Based on this picture by Megasweet. Warning: slightly explicit.
Originally written as three separate parts
Berry Punch walked through the dark lanes of Ponyville slowly, avoiding the lights from windows and street lamps. She had tucked Ruby into bed long ago. Usually she would be heading to the bar on the outskirts of town, where everyone knew her name but everyone did their best to forget the next morning. She tried to do better, but it was hard on her own, and she was so very thirsty.
Tonight, however, she had another destination. She stared at the wooden door before her, afraid to enter and afraid to leave. But it was either here or there, and she didn’t think she could do it anymore. She knocked, once, half-hoping no one would answer. A light blue pony opened the door, smiled knowingly, and silently let her enter.
Berry didn’t know what to say, but Colgate just set a hoof gently over hers, then led her into another room. A bottle of tequila was set out on a counter, with several glasses, a salt shaker, and a pile of sliced lime.
There was a presence by her ear, a warm breath of air that sent a small shiver along her neck. “No one else ever has to know.”
She started to protest lightly, but Colgate pressed a hoof to her mouth, softly, delicately, teasing the nerves in her lips, and Berry felt the exact moment she let herself give in. The unicorn felt it too, and nuzzled her cheek. “There we go.” She sauntered to the counter, cracked the bottle of golden liquid, and poured a shot. Berry followed shortly after, watching her, mesmerized.
Colgate turned, horn glowing blue as she levitated the shot, a slice of lime, and the salt shaker around her head, and took one of Berry’s hooves. She slowly licked her below the fetlock, and poured a pinch of salt along the ankle.
Berry slowly exhaled, anticipating. She licked the salt on her leg, the bite softened by the slightly foreign, cool taste of Colgate’s saliva. As she reveled in the flavor, she felt solid moisture at her lips, and opened to take a bite of the lime, watching Colgate’s eyes as the sour fruit stung her taste buds. Finally, she took the presented glass and downed its contents, gasping against the satisfying scorch of the alcohol, pulling in cool air to combat the burn.
Colgate grinned at the contented look on Berry’s face. “How about we do something more interesting?”
Berry Punch looked over Colgate’s body hungrily, laid out on the table before her. She bent low, dragging her tongue up the light blue stomach, light tang of sweat interspersed with the solid grains of salt, fur tickling her mouth as she left a shimmering trail of saliva along her abdomen. She could feel herself tremble in anticipation of what came next, bringing her face to the other pony’s, eye to half-lidded eye, sliding her mouth down the lime wedge to meet lips, just briefly, enough for the sensation to linger as she bit down, slipping her tongue along the rind. Then it was down her chest to the glass of tequila, balanced precariously atop heaving ribs. Another tilt of the head, another swallow, another gasp.
Colgate strained to pull herself up into a sitting position, managing to wrap her forelegs around Berry’s neck. To her side, the tequila bottle floated, pouring a line of shots, but the warmth of the alcohol spreading through the earth pony’s body was nothing compared to the heat radiating from the contact of fur on fur and mouth on mouth, hint of lime lingering on her tongue.
The sun crept softly through the window, gently settling its warm caress across the two ponies on the bed, but to Berry’s eyes, it was a rather rude intrusion. She squinted against the light, holding her hooves to her head, waiting for the splitting headache. Slowly, carefully, she opened her eyes when she realized the piercing pain wasn’t coming. She remembered, now. She had only had a couple shots the night before. Then, the unfamiliar surroundings made her remember more.
“Ruby!” She sat bolt upright. “Oh, no, no! I’ve gotta-” There was a happy murmur from the bed beside her, and even more memories came back. “Oh… no.”
Thankfully, Berry managed to get home before her daughter awoke, and got her sent off to school without a problem. Still, all day long at her store she couldn’t get the thought of Colgate from her mind. Her domineering submissive demeanor, irresistible blue eyes, and coy smile, not to mention the effect she had on her thirst.
But, no, it had been a mistake. A moment of weakness in a weak time in her life. She couldn’t go on… cavorting with another mare. Her drinking was bad enough, what would everypony say if they found out about this? And what of her daughter? No. Tonight would be like any other night. She would go back to her old bar, where her old friends would pretend not to see her, and she would pretend everything was okay for a few hours. It had always been this way, and nothing could change that. She left work at the end of the day, heading home, glad she hadn’t seen Colgate all day but feeling no better about her situation.
“What’s wrong mommy?”
Berry tried to shake her head clear of her thoughts and smiled down at her little filly. “Nothing’s wrong, precious.”
Ruby frowned. “Then why are you sad now?”
“Why would you think that?” She put down her cooking utensils and bent low to hug her daughter’s neck. “Mommy’s not sad, sweetheart.”
“Yes, you are!” the filly persisted. “You were happy this morning, but now you’re sad again!”
She bit her lip. “Oh, precious, I could never be sad when I have you.”
The filly just pouted even more. “You’re always sad, mommy. But not this morning. I just want you to be happy like today!”
“It’s not that simple, baby.” Ruby stared hard at the floor and didn’t say anything. “Oh, honey, don’t be upset.” She just sighed, then got on her knees to try to look the young filly in the eyes. “I’ll do my best to always be happy from now on, okay?”
“I don’t believe you.”
Berry swallowed as her daughter turned and walked to the dinner table. Neither did she.
The bartender nodded when he saw her enter, and pulled down a bottle of her usual. Berry watched him set the golden liquid on the counter next to a small tumbler, feeling empty. She thought of another night, another pony buying her rounds, nose in her ear, whispering possibilities that made her giddy and nervous, white-blue tail softly swishing against her leg as they leaned on the bar.
She thought of that pony now, waiting for a soft knock, ready with a gentle embrace and a bottle of understanding. The bar was behind her before she knew it, and her feet found the way effortlessly. She knew what she needed, and it was behind that wooden door.
She pushed the tequila back toward the stallion behind the counter. Tonight was strictly a whiskey night, and she didn’t feel quite up to pretending. The kick of the rye covered the other feelings, and the numb of the alcohol soon had her too far gone to remember what they were about anyway.
Hangover for breakfast. She told herself it was reassuring. Status quo. Ruby was silent. She would come around eventually. It was for the best. This was all she needed, all she had ever needed. The other things would go away in time.
Berry Punch sighed bitterly into her drink. At least at night she had the bar, even if it didn’t really help like it used to. But every day, all day, all she could think of was bristly blue fur under her tongue, hooves on her hips, lips teasing their way down her stomach. It was only compounded by the fact that she had to see her almost every day around town. She hadn’t said a word to her since that night.
What hurt the most, though, was Ruby. She had hoped more than anything that she would quickly get over it, but her mother’s trouble caused her more pain than she’d expected. Berry tried to explain, as best she could, that she was fine, would be fine, in time. The little filly would just pout and go to her room.
One thing after another, beget begat begot. She had enough secrets: adding a beautiful blue and white unicorn would be too much.
She waved to the bartender, and he poured another glass of scotch. She hadn’t touched the tequila in days, just stared at it on the wall behind the counter. Without a thought, she brought the tumbler to her lips and swallowed a mouthful of liquid fire, only feeling the breathless burn in a far-off, disconnected way.
The warmth didn’t spread. It died in her stomach, and she set the glass down. ‘Drunk’ was meaningless to her now. Instead, she just lost focus. Rather than ruminate intently on one thing about Colgate, she could think about all of them at once, fuzzy and undefined, until they melted together into a writhing pit in her chest, and still she stared blankly at the golden liquid on the shelf.
“I can buy you a shot, if you’d like.”
Berry forced her attention back, tracing the origins of the soft voice to an anchor in reality. She blinked once, focusing her eyes, then turned.
“Hi, Berry. I was… hoping I could find you here.”
“Col-gate?” she said slowly, making sure she got it right.
“I came to apologize.” She continued, hesitating. There was no one near, and the bartender was busy with another pony at the end of the counter. “I know you have a… problem. And I shouldn’t have taken advantage of it.”
“No, don’t…” Reality was slipping between her hooves, like she might wake up any second.
The unicorn’s head was down. “I’m sorry. I’ll… leave.”
After fumbling for bits and throwing down what was probably much too much for what she had drunk, Berry took off after the blue pony as fast as she could manage. When she tried anything more than a slow trot, however, she just found herself lurching toward the ground. It took several long minutes before she reached her destination.
Through the window, she could see a light on deep in the house, in a room where they had made short memories in a long night. The old door stood before her, and she lifted her hoof without hesitation now, the wooden frame almost beckoning her to come in. Its master needed help.
There was a soft shuffle from inside at her knock, and she swayed slightly on her feet, anticipating. A quiet creak, then a troubled blue face appeared, brow creased.
Colgate didn't have time to say anything else as a pair of forelegs was heavily thrown around her neck, lips silencing her confusion, pushing her back inside.
Berry didn't remember much about that night, except for a heave here, a gasping cry there. The next morning was clear, however: a face pressed into her neck, hoof across her chest, and the best hangover she'd ever had. A gentle nibble at her ear made her giggle huskily, even through the throbbing. The alcohol had let her come. This would make her stay.
She turned and tasted cool breath, and bit her lips closed when she realized what her own breath must smell like. Colgate just stroked her cheek, half-smiling, and Berry ignored the knifing pain behind her eyes for the duration of a kiss.
Looking down toward her partner’s chest, but still grinning, she ran an idle hoof in small circles through cerulean mane. “Do you... want to meet my daughter?”
Continuations, by chronology
Possibly more to come
This is a sequel to Bite of Lime, set several months in the future.
“What’s the matter?”
Colgate didn’t react as Berry Punch slipped across the bed to where she sat on the edge of the mattress, placing pink hooves around blue neck.
“She doesn’t like me.”
Berry nuzzled into her ear gently. “Oh, honey, it’s alright. She just needs time. It’s a big change for her.”
“What if she never likes me?”
“What if… what if I’m just no good at being a parent?” She laid back on the bed, nestled in Berry’s arms. “I never really expected… I mean… I didn’t think it would be this hard.”
There was a breathy chuckle on her cheek. “Tell me about it.”
For several minutes they lay there, quietly breathing their doubts, until a small voice interrupted them.
Both ponies sat up slowly, and looked at the small filly standing in the doorway, rubbing her eyes. Berry slipped off the bed toward her daughter. “What is it, sweetie? Can’t sleep?” Ruby shook her head quietly.
“Come on,” Berry clucked, gently leading her from the room. “Let’s go get you tucked in.” Colgate watched them leave from her perch on the bed, then silently stood and followed at a distance.
“There we go,” the earth pony sang, pulling the blankets up over the small form in the bed. “Comfy?”
Ruby nodded, then frowned. “I’m not tired though.”
“Not even a little?”
A shake of the head answered her.
“H… how about a story?”
Berry turned when she heard the nervous blue unicorn at the door, and gave her a small smile. “Yeah, how about a story?”
Ruby thought carefully for a minute, hoof at her chin, then settled deeper in her bed. “Fine.”
Expectantly, Berry stepped away from the bed and allowed Colgate to slowly shuffle forward.
“What… kind of story would you like to hear?”
“I wanna hear about a princess!”
“A princess. Okay.” She thought for just a moment. “Well, there was a-”
“No, you’re doing it wrong! You’re supposed to start with ‘Once upon a time.’”
Colgate turned to Berry, who just gave an encouraging grin.
“Alright. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess-”
“What was her name?”
“Oh… her name was… Ber…yl. Beryl Skies.” She waited for a dispute, but it never came. “Everypony in Equestria thought she was beautiful, but one knight in particular thought she was the most beautiful, most kind, and most caring pony in the land.”
“Her name… was Lady Romana.”
“That’s silly,” Ruby pouted. “Ladies can’t be knights.”
“Why not? Luna’s a lady, and she controls the night. So why couldn’t a lady be a knight?”
After careful consideration, Ruby just nodded. “I guess so…”
“Now, everypony wanted to be Beryl’s friend, but they were afraid, because every night, an evil wizard, named… Patronius, cast an evil spell on her. Lady Romana had no fear, though, and she was prepared to face any danger to save her princess.”
“What happened?” the pink filly asked, wide-eyed.
“Well, Lady Romana searched high and low, all over Equestria, fighting off dragons and demons every step of the way, but she couldn’t find the evil wizard anywhere to make him lift the curse. So, tired and desperate, she went to Beryl instead, and decided to try and break the spell herself.
“Lady Romana found the Princess alone in her tower. She was very nervous, because even though she had always admired her from afar, she hadn’t ever talked to her, and she was afraid the Princess wouldn’t like her. But, Princess Beryl was lonely because of the curse, and she was happy she finally had someone to talk to.
“The knight hoped that the curse would be broken along with her loneliness, but it wasn’t enough. Every night, the Princes still fell under Patronius’ power. So, Lady Romana decided to take drastic measures. One night… just as the spell was beginning to take hold… she walked up to Beryl… and gave her a kiss.”
“And her love broke the spell!”
“Well… no, not quite.”
“What? That’s a horrible story!” Ruby whined, starting to sit up.
Colgate smiled. “But it isn’t over yet.”
She set her face defiantly, but finally sank back down. “Okay...”
“The curse wasn’t gone, it’s true. But, it was weaker, both ponies could tell. They knew it would be hard, but they were both willing to give it their all to work together to lift the evil power Patronius had over Beryl. So, every night, Lady Romana would come see Princess Beryl, and give her a kiss, and every night, the spell would break a little bit more, as their love grew even stronger.”
“Do they live happily ever after?”
Before she could answer, Berry stepped back up to the bed and gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead. “I think they do. But it’s time to go to sleep now, precious.”
With a contented sigh, the young foal turned to her side and let her eyes drift closed. The two mares shared a small smile, and quietly began tip-hoofing back to their room.
The blue unicorn turned back to see the filly sitting back up in bed. “Yes, Ruby?”
“Are you my mommy’s knight?”
There was a moment of soft silence. “I try to be.”
Ruby nodded, satisfied, and laid down again. “Good.”
Fan art by the wonderful:
Next: Fifth of Memories
A sequel to Night of Stories
Colgate stepped into the dark house, confused. She had intended to surprise Berry with an unexpected visit, but it seemed empty. A soft clink from one of the rooms belied its inhabitant, however, and she quietly made her way there, setting down a small bunch of lilies on an end table.
The earth pony didn’t react. Instead, she just drained what was left in her glass and poured another.
“Bee, what are you doing in here? What if Ruby sees you?”
She spun quickly in her chair, appalled. “I would never-!” With a small exhale, Berry sluggishly turned back around, trying to hide her bleary eyes. “I’m sorry. She’s at her friend’s house for the day.” Another long, slow drink. “I made sure she wouldn’t be here.”
She could hear Colgate softly creep near, and she set her glass down. A warm, heavy head rested on her shoulder, and she leaned into it, her own head swimming in a dull haze. There was no prodding; the unicorn let her speak on her own terms.
“Today was…” grasping. “It’s the day he…” grasping. “The day he died. Three years,” she finally managed - small victories. She swallowed against the sharp lump in her throat. “Ruby was too young to remember, but… every time I look at her… Even her laugh. That way she wrinkles her nose and…” A long blink, throat swelling closed.
“Does it… help?” Colgate asked as Berry reached for another drink, and she got a bitter laugh for a response.
“No. But it’s better than doing nothing. He certainly wouldn’t approve, but… what do I care? He’s the one who left us.”
Quiet dominated the house for a long minute, before Berry reached a hoof up to stroke the blue fur of Colgate’s cheek. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to…”
Another stretch of silence. “You miss him.”
“You still love him.”
The fear and accusation was imperceptible in her voice, but Berry knew it was there anyway, lurking beneath the careful compassion, dripping invisibly from soft lips.
“Of course I do.” She stood, unsteadily. “He was the father of my child. He was… my husband. I’ll always love him.”
Uncertainty hung over their heads, breathing hotly down their necks, and Berry swayed a little on her hooves, slowly rolling over the words in her head.
“I know: ‘He would want me to move on.’ And he would. But you don’t stop loving someone just because they’re gone. If- if it was you, wouldn’t you want me to… remember? To always…” Suddenly, the air was breathable again. “I don’t love you any more - or any less - than I did him. It’s just… different. And…” She looked at the bottle on the table, and chewed her lip. “I think it’s time to put this away.”
Colgate shifted uneasily as Berry carried the liquor back to the cabinet, and finally haltingly asked, “Do you want to talk about him?”
“It… might help.”
The distance between them closed like a door creaking shut with every soft footstep, and Berry nuzzled her face into Colgate’s neck. “Like I said: I think it’s time to put this away. Besides, this is all the help I need.” As she pulled back, a faint white splotch caught her attention, barely illuminated in the glow of the table lamp. “Oh, are… those for me?”
Colgate turned to look behind her, and smiled wanly. “Yeah…” The flowers floated forward, magic casting a soft blue tint over the white petals. “I just… thought I might surprise you with them.”
She smiled, a little drunkenly, but sincere nonetheless. He had always gotten her daffodils. “Thank you. They’re beautiful.” She admired them in her forehooves for a moment, then took a playful bite of one of the flowers, giving Colgate a grin, which she returned gratefully. They tasted better than the daffodils ever had.
As Colgate led the way to the bedroom, Berry crept back to the cabinet, and lifted the bottle noiselessly. Underneath was a worn photo. Berry held it close a moment, and brought it to her lips before placing it back on the shelf. For good.
Next: Handle of Doubt
A sequel to Fifth of Memories
“I can’t believe they wouldn’t even let me pick her up.”
Colgate had been stewing about it for hours, she knew, but she had only just now gotten the chance to let it out. Berry rolled her head on the pillow to look back at the mare cradling her in her forelegs. “What did they say?”
Colgate sighed, and let her grip on her mate go limp. “I shouldn’t be mad at them. They were all apologies. Just following the rules. But I felt like such an idiot waiting there for an hour before you showed up. It’s just…”
The unspoken hung over them until Berry could no longer make do with idle conjecture, and had to gently pry, “Just what?”
The unicorn held her tongue until Berry turned over on the bed, face to face. “Just what, Cole?”
She couldn’t bring herself to quite match eyes, and stared instead at the white pillow under pink fur. “Just another reminder that I’m not… her real mom.”
“Oh, come on, you know that’s…”
“That’s what? It’s like I can’t be trusted with her.”
“That’s not true. I trust you, and so does Ruby. No one else matters. Besides, I was going to say, it’s only paper. I’ll go to the school tomorrow and have you added to her list of guardians.”
Colgate’s nose twitched, and she snorted quietly. “Guardian. That’s it, then?”
Berry’s brow knitted, and she put her hoof to the blue chest to push herself back slightly. “What do you mean?”
“I mean just that. I’m not her mother, I’m just a guardian.”
“Cole, you’re being silly.” She pulled herself to her haunches and cast her eyes to the nightstand. “Give it time. It still hasn’t been that long, and she already really likes you.”
The blue mist of magic slipped the bottle of tequila from under her hooves as she opened the drawer. “I was just…” Berry began, but her complaints died into a mumble as Colgate also levitated out two glasses and began to pour.
“She only likes me because she thinks I make you happy. She doesn’t actually like me.”
Berry coughed slightly against the alcohol, then lowered the glass and twisted it against the comforter. “Oh.”
Colgate tore her attention from the golden liquid in her own glass to watch Berry take another drink. “Oh, what?”
“You’re scared.” After a few moments of reading her confusion, she continued. “You’re scared you won’t be good enough.”
“Of course I’m scared,” she said, then bit her tongue to keep herself in check. “Because, no matter what, I’ll never be her real mom. How am I supposed to know what to do? So yes, I’m scared – terrified – that I’ll mess up.”
There was a soft snort, and Colgate looked up to see Berry pouring another glass. “Of course you’ll mess up. Everyone’s parents mess up. Look at me, Cole. I am her real mother, and…” She set the bottle on the nightstand with a heavy thump, then took a long drink, wincing against the sting. “Just look at me. I’m still terrified every day, for a lot worse things than you. But I’m not proud of her for my sake, and when she grows up into a wonderful mare, it’ll be in spite of everything I did to her, not because of it.”
Something stopped the glass as it made its way to her mouth once again, and her grip only tightened slightly in protest as Colgate delicately slipped it from her hooves. “You are a good mom, Ber,” she said softly, as the other watched the bottle and glasses slowly float to the dresser across the room. “And you know it.”
“We’ll see,” Berry stated simply, finally bringing her attention back to the present. “And we’ll both go tomorrow to fill out the forms, okay?”
Colgate nodded, and gently pulled the pink pony back onto the bed with her. “Yes. You’re right. One step at a time.”
Next: Mouthful of Fire
A beginning and an end to Bottled Up
Colgate sat back in her seat, full glass floating heavy before her, shrouded in a blue glow. Her eyes ran slow and deliberate over the pink pony at the bar, taking in every curve.
She gently bit down on a lip, mind racing towards a smile she saw frequently around town, and that was enough to get her to her hooves. This far, she got most nights.
Her head throbbed, but thoughts of what was hidden behind that same smile took the first few steps to the bar. Hopes for what she could do for that smile took the rest. That part was fairly easy, too, and she had been here several times.
Sitting at the bar took more encouragement, and had only happened twice before. Once it had been a song that suddenly came on the jukebox on the far wall. It had been some silly old thing, and she couldn’t even remember the words, but it had been enough. The other time, she had actually managed to force herself to do it, after a particularly rough day.
But now… now what would it be? If she didn’t get something, she would just order another gin smash and return to her voyeuristic seat once more. Another pathetic attempt, not even progressed enough to earn the label of ‘failed.’
It was a swish. A small, gentle flick of a pink tail against the wooden floor, and before she knew it, Colgate found herself levitating a recently-drained glass, seated at the bar and gesturing for a refill.
Conversation. The final frontier. She knew she could get through everything else if she could just open her mouth. She chanced a look over at her, and saw hazy fuchsia eyes regarding her distantly. A small clunk signaled the arrival of her drink, but Colgate was much too busy being captivated to turn her attention away.
She tried to force herself to say something, anything, but she was finding it hard to keep her eyes open, let alone start talking. With concentrated effort she managed to notice and stop her leg’s bouncing before it went on too long, only to realize she’d been so focused on the sweet breath of the pony sitting just within her reach that she’d been waiting much too long to speak.
It wasn’t her best line, certainly, but she set her shoulders just slightly and at least managed to say it without stuttering.
“I can buy you a drink, if you’d like.”
“Oh, I’d like much more than that…” The pink pony smiled coyly above her cranberry juice, and Colgate sighed.
“Oh, come on, Bee, you know that’s not how it went.”
“Are you sure? To be fair, my memory is just a little fuzzy…”
“No, you sat there thinking about it for minutes-”
“Oh, it wasn’t that long.”
“It sure felt like it. And I was sitting here wondering if I’d blown my only chance, and you said…”
“Right. I said… well, I said, ‘Fine, give me another…’”
Berry ran a hoof along the rim of her tequila pink, trying to divide her focus between the glass, the bubbly feeling in her head, the clock on the wall, and the blue unicorn in front of her. She couldn’t let herself get drawn into the idle flirting. It was nothing, and she refused to be caught up in it. If she kept her attention on other things, she wouldn’t lose herself to that hint of a smile flitting across her lips every time she softly bit down on them. She forced herself to think of Ruby, not the cool, fresh waft that came with every word and only got stronger every time she floated her own drink to her lips.
She had to stop focusing on her lips.
She giggled a little bit, and then blushed. Why had she done that? What had she just said? She couldn’t even remember now, but it had sounded so nice. The clock faded from her attention, and she felt herself allowing the breezy feeling of the alcohol to carry her in a much different direction than most nights.
“I’ve seen you watching me, you know,” she said, deliberately slipping the words over each other. She blinked heavily, surprised at herself, but when the blue pony in front of her swam slowly back into focus she was wearing such an embarrassed expression that Berry couldn’t help but giggle again.
To her credit, Colgate did an admirable job of recovering from the shock of that revelation, and her confidence was back in a matter of moments. There was no sense worrying over something that was apparently a non-issue, and she was so close she could almost taste those saccharine lips. Besides, all she had to do was…
Berry pulled back from the quick kiss, smirking. “Okay, now who’s leaving the script? I definitely don’t remember there being any of that the first night.”
“Well, I had to spruce it up a bit, didn’t I?” Colgate licked her lips, then shook her head and washed it down with some of her own drink. “Not quite as good as the tequila pink would’ve tasted though, I think. I mean, did you have to get cranberry?” she teased. “Couldn’t you just get a club soda or something?”
“I like cranberry!”
“Anyway, after you got so flustered from all of my brilliantly witty flirting-”
She gave her a playful slap on the shoulder. “Oh, don’t even. I just said…”
“I don’t… think I’m what you’re looking for. I’m not…”
“What? Into mares?”
Her nose twitched, and she went back to tracing the rim of her glass. She’d let herself have a bit of fun, but now it was time to re-establish her reality. “I mean, I’m just… not what you’re looking for.”
Colgate wasn’t quite sure what to say. Or rather, she wasn’t sure which of the thoughts fighting to reach her throat would be best. Finally, she decided to leave sentiment for another time. She leaned over, mouth dancing just at the edge of Berry’s ear, and was pleased when she didn’t draw away.
“Maybe I’m what you’re looking for.”
Berry shivered as the unicorn’s nose tickled the fur of her ear. “Now that’s… definitely not what you said,” she whispered.
“It’s what I meant, anyway.”
“So, when you said you knew of a better way to shoot tequila…”
“Well, it was better, wasn’t it? Alright, maybe it wasn’t totally clear, but it was there.”
Berry smiled, and brought her cranberry to her mouth again. “I know. So, where were we?”
Colgate sat back in her seat, trying to make a show of nonchalantly taking another drink, but found she drained it much quicker than she meant to, and the ice suddenly shifted to fall against her nose. The earth pony snickered quietly, hiding it behind a hoof, but it quickly passed, and she set her pink-tinted glass down on the bar.
She recognized the look in those violet eyes, and nodded. “Well. If you do change your mind…” she said, trying to walk the line between casual and inviting, and quickly scrawled something out on a napkin. Berry hesitated a moment, then reached out and pulled it over with a hoof.
They were the longest seconds of Colgate’s life, and so far, the pink pony hadn’t even started to react, blankly reading and re-reading the few words on the napkin. She wanted to explain. She needed to stay silent.
They could both feel the moment the comprehension finally set in, and Berry covered her mouth with a soft intake of breath. Colgate’s mind continued to stretch and fray, and her anxiety finally reached a breaking point as a shadow of doubt etched its lines into Berry’s features.
“No. You are. You are what I was looking for. You always were.”
She tried once more to open her mouth to voice her concerns, but found her self-doubt too atrophied to get out. Her shoulders hitched, and all she could do was nod and blink forcefully to keep her eyes clear.
“Yes?” Colgate whispered, forcing it around the breath caught in her throat.
Berry choked around her reply, and then just nodded again before throwing her hooves around Colgate, almost sending them both to the bar’s hard wooden floor.
Berry backed away from the bar a couple steps, anxious to leave but somehow reluctant to take her eyes from the blue unicorn still watching her from her seat.
“Like I said, just… if you change your mind, I’ll be waiting.”
She nodded, looking down at the napkin in her hoof once more before she tucked it safely away. Then, after a few more backward steps, she finally turned and forced herself to walk out the door, leaving Colgate to stare after her from the lingering scent of grenadine and perfume.