more and held his breath. Feeling a nudge on his shoulder, Soarin faced Top Boss and furrowed his eyebrows.
"Kid, don't hold yer breath all the time," he advised him, making the young stallion exhale through his snout, "You're turning blue."
"Top, I'm always blue, "Soarin noted, glimpsing at his own fur. The wagon pulled up at the front of the castle and the Wonderbolt stared in awe through the window. "We're getting married in the Canterlot Castle?" It had just occurred to Soarin that he had not once asked where the new location had been. "Wow! What a surprise!"
"I know!" Hard-Hitting concurred, watching the driver open the door to let the passengers out. "Oh how romantic! How prestigious! The perfect photo-op moment!"
"This is where we first met," he quietly reminded himself. Glancing at the entrance, his mind pictured her pastry stand assembled like it had been the night of the Gala. In all honesty, he initially had no attraction towards her. The food surrounding her occupied his interest. He did, however, notice how her folksy appearance almost clashed with the rest of the guest's elegant attire. But he figured she must be some sort of waitress despite the fact that the party did not seem to have any country western themes elsewhere. After her infamous incident with her large cake, he noticed that she ran with his admiring fan that he had just met that night, Rainbow Dash.
That's no waitress he thought to himself while the other ponies scrambled around and gossiped about the six crazy mares who just escaped from the party.
It was not until the time after meeting her did he take any interest in her. The Wonderbolts championship took place at the derby stadium in Canterlot. Rainbow Dash had played on their team for a while by then so she had grown a close bond with all of her teammates, especially the aerial stuntspony.
Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time to get dressed," Rainbow persuaded him as she tugged his arm, "I want ya to meet my friends!" Joining them in a hallway backstage to avoid rabid sports fans, Rainbow introduced her four closest friends to her associate.
"Glad to meet Rainbow's best friends," he greeted with a warm as he finished shaking Twilight's hoof. "OK, lets see if I remember. R-Rarity, Fluttershy, T-Twilight…Sparkle? And Pinkie Pie."
"Hey, where's Applejack?" Rainbow asked in a slightly irritated tone. The country mare was suddenly found galloping towards the group, chortling. Quickly, a small yellow blur brushed past her which caused her to freeze in her tracks.
"Woo!" Applejack exclaimed, fanning herself with her hat, "Applebloom, yer getting' faster and faster every day!" She watched the other two fillies trot towards them as the young dragon wheezed.
"Next time…lets just…walk back…" Spike requested, balancing his merchandise that he purchased by the front gate.
"Sorry, RD, Ah had to go with these lil' guys to buy stuff," Applejack notified. She began to speak once more while she placed her hat back onto her head but froze for a second when she caught eye contact with Soarin.
"Oh right," Rainbow reminded herself, "And here's my last friend Applejack. This is her little sister Applebloom, Rarity's little sister Sweetie Belle, Twilight's kinda sorta adopted brother and assistant Spike, and my pal Scootaloo."
"Nice to meet all of you," he spat out, peering over his shoulder at the time and then back to them. "Rainbow…?" he murmured in a low tone of voice as he leaned in towards her.
"Sorry guys, but we have to get dressed and finish training and all of that," Rainbow informed. While the group headed back to their seats, a thought popped into Rainbow's head and she pulled Applejack back to them.
"Rainbow, Ah thought-"
"Little did you know that a Wonderbolt's superstar would love your pie, huh?"
"Rainbow, Ah know you like my pies. You've had them a thousand times-"
"No, not me!" Rainbow interrupted, then giving a proud smirk, "But thank you for considering me a superstar. Soarin was the one who bought your pie that night at the Gala, remember?" Applejack inspected Soarin for a while.
"Well it was you!" she exclaimed, stepping closer to him, "Ah almost didn't recognized ya without yer uniform! Y'know, ya were my only sale that night."
"Really?" Soarin probed, trying to recall the memory, "Can't understand why, that was the best pie I've had! You make one mean apple pie Miss…I'm sorry I already forgot your name."
"Applejack, the name's Applejack!" she introduced, shaking his hoof vigorously, "If ya ever want me to make y'all something', jus' say the word!"
"That sounds great! Yeah, I'd love that! A-and I'm sure the team would love it, too!"
"So…uh, Ah better catch up with the rest of 'em before Ah get lost," she noted, starting to back up, "Good luck, you guys!" Soarin watched her for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. No matter how hard he tried, he could not remember a distinct image of her face when reminiscing at the Grand Galloping Gala. Perhaps it was the mixture of the darkness and festivities. But here he could not stop replaying the scenario he just experienced in his head. She may not have been a classical beauty or have an exotic look but there was a certain attractiveness to her. Her eyes were kind and her nuances made her even more charming in his opinion. And, of course, she had a warm smile and a laugh that made him lift up a little straighter. He wondered if she normally had friendly behavior or if she took to him as a special curiosity.
"Wonder if I could see her after the game," he mumbled to himself.
"C'mon Soarin, lets go," Rainbow declared. Soarin still glared down the hallway and absently turned to his female counterpart.
"…And then I was thinking once when the fountain gets going we can take some pictures here," Hard-Hitting rambled as she viewed the place, "And this is only the beginning! We need to plan early! Where would a good honeymoon vacation spot be?" Soarin snapped out of his own memory and let out an exasperated sigh. I gotta do this.
"Hard, thank you for all of your suggestions but…you're fired," he stated nonchalantly. At first, the businessmare's eyes expanded then she let out a relaxed laugh.
"Stop fooling around, dear. Now like I was saying-"
"I realized that I do have something good going for me and we need as little distractions as possible. And you're a big one. Phil?" Behind her, the driver rapidly opened the back door of the cart to escort her in. "I am your client and I am not happy. So I'm letting you go."
"That's show business. No worries, you can still have your seat at the wedding. Just expect a pink slip tomorrow morning." Before she could protest, the driver closed the door.
"Good for you, kid," Top Boss congratulated as they both surveyed the wagon driving off, "So, are ya ready for this?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," he admitted, heading towards the entrance. With an array of working ponies dart from all sides of the castle, Soarin found himself slightly taken back from the chaos of it all. Employees yelling back and forth from opposites sides of the room, designers barking orders to their assistants, and the sprawling out mess of all the decorations almost overwhelmed Soarin.
"Believe it or not, it was a whole lot messier this morning," the manager pointed out.
"Will we be able to finish on time?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Top reassured with a grin, "The rest of the Wonderbolts are in the third room in the main hall. Go there to get ready."
"But what, do you need any help with-"
"You can help me by getting ready."
"Aye aye, sir!" he saluted. Strolling towards the main hall, something in the corner caught his eye. On the couch, a body was sprawled across it. Realizing it was a slumbering Applejack, Soarin fought the urge to talk to her. She contrasted the bustling bodies with her tranquil composure. He then continued towards his designated spot and reached for the transparent door handle.
Fluttershy cringed minutely at the slight discourse of the chorusing birds.
"Um, excuse me, Mr. bird?" she whispered, "The sparrow in the back row?" The bird rose up for her to see. "I-I'm sorry, don't be upset but you're, uh, slightly off-note there. D-don't get me wrong, you carry it beautifully but you need to use you're upper register rather than your lower for this part. Like this." As she cleared her throat, the timid Pegasus emitted an effortless singing melody.
"Ah always thought ya had the prettiest voice." Fluttershy shut her mouth quickly as she hunched her shoulders.
"Oh Big Mac, it's just you," she discovered, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Even after all these years, ya still act a lil' shy around me," he teased, wrapping his arm around her and she leaned her head in.
"Wil you two love birds cut it out!" Applejack yelled as she approached them.
"Oh c'mon Applejack," her brother replied coolly, "We weren't doin' anythin' wrong…"
"Not you two! Ah'm talkin' 'bout those two behind the turtledoves," she corrected brushing past them, "Hey, y'all better stop that foolin' around! Ah want none o' that at mah weddin', y'hear?"
"Oh good Applejack!" Twilight called out, "You're awake. C'mon, we need to get you into that dress."
"But what about-"
"'But what about' nothing, darling!" Rarity proclaimed, trailing behind her unicorn associate, "We don't want an exhausted bride, now do we?" The magic student guided the Applejack to her dressing room as the fashionista stayed with the reserved couple. "How's everything going?"
"Everything's going smoothly actually," Fluttershy mentioned, "All the deliveries have been made, the seating and tables are set up and the entertainment is almost done. The catering being set up as we speak."
"Fabulous! And I hear Soarin arrived an hour ago?"
"Yes. I-in fact, it looks like he's coming towards us…" The athlete drew near the conversing equestrians and asked where the country filly had been.
"You're not thinking about seeing her are you?" Rarity countered, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes, I need to-"
"Absolutely not! Now I understand why you are eager to meet up with her but it's bad luck to see your bride before the wedding ceremony!"
"Oh you've got to be-" The pallid designer glared at him until their snouts touched.
"I'm not letting you see her mister and that's that!"
Letting out another grumble, the make-up artist turned to the boisterous horse once more.
"I mean if you like this brand of make-up then who's stoppin' ya?" Chitchat commented. "My opinion? The combo is a lil' tacky if ya ask me." The filly gave her a half-lidded stare and faced Applejack again. With the brush barely reaching the country pony's lid, Chitchat let out a shriek. "You mean you aren't gonna apply the foundation first?"
"Miss, I got this, OK?" she retorted back.
"I unduh-stand that, but that still doesn't mean I can trust ya!"
"You can trust me fine, alright? Let me do my job." Chitchat let out another scream.
"Is that gonna be the base coat? Honey, it's too dark! I don't want my daughtah-in-law t'look like a rah-coon!" The large Pegasus pushed the mark-up artist from her path and pulled out her own bag. "No worries, AJ, I'm comin' outta retirement just for you!"
"Ah it feels good to be back to my normal weight again!" Rainbow broadcasted, examining her tiny frame in the mirror with the dress she wore. Grabbing her son, she floated over to the orange filly. "C'mon, say good luck to cousin AJ!" she coaxed, feeling him dig his head into her armpit. "Oh now he's playing quiet. He was just a chatterbox with his father a few minutes ago."
"Did you guys see the cake?" Pinkie Pie chirped, "I saw the cake! It was huge! And had so much frosting! Sometimes I wonder which one do I like more: the cake or frosting? But I guess it doesn't matter 'cause they're both delicious! And we get to have them at the same time! And did you see how tall it was! It was Princess Celestia tall!" The chatting crew caused Applejack grow more anxious by the second. The second that Chitchat revealed her work in the mirror, Applejack zoomed to the back to get into her dress.
"How does it look?" Applejack asked when she eventually came out. All of her relatives and friends stood in silence for many moments until they all broke out into smiles. Excited, they all gather around her and complimented her relentlessly with their voices going up an octave by the second. Big Macintosh, who was coming in, halted in his tracks.
"Applejack…." he trailed off. Her green orbs darted to the floor and looked at him again sheepishly.
"So, ready to take me down the aisle?"
"Ya look…l-look…so…" Applejack panicked a little at the sight of her brother tearing up.
"Big Mac, don't…don't cry."
"Ah can't help it, you look b-b-"
"Please, stop. Don't cry or else-" The increase size of the lump in her throat took her by surprise. "Or else Ah'm gonna cry too and then Ah won't be able to control myself and my emotions are already crazy and Ah'm such a girl and my make-up will get ruined-"
"No not the make up!" Chitchat bellowed, running up to the bride to fan her. Top Boss gave a gentle knock on the door frame and alerted them to be in their places in fifteen minutes.
"OK lets get this show on the road!" her aunt celebrated, "Somepony's gettin' married!"
"What d'ya mean ya can't find her?" Granny Smith questioned, searching the room.
"She said she was going to look at the garden out front and when one of her cousins went to go check up on her, she's gone!" Top Boss explained, blotting his shiny forehead. "Oh man, oh man!"
"Where do you think she could've gone?"
"Now now, I'm sure she's just…giving herself a quick tour," Rarity suggested apprehensively, "She wouldn't just leave."
"We we gotta find her!" Spitfire ordered, "C'mon, lets split up and meet back here in five minutes." Gazing at the scrambling ponies, Soarin heard a knock on the window and turned to find the orange pony on the other side who was motioning him to join her. Sneaking outside, he spotted her sitting on the grass, closing her eyes as she basked in the sunlight.
"You've been quite the troublemaker these past couple of days," he pronounced as he sauntered to her, "Lift up your dress a little; I want to make sure that there aren't any tennis shoes under there." Applejack lowered her head and exposed her emerald orbs as she let out a soft chuckle.
"Don't worry, Ah'm not goin' anywhere," she assured, "Just need some fresh air. Haven't been outside in days and y'know how that affects a country pony like me…"
"I hope you're aware that they are wondering where you are."
"Ah told them that Ah wanted to be outside for a while. I just wondered to the back lawn, Ah guess."
"And you know that we're suppose to be in places in five minutes, right?" Applejack pointed towards the sun then to her own cranium.
"Ah know that when the sun sets right there, it's time for me to get inside. Ah promised them Ah'd be back on time and Ah plan to do so. No worries."
"Aren't you gonna get grass stains all over your dress?"
"Nah. Rarity cast an anti-stain spell on this dress. If ya ask me, it's the best thing she coulda done." Silence engrossed them for a while.
"You know, you surprise me sometimes," he admitted, giving an uneasy laugh, "First, you want a divorce then you practically work your flank off to have a wedding at an even more exclusive location."
"It's more than just the name, the Canterlot castle holds some of my most fond and life-changing memories." She let out a sigh and fiddled with the trim of her dress. "Ah was overwhelmed yesterday. Just all the emotions and busyness just piled up. Ah'll be honest, Ah was seriously considerin' gettin' a divorce. It just seemed to be the most easy, cleanest way out. But then Ah thought even though Ah may not remember the vows Ah initially told ya at the Chapel of Love, Ah still said them. Ah'd be yer wife who will love and support ya through better and worse. If Ah just gave up, Ah'd not only be lying to myself but to you. And that hurt me, it really did. You always been there for me. That's when Ah changed my mind and left ya that note."
"Yeah well it wasn't exactly like that note was the most comforting thing either," he interjected, "I didn't really know what to make of it." Cringing, Applejack shamefully gave a quick head shake.
"Ah know, Ah really have a bad habit of that," she confessed.
"Applejack, if you don't want to marry me, you don't have to. Don't feel forced to. I'll be hurt for a while, but I'll get over it. I'm a strong stallion."
"But Ah do want to marry ya, really. Ah've felt this fer a while now," she added, laying her head on his shoulder, "But things have to change and Ah mean it. This has to be our marriage, and nopony else's. If we go through with this, Ah want it to be a clean slate. A new beginnin'."
"Does it help that I fired Hard-Hitting this morning?" A large grin formed on her face when she asked if he had been joking. When he told her no, the blonde immediately threw her arms around him joyfully.
"Are we crazy for doin' this?"
"Who ever said we had to be sane?"
"Ah love ya."
"Love you too." Holding their position for a while, Soarin pulled back and peered through the glass-stained window. "Looks like there's something going on today."
She picked up on his bantering tone. "Yeah, Ah heard there's some kind of weddin' or somethin'."
"Wanna check it out?" he proposed as he got up.
"Sure, it may be interestin'," she accepted, grabbing his hoof to pull herself up. Starting to head back, Soarin stopped for a moment.
"By the way, I don't think we've been properly introduced," he said, extending out his hoof again, "I'm Soarin." The anticipating bride placed her hoof into his and gave a firm shake.
Yay! Done! So I didn't write out the wedding scene because I already felt like this chapter was cheesy enough as it is!
Thank you to all the people who supported me!