7 Days Earlier
Applejack yawned, stretching, and opened her eyes. The first thing she saw was the messy violet hair of a mare laying in bed with her. 'Oh my goodness, Ah finally slept with Twi'' Twilight Sparkle's eyes began to open slowly. "Mornin' sugarcube," Applejack greeted her waking guest. 'Whelp, that's four of mah friends that Ah've slept with now. Only one missin' is Rarity.'
Twilight Sparkle's eyes opened wide, her expression slowly changing to confusion, then to calm realization. "Good morning, indeed Applejack," Twilight said, retrieving a nearby book to read, "last night was much better than my books made it out to seem."
Applejack gave Twilight a worried glance as she opened her book. Applejack got put of bed, clumsily. "Would y'all like anythin' ta eat, Twi'" she asked kindly, "We got apple pies, apple fritters, apple-"
"N-no," Twilight Sparkle interrupted, cringing at the thought of the last time she'd stayed for lunch at Sweet Apple Acres, "Actually... I have to get back to the library... there's... lots of work to do... I guess I'll see you around!" Twilight closed her book and bolted out the door.
"Such an odd li'l filly," Applejack said, shaking her head. Applejack got dressed (she put her hat on) and trotted noisily down the stairs.
Downstairs, she saw her brother, Big Macintosh, sitting at the dining table in the center of the room feasting upon a well-sized apple.
"Mornin'," Big Macintosh, greeted his sister, "Yer friend dint want ta stay fer lunch?" Big Mac took a rather large bite of his apple.
"Ah guess not," Applejack said quietly, "She seemed ta be awful busy."
"Well that's a shame," Big Mac said after swallowing his food, "Ah swear, ya bring home a new gal every week. Are ya sure yer even inta mares?"
Applejack felt heat rise to her face and she took a step back. "Th-that's a might personal, Mac," Applejack said loudly before regaining her composure, "an' if I wasn't, why would ah bother with 'em?"
"Ah guess that's a good point, there," Big Mac took another large bite from his apple, finishing it off.
There was a long period of silence between them, the only sound being that of Big Mac's slow chewing. Applejack finally broke the silence. "Hey Mac, Ah gotto head inta town for a bit t'day. you don't mind takin' over the farm whilst Ah'm gone, do ya?" Applejack opened the refrigerator, retrieving a green apple.
"Not at all, AJ," Big Mac said through the large mouthful of apple he had taken.
"Alrighty then," Applejack said opening the door with the apple in her mouth muffling her speech, "Ah'll see ya later then."
Applejack was heading into town for one reason, and one reason only. To visit Rarity. It was a good half-hour walk to Carousel Boutique and it was rather early to be going into town, so she decided to find a nice place to eat her apple. She came to a rest at the top of a flowery hill. The sunrise was clearly visible over the dark tree-line of the Everfree Forest, making the sky look like a bright orange canvas.
Applejack sat down, facing the sunrise, and took a bite from her apple. The peacefulness of her surroundings had her quickly lost in thought. 'After ah get inta bed with Rarity, Ah'll be able to truthfully say that Ah've slept with tha Elements of Harmony.' Applejack giggled happily at the thought and took another bite from her apple. The sun was slowly rising, and from its position, she guessed it was around 7, so she finished her apple, tossed the core aside, and continued on the way to Ponyville.
All around ponyville, were ponies of all races walking calmly towards their daily tasks. Some were setting up shop in their portable shop stalls, while others were flying around, doing the various tasks of a pegasi. Applejack recognized several of the ponies she saw, and greeted a few that were in her path. Applejack, being the 'strictly business' kind of pony, didn't stop to chat, however. Eventually, Carousel Boutique came into her view. As she approached the door, she realized she had no idea how she was going to go about with her task.
"Oh, horseapples," Applejack said under her breath, "How the hay did Ah not plan this 'tall."
Applejack considered her options. She could turn around, thinking of what to say while she walked around town, she could go in, head first improv, or she could go home, and not even bother with the thing yet. The third option barely crossed her mind. The Gala was in a week, and she wanted this done before then. The other two options, however, came out as equal opportunity. After all, she had gotten Twilight with pure improv mixed with a few appletinis.
Suddenly, Applejack heard a shout from above. "LOOK OUT BELO-," the voice shouted before crashing directly into Applejack. Applejack stood up, confused, with Rainbow Dash laying across her back. Feeling the weight, Applejack looked back and saw her.
"Oh, hi Applejack," Rainbow Dash said as if nothing was amiss, "Just thought I'd drop in."
Applejack smiled politely at Rainbow Dash, causing her to blush slightly. Suddenly, she had an idea. "Hey, Rainbow," Applejack said slowly trying to find the right words, "Yer a straight up fillyfooler, right?" 'Wow, that was a might blunt...'
Rainbow Dash gave Applejack a confused look. "Of everypony in ponyville," Dash said flatly, "I thought you would be one that knew the answer to that." Rainbow Dash spread her wings and began to fly away, slightly upset.
"Wait, Dashie," Applejack began, causing Rainbow Dash to stop and almost fall out of the sky again, "Ah'm sorry, ah didn't mean it like that. Ah just wanted to know if you'd be able ta help me with somethin'." Applejack stood patiently, waiting for a response.
"Alright, alright, what do you need?" Rainbow Dash asked annoyed.
'Yes! Ah had her at 'Dashie'.' Applejack thought with a smile. "Well," Applejack spent more time wording her next sentence to avoid pissing off Rainbow Dash any more, "If y'all were trying ta... get in bed... with Rarity, wha-"
Rainbow dash fell out of the sky laughing, interrupting Applejack. "YOU want to *giggle* get with *haha* Rarity? Good luck with that, she's saving herself for marriage... with the Prince *snort*." After several minutes, Rainbow Dash stopped laughing. "Anyway, I'll see you around. Good luck with Rarity if you're still going to try." Rainbow Dash flew away with a smile.
'Oh, horseapples! How could Ah forget about that?!' Applejack once again considered her options. 'Maybe she's changed her mind since then...' Led by hope from that thought, Applejack found herself knocking on the door to Carousel Boutique.
"Just one moment," Came that eloquent voice from inside the shop, "I'll be right there!" Within seconds, the door opened, revealing the stunning Rarity, wearing a beautiful, quite revealing (Does it matter? Ponies are usually nude...) turquoise colored dress. Upon sighting Applejack at her door, her face brightened. "Oh," She said happily, "Applejack, come in! Make yourself at home." Applejack stepped past her, walking inside. "Oh, you're just in time to see my newest creation." Rarity closed the door behind Applejack.
"Yer newest what," Applejack asked, having expected Rarity to have gotten right down to business (In which case, she would've been screwed).
"Why, my newest design, of course," Rarity was excitedly leading Applejack back to her display room at quite a fast pace, "Oh, I can just tell you're going to LOVE it!"
Applejack kept quiet, following Rarity, because she still had no plan. They were at the doorway in seconds, Rarity stood aside to allow Applejack first passage. Inside the room, was a ponyquin, adorned in a maroon dress and a matching colored hat. The dress and hat also shared the gem designs that each, respectively, had. To anypony other than Applejack, The design would have left the viewer speechless.
Applejack, however, didn't have eyes for fashion. "Why," Applejack began, searching for words (because that always works so well), "It looks wonderful, darlin'." 'c'mon, AJ, think of more to say...'
"I know," Rarity said abruptly, interrupting Applejack's thought process, "Isn't it fabulous? I made it for Lyra. She must want to impress Bonbon." Rarity stood still, speechless, taking in the beauty of the dress for several moments. Finally, she turned to Applejack. "I think it's one of my best designs yet. If my Gala dress wasn't so perfect, I think I'd have to wear this to meet the prince." Rarity turned towards the door, walking back towards the main room, beckoning Applejack to follow.
'Con-sarnit, she hasn't given up on that,' Applejack thought as she followed the dress-maker. As soon as they had cleared the doorway, Rarity turned back to face Applejack.
"Now, what can I help you with today?" Rarity put her full concentration on Applejack, patiently waiting for a response.
'Well, darn it! If she still only has eyes for tha prince, than there's nuthin' Ah can do...' Applejack quickly tried to think of an excuse as to why she was at Rarity's shop, but could think of none. "Well...," Applejack began nervously, "Ah figured that... ya know... Ah could maybe-"
"Oh," Rarity shouted, seeming to realize why Applejack was there to see her, "You must be here to pick up your Gala attire. Why didn't you just say so?" Without waiting for an answer, Rarity had disappeared into another room. She quickly emerged with Applejack's 'work duds'. "Here you are, just try not to get them messy before the Gala."
Applejack took her clothes, happy that she had avoided the seemingly unavoidable awkwardness. "Thank ya kindly," She said with a nod, "Ah'll just be on my way then."
"It was my pleasure, Applejack," Rarity said, "and if you ever need anything, and I mean anything, don't hesitate to ask."
Applejack began to make her leave, but she stopped at the door. "Hey, Rarity," She said hesitantly, without turning, "Do ya think we could go out fer some drinks sometime?"
"Applejack, if you're coming on to me, I just want you to know, I'm not... that way," Rarity said, seeming to see right into Applejack's mind, "But yes, I would love to accompany you for 'some drinks sometime'."
Applejack let out a quiet sigh. "Alrighty then, Ah'll see ya around then." Applejack said opening the door.
"Goodbye to you, too," Rarity said in a friendly tone. Applejack had just stepped outside, when Rarity spoke again. "Oh!" She said loudly, "If you see Lyra, could you tell her that her outfit is ready?"
"Will do," Applejack said hastily, "Buh-bye now." She quickly closed the door and began quickly trotting away to avoid any more conversation. She had work to do, and she felt a bit embarrassed with how the encounter turned out.
When Carousel Boutique was long behind her, Applejack slowed her pace. It was a long way back to the farm, and she didn't want to tire herself out. However, she did want to head straight home. The clock tower struck ten in the distance. 'Wow, Ah've sure been gone a long while.'
Applejack was about halfway through Ponyville when she spotted Lyra sitting oddly on a bench. If her posture wasn't strange enough, Bonbon wasn't with her. She looked quite lonely, and nopony liked to see Lyra unhappy.
"Hey there, Lyra," Applejack said to Lyra, who gave a slight start, as she trotted towards her bench, "Where's Bonbon?"
"Oh," Lyra said quietly, "She's out shopping."
"Oh, Ah guess everypony does need ta do some shopping from time ta time," Applejack said unconvinced. As the spirit of the Element of Honesty, she could easily see through everypony's lies. "Well," She continues, "Rarity told me ta send ya over. Yer dress is ready."
At this Lyra perked up. She immediately stood up and began running toward Carousel Boutique. "Thanks, bye!" she said as she ran past the confused Applejack.
'That's Lyra fer ya... untalkative as ever.' Applejack continued her trek home, moving at a slower pace than before. 'Ah might as well take mah time,' She thought, looking at the sky, 'Ah'm sure Big Mac has everything under control.'
About an hour later, Applejack arrived to the outskirts of Sweet Apple Acres. Many of the apple trees were bare, nothing but leaves upon their branches. Applebuck Season was right around the corner, and the Apple Family had decided to get a head start this year with the Gala approaching, since Applejack would be absent for a day or two. The sight of the apple trees made Applejack's stomache rumble.
Applejack retrieved a large red apple from the fridge. As she bit into it, an idea began to form in her head. 'Ah wonder if Ah could go an' talk to that prince that Rarity is so fond of.' Applejack chuckled as the idea continued to form in her head, becoming more feasible by the second. Applejack spent the rest of the day happily bucking apples, high hopes for her future with Rarity.