Rarity narrowed her sapphire blue eyes in concentration as a needle floated before her in the sparkling aura of her magic, awaiting a glimmering length of iridescent thread winding out from a nearby, hovering spool. A shoal of assorted sewing notions hung in the air about her, bobbing in the shimmering cloud that centered on her horn like apples on a tree in a mild summer breeze.
The crash of a hastily kicked open door accompanied by the frantic jangle of her shop's bell abruptly jarred her out of her reverie, causing the array of spools and scissors and pincushions to tumble to the floor as if the metaphorical apple tree had been soundly bucked by a metaphorical Applejack.
The alabaster coated unicorn looked up sharply with a polite yet pointed admonition on the tip of her tongue, which died before it reached her lips as she saw the beige earth pony mare who had sold her the assorted sewing supplies that were now scattered about her hooves.
Button Stitch wasn't so much standing in her doorway as she was frantically jogging in place, striking up a muffled staccato on the lavender hued carpet. Her golden brown mane and tail were thoroughly disheveled and she was sweating, having clearly run all the way to the Carousel Boutique from her little notions shop on the other side of Ponyville's market square.
Her expression was a mixture of elation and utter panic, and her voice came out as a hysterical squeal. "Rarity! He came to the shop! He came to the shop!"
The elegant unicorn gave her curling violet mane a toss as she stepped forward to greet her visitor with an arched eyebrow. "He who? Who came to your shop, Button dear?"
The earth pony shopkeeper left off jogging in place and started hopping in place. "Davenport! Davenport came to the shop!"
A knowing smile came to Rarity's face, as she lowered one eyebrow and raised the other in bemusement. "Ah, how lovely. I presume he needed a few sewing supplies to patch up some upholstery."
Button hopped higher and faster. "No! He didn't want to buy anything. He came to my shop to ask me if I wanted to go on a date with him!"
Rarity's smile widened and she fluttered her eyelashes. "Oh really? And what, pray tell, did you say to him?"
The beige pony abruptly stopped bouncing with a dull thud of all four hooves on the carpet, her iris' shrinking to pinpricks. Her ears levered back against her head as her voice took on a tremulous edge. "I... I didn't say anything. I... I... I just ran straight here..."
She let out a groan as she slumped down into a sitting position and covered her face with her fore hooves. "Ohhhh. Celestia's incandescent halitosis, I'm such a ninny..."
The alabaster unicorn let out a faint sigh and rolled her eyes as she walked over to her friend's side and laid a gentle hoof on her shoulder. "Now now, lets think this through calmly, darling. What, hypothetically, would you say to Mister Davenport's invitation, had you been present to answer him?"
Button Stitch wrung her hooves as she looked up at Rarity with tears starting at the corners of her amber eyes. "Why... I'd say yes! A thousand times yes! He's so handsome! And charming! And he knows so much about stationery!"
The unicorn gave her a fond smile as she glanced at a nearby vanity and grabbed up a brush and comb and floated them over with her magic. "Well then, lets see what we can do to give your gentlecolt caller a proper answer, shall we?"
Davenport sat morosely out in front of Button Stitch's notions shop, brooding over what might have gone wrong. The tan stallion tentatively lifted a hoof to his snout and blew a breath into it, taking an experimental sniff, then shook his head. All he could smell was linoleum.
Had he been too forward? Did he say something to offend? He recited the invitation he'd practiced all morning into his bathroom mirror under his breath. "Button Stitch, I think you're a beautiful, charming mare and I was wondering if you'd be willing to join me for dinner at the Bruschetta Grille."
He furrowed his brow. Maybe she didn't like Neightalian cooking. That was too bad, it was all you could eat breadsticks night too.
But it wasn't just breadsticks denied that made him slump his shoulders and hang his head. Button Stitch was a sweet filly and as cute as an ottoman, with a mane the color of polished teak and a coat like creamy velour upholstery. And she sure knew her stuff when it came to stationery.
Davenport had really thought he had a chance with her. They seemed to hit it off pretty well when they met at one of that crazy Pinkie Pie filly's pan-Ponyville parties down at the town sweet shop.
The tan stallion usually showed up late to these affairs, had some punch and a slice or two of cake, stuck to the sidelines and talked about the latest hoofball scores with some of the other colts, and then went back home to heat up a frozen dinner and fall asleep on his broncolounger with a paperback over his face.
That wonderful night when he met her, though, was unlike anything he'd ever experienced. He saw her standing at the buffet arranging the silverware, and when she turned and caught him staring she gave him a shy smile that made his heart almost pop open like a spring loaded sofa bed.
They spent the rest of the night talking and laughing about everything from grommets to staple removers, and he'd learned so much about different grades of yarn and what varieties were more useful for knitting versus crocheting. Davenport was a stallion who could appreciate the effect an afghan or a good lace doily could have on an otherwise boring couch. It was the same as the effect a good mare could have on an otherwise boring stallion. There was definitely something magical in the air that night.
The next party, she actually sought him out, and they talked and maybe even flirted a little. Davenport didn't really know much about flirting, but he was pretty sure he had been doing it, and she seemed to be responding positively. They'd even taken a turn together on the dance floor. Not so much dancing for real as standing next to one another and bobbing more or less in unison to the rhythm, but it was near enough to dancing for the two of them. He left that party in the early hours of the next day almost floating along like he was on low friction casters as he made his way back to his apartment.
And so over the ensuing weeks Davenport had been slowly working up the courage to stop by Button Stitch's shop and ask her out to dinner. After painstakingly planning out a date, composing his invitational speech, practicing it until he knew it so well he could recite it backwards, stopping in at the barber's for a trim and a brisk work over with a curry comb, and then walking that final furlong to her shop's neatly painted door with a single pink rose clenched in his teeth and his heart wedged firmly in his throat and beating like a thunderstorm... she'd turned him down. Emphatically.
Which brought him back to his current unhappy state of affairs. He'd had mares turn him down more times than he could count, but he'd never had one leap into the air with a huge gasp and flee as fast as her hooves could carry her.
That in itself was pretty awkward, but it was even more vexing that she left him standing alone in her place of business. While he did have his own business to get back to, he didn't feel right just leaving her place open and unwatched, even though he was more than a little crushed by her rejection. The sofa and stationary sales-stallion let out a sigh and looked around uncertainly as he kept his vigil by her unlocked front door.
A silvery, mannered voice called out to him, snapping him out of his bleak reverie. "Oh, hello there, Mister Davenport!"
He turned, and his eyes lit up with dawning hope as he saw Button Stitch standing there, her beige coat brushed and glossy, her mane hanging in gold tinged brown curls, a pink glow across her cheeks.
Standing a bit behind her was the glamorous, purple maned unicorn who ran the fancy mares' fashion boutique across town. He'd seen and discreetly admired her frequently at Ponyville's Chamber of Commerce meetings. She was a stunner to be sure, but Davenport had realized long ago that she was so far out of his league that he wasn't even in the same stadium, or even playing the same sport. He was a hoofball kinda guy, and she probably went in for ice dancing or dressage.
The alabaster mare cleared her throat as he turned his gaze back to meet Button Stitch's amber eyes.
After a long, awkward pause, Rarity cleared her throat again.
The unicorn's brow darkened, and she cleared her throat a vehement third time and jabbed the beige earth pony mare in the cutie mark with her horn.
Button let out a squawk and stood on the tips of her hooves, a torrent of words spilling out of her mouth in a higher and higher register. "YesDavenportIwouldliketogooutonadatewithyouveryveryverymuch!"
The stallion blinked, and a smile blossomed on his face. "R-really?"
Rarity chimed in, stepping up beside Button and throwing a foreleg over her shoulders. "Why, she'd be ever so delighted to accompany you, Mister Davenport. She was so very thrilled by your kind invitation that she raced to my boutique for a quick touch up so that she could accept in proper style."
She gave him a genteel smile as she watched her words sink in, leaning over to whisper in the beige mare's ear. "Keep breathing, dear. I'll do the talking."
Davenport let out a whoop and jumped for joy, which in turn caused Button to shriek with alarm and try to bolt in a clatter of hooves on cobblestones, only to be firmly held in place as Rarity's sisterly embrace tightened into a near headlock.
A beat later, the stallion regained his composure and smoothed back his brown forelock with a shaking hoof. "Ah heh. I mean, great! Great! I was thinking dinner at the Bruschetta Grille. That is, if you even like Neightalian cuisine. It's all you can eat bread stick night tonight!"
Button gave him a wavering smile and managed to croak a response. "I like b-bread."
Rarity loosened her grip on the beige mare's neck and fluttered her eyes at the tan stallion. "Meraviglioso, darling! Molto bene! And so romantic! Their fettucine alfredo is to DIE for, and their pesto is good too. Where and when shall you be calling on her?"
Davenport blinked, as all of his meticulously planned details scattered in his mind like goose down from a torn throw pillow. After it became apparent that he wasn't going to wipe the dumbstruck gape off of his face, the alabaster unicorn favored him with a smile of infinite patience. "If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, what say you collect her at seven at the Carousel Boutique?"
This brought the hapless stallion back into focus, and he grinned and nodded eagerly. "Yeah! Sure! That would be great!"
He paused, gazing into Button's eyes as if he wanted to break out in song, before shaking his head to clear it and giving both mares a deep bow. "Now if you lovely ladies would excuse me, I've gotta get back to the ol' shop. Sofas ain't gonna sell themselves, y'know." He turned and started to trot away. "I'll see you tonight!"
The earth pony and unicorn watched him go, his tail hiked elatedly and his prancing gait raising him three hoof lengths off the ground with each step.
As soon as Rarity released her hold on Button's neck, the earth pony began to jog in place in a state of profound agitation, looking wildly in every direction with glazed over eyes. "I'm going on a date! I've never been on a date! Nopony's ever asked me on a date! What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? What do I urk..."
Rarity reapplied the headlock and spoke soothingly in the hyperventilating mare's flattened ear. "Button... darling. You'll be ever so pleased to know that there is a standard operating procedure here, and if you'll just calm down and let me work my particular brand of magic, I will take you through it step by step, and you will be fully prepared for a lovely evening."
Button tottered free and turned to face her as the alabaster unicorn released her hold. She gave a tentative nod. "All... all right, Rarity. I trust you. How do we begin?"
A broad, slightly manic grin spread across the fashion designer's face, and she poinged into the air with a giddy trill on her silvery voice. "MAKEOVERRR!"
Hours later, as a heady dusk began to fall over Ponyville to the melodious callings of crickets and night peepers, the bell on the Carousel Boutique chimed, and the front door swung open in a sparkle of unicorn magic.
The shadowed form of a stallion on the doorstep resolved into an earnestly hopeful looking Davenport as he stepped into the sole light over the foyer. He wore a natty chocolate brown corduroy jacket over a blue turtleneck, and clutched a bouquet of pink roses in his teeth.
A second light flickered to life over the silhouette of a mare standing in the darkened shop. The flowers tumbled to the floor with a soft rustle as Davenport's jaw dropped.
Button Stitch's coat shone like soft white gold, as a delicate blush blossomed on her smiling face. Her mane glittered as it flowed down her neck and shoulders, its meticulously styled curls looking like baroque woodcarving adorning an elegant ivory column.
She wore a simple black dress cut to accentuate her legs and neck, making them seem longer and more graceful while it hugged her barrel and flanks, bestowing a certain fullness to the curves beneath. A soft, almost charcoal dark purple shawl was clasped over her withers by a single large topaz that mirrored the excited gleam in her amber eyes.
Her voice only trembled slightly as she spoke, trying to keep her tone pitched low and sultry like Rarity had painstakingly instructed her. "Hello, Davenport. You're looking handsome this evening."
A besotted smile spread across the stallion's face as little hearts began to bubble up out of his ears and hover around his head. "Hubba wha?"
At this point, Rarity emerged from the shadows, her disheveled alabaster coat gleaming cooly in the light of the foyer, her violet mane slightly frazzled from an afternoon's intense labor.
She leaned in next to the sofa and quill merchant, the tip of her horn bursting one of the little orbiting hearts with a faint pop, and whispered sharply in his ear as she gazed bemusedly over her red rimmed glasses. "I believe your line is: 'Good evening, Button Stitch. You look absolutely beautiful tonight.'"
Davenport continued to gaze at Button in a dreamy rapture. "Yeah. What she said..."
He snapped out of it with a yelp upon receiving a swift kick in the hock. "Ow! Uh... Sorry, Miss Stitch. You look as good as a deluxe lounge suite in a factory showroom. Better, even!"
Rarity softly cleared her throat and rolled her eyes as she stepped back into the shadows. "Close enough."
The tan stallion hastily scooped the bouquet up off of the floor and proffered the fragrant blooms to Button, whose blush intensified to match the roses as she accepted them, tucking them into a fold in her shawl. Davenport then extended his hoof. "Are you ready to go?"
The beige mare's legs stiffened as her eyes took on a glassy, distant expression and her lips curled into a frozen grin. A beat later a low, frantic staccato of hooves on carpet sounded as she shuffled sideways out of the pool of light and over to Rarity. She dragged the alabaster mare into a huddled headlock and whispered in her ear, her voice made slightly harsh by an edge of panic. "What do I do now?"
The unicorn deftly extracted herself, speaking in a low, soothing tone as she planted her hooves on the earth pony's side and shoved her back into the light. "Take his hoof, go with him to the restaurant, eat bread sticks, drink a little wine, laugh, chat, smile, and have a wonderful evening." She favored Davenport with a reassuring if strained grin as she went around behind Button and pushed her forward.
The beige mare reached up and hooked her trembling fetlock around the tan stallion's hoof, her blushing face reflected deep in his wide pupils as a shy smile stole across her face. "O-okay. Lets... lets go, Davenport. We don't want to be late for our reservation."
Rarity beamed as the two earth ponies went side by side out into the velvety night. "That's right! Go! Have fun! Affrettatevi! Addio, miei cari! Incantesimo aspetta!"
Button and Davenport paused on the path outside as the door slammed behind them, followed by the rattle of a dead bolt being thrown and a sudden drop in ambient light as the windows of the boutique went dark. The pair traded a nervous smile in the moonlight, and continued down the path as fireflies started to wink in the warm midsummer air.
In the darkened boutique Rarity crouched down behind the door and peered out at them through the mail slot. When they had trotted out of sight she settled back on her haunches with a heavy sigh and a flick of her rumpled mane. Slowly, a triumphant smile spread across her pale face, and she rose to her hooves with an effervescent giggle and pirouetted across the moonlit floor of her domain, singing softly to herself. "Oh this is the night, it's a beautiful night, and we call it bella notte..."
The fireflies were out in full force by the time the moon had hit its zenith, mirroring the stars that Princess Luna had scattered above the sleeping houses of Ponyville. The shadowed forms of ponies, alone or in pairs, moved about at ease in the intimate stillness of the summer night.
Davenport's merry voice sounded out as he and Button strolled along the edge of the town square. "... and so I look down at the nib, and I realize that it wasn't a number seven, it was a seven point five!"
At this, both stallion and mare broke out into giddy laughter. Button tottered a bit and came to a stop against a nearby lamp post with a sigh, her golden brown curls falling down into her slightly reddened face. She gave her companion a wide, slightly cockeyed smile. "Oh Davenport. You're the most fassina... fastinati... the NEATEST colt I ever met."
She hiccuped, and her complexion reddened a little more. "I think I had a little bit too much of the vino. I'm getting a little dizzy."
Davenport looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know, my shop's not too far from here. We could stop and rest for a little while before I take you home." He gave her a grin. "There's plenty of places to sit down, at least."
The tipsy mare's brow furrowed in sluggish pensiveness tinged with suspicion. "And then what, you invite me upstairs to see your calligraphy samples?"
The stallion shrugged. "Well, my apartment is upstairs, and I don't have any samples up there. I keep 'em in a nice case in my showroom, if you really want to see 'em."
His eyes went wide as the subtext suddenly became clear to him. He reared up, waving his front hooves frantically. "Oh! Oh wait! N-no, I wouldn't... I'd never..."
Button's ears flattened as her lower lip started to tremble. "You... you wouldn't? You'd n-never?"
Nervous sweat broke out on Davenport's forehead as he slouched back on his haunches. "No! I mean YES! I mean, you... you're beautiful, but I'd never suggest... not unless you wanted... but I didn't mean I wanted to... I mean I would want to if you want to but you'd have to want to before I would... I mean..."
He brought a hoof to his forehead and let out a long shuddering breath. After a few moments, he looked up at her with a gentle expression and held out a hoof. "I just had an idea, if you'd like to come with me, but if you want to go straight home that's fine too."
The beige mare considered his proffered hoof for a long while, then lurched upright and took it with a fragile smile. "All right."
A short while later they stood out front of Quills and Sofas. Davenport gave Button a soft pat on the shoulder. "Just wait here a minute, I'll be right back."
With that, he went inside and the lights in the windows went on, casting the waiting mare in a soft, golden glow filtered through the heavy curtains. A scraping sound came to Button's ears, and a moment later a short maroon couch slid out the open door with Davenport pushing his head against the foreleg rest. The beige mare stepped aside as he wrestled his burden into place in front of his shop.
The stallion bowed to her and gestured toward one of the cushions with a flourish. "My lady, please make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back." With that he trotted back to his door and switched off the lights inside, allowing the night to softly envelop them again with sparkles of silver high above and sparkles of gold all around.
Button was settling herself as he returned, and she gave him a tentative smile, her amber eyes shining in the dark as they reflected nearby fireflies. "This is... nice, Davenport." She let out a little giggle as she felt the upholstery with a hoof. "I never would have expected to be outside stargazing on a couch."
The sofa and quill merchant sat down on the sidewalk and rubbed the back of his head with a hoof. "Well, technically it's a... a love seat."
The air filled with the chirping of crickets as mare and stallion both fell uncomfortably quiet. Button stirred in her seat and softly patted the other cushion with a trembling hoof. "Would... would you like to join me? N-no sense sit... sitting on the ground when there's a perfectly good love... l-love seat to sit on."
Davenport let out a nervous chuckle as he climbed up and sat down beside her. "Believe it or not I've said that to customers before." She replied with a strained giggle, and the two ponies lapsed into silence again.
Presently, Button worked up the nerve to speak. "D-davenport. I had a wonderful time tonight. Dinner was delicious, and you've been perfect... a perfect gentlecolt."
The stallion shifted on his cushion and reached out with a hoof, laying it on top of one of hers with the lightest of touches. "If... if anypony's perfect here it's you, Button. I don't know what a regular schmoe like me did to deserve a chance to spend some time with an amazing mare like you."
She let out a sigh. "I'm h-hardly perfect or... or amazing, Davenport. In truth I'm a neurotic, obsessive compulsive mess of a mare with so many issues I've practically got a lifetime subscription." She turned to him, her voice cracking. "You... you could do a lot better."
Davenport leaned in toward her. "Not from where I'm sitting, Button. Right now, I think I'm just about the luckiest colt in the world."
The beige mare caught her breath, as their lips came together over the center line between the cushions of the love seat.
Her heartbeat pounded in her ears. She was kissing a colt! On the lips! She'd never kissed a colt on the lips. She'd kissed her parents on the face but never on the lips. Was she doing it right? She wanted so badly to be doing it right but how could she know if she was doing it right? How was a pony supposed to practice this kind of thing?
She could feel her shoulders stiffen and her lips compressing into a tight line. She was doing it wrong. Her first kiss ever and she was doing it wrong. She abruptly broke off the kiss and drew back with a gasp. Davenport's eyes snapped open, and his face fell as she recoiled from the disappointment that blossomed there.
Button pushed back against the foreleg rest, tears beginning to well in her eyes. "I... I'm s-sorry Dav... It's not y-you, it's... it's me... This is too fast... You d-deserve somepony who isn't... I c-can't... I need more practice... I'm not ready to... I'm sorry." She scrabbled off of the love seat and stood weaving on her hooves. "I'm sorry."
With that, she wheeled and galloped away sobbing.
The distraught mare skidded to a stop a couple of blocks away under the guttering light of a street lamp, her meticulously curled mane in ragged tangles and her dress and shawl in disarray. She ground her teeth as hot tears squeezed out of her tightly closed eyes, and she stomped on the cobblestones in frustrated rage, cursing herself in tempo with her hoof strikes. "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! What! Is! Wrong! With! Me!?"
She dithered between rushing back to where the stallion of her dreams probably still sat on the love seat and running to the safety of her empty, orderly home, her face a turmoil of conflicting emotions. Unable to bear it any longer, she braced her legs and shrieked, her tail lashing furiously behind her. "Oh HARPSICHORD!"
Button let out a gasp and brought a hoof to her mouth. "Wh-what did I just mambo jelly?"
Her eyes grew wide in sick horror as she watched swirling threads of pink spread from the cup of her hoof and begin to roil and boil up her hock and cannon. Her voice came husky and thick, the pitch rising and the tone distorting into strange harmonics as she watched the alien color bristle and overwhelm her neatly combed natural coat. "Oh no no no no non nuu ning nong nargle pargle wim bim lim tim olay biscuit barrel hortle barble nardle zouse!"
Davenport paused from dejectedly pushing the love seat back inside and raised his head with ears perked. For a moment he could almost swear that he heard somepony angrily playing an off key set of bagpipes in the distance. The noise died away on a cold breeze that blew in across the town square, and with a sigh and a shake of his head, he wearily bent to his task again.
Once the love seat was parked in his foyer he slammed the door behind him and flopped down on it with his eyes buried in the crook of his foreleg. He let out a miserable groan as tears began to drip onto the upholstery.
The characters depicted in this fiction are copyright and trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. This is a work of fan fiction, and the author makes no claim on Hasbro's copyright or trademarks.