FingerbangingMLP

AlexanderGrey - Time After Time (Part II)

Aug 19th, 2015
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  1. Previously: http://pastebin.com/a4mFFJbB
  2.  
  3. >The way Twilight walks away from the car seems odd to you as well. She looks like she’s trying too hard to stay calm, having been somehow affected by your reluctance to comply to her request. You really hope that she is sane enough to be safe around, but you’ve been having your recent doubts.
  4. >Sunset begins to follow her, but looks back at you every couple of seconds, as though she hadn’t said enough. You wouldn’t disagree, given that she hasn’t spoken to you throughout 90% of this conversation that SHE wanted to have in the first place.
  5. >In the distance where the band kids used to be playing, there is silence. Already prepared to sneak on over there after Twilight and Sunset are out of sight, you casually walk around the front of your car to the driver’s side.
  6. >The door handle is grabbed and pulled open before you slip behind the steering wheel. The keys are about the turn on the ignition when you hear Sunset’s voice sound from right outside of your window.
  7. >”Anon, wait.” She solemnly says to you.
  8. >You turn your head to her, finding Sunset with her fingers locked together in front of her. She wears an apologetic expression on her face.
  9. “What is it?”
  10. >”Twilight’s already back over to where her car is, and I didn’t really want her to hear me say this, since it might make her upset.”
  11. >A glance over to he other car does prove that Twilight is already stepping inside of it, outside of the range of your earshot. You turn back to Sunset before she starts speaking again.
  12. >”I know how much you want to push everyone else away, and I don’t want to stop you or tell you what to do. It’s just that…”
  13. >You wait for her pause to finish so you can figure out a response that allows you to drive off as soon as possible.
  14. >”I… I still love you anyway, okay? Whether anyone else knows or not… I just… still do.”
  15. >Look down towards the steering wheel, giving the words a moment to sink in. Sunset anxiously watches you from the outside.
  16. “Uh… what?”
  17. >Nothing else seems to have to audacity to escape Sunset’s lips. She stands there, possibly beginning to regret opening herself up once more. You start to sense this, and quickly think of a way to keep things from flying off the rail.
  18. “I… already know that, Sunset.” You bumble. “You’ve told me that before a lot of times. I mean-”
  19. >”I know I’ve said it before!” Sunset interrupts you, raising her voice for only but a second.
  20. >Her breathing has become audible, and there’s something inside of you that might be able to hear her heart beating as well.
  21. >”I… it’s just that… I wanted to say it again.” The girl suddenly stammers in a weaker voice. “I know you already know…. I just wanted to say it again. Because, it just feels good to say it sometimes.”
  22. “Why does it?”
  23. >”I don’t know! Okay?! I just… I don’t know!”
  24. >Sunset turns her back you you for a couple of seconds, automatically giving you the notion that she might be crying. You don’t hear her making any sounds, though.
  25. >What if…
  26. >What if she’s faking all of this? It does all sound like something straight out of a movie. The way she worded everything, the fact that she came right back to the car right after Twilight had left…
  27. >You don’t want to believe that your superstitions are becoming justified, but the signs just keep begging to differ. If Twilight’s plan really is to appeal to your emotions against your will and get you to begin to feel for Sunset, then this would be the perfect way to do it. Sunset even wants to make it clear to you that Twilight supposedly doesn’t know about it, so you can’t just go ahead say that it’s what Twilight wants to happen.
  28. >”Look, I just wanted to say that, okay?” She finally says, not showing any signs of crying.
  29. >There’s strain in her voice, but nothing that resembles crying.
  30. “I don’t understand how you can still like me. I mean, you gave those lilies to me a long time ago. And… I couldn’t even really keep them alive, to be honest.”
  31. >Sunset takes a deep breath and a quick glance to the sky before looking back at you.
  32. >”Anon. Of course the lilies must have died by now if you didn’t water them or anything.”
  33. >You fight back the guilt as she says this, not wanting to face the brunt of the force that pushes the fault onto your actions and inactions.
  34. “The point is, this should have been over a long time ago.”
  35. >”It’s not the life of the lilies themselves that counts. It’s… the reason why I planted them to begin with. That’s not just going to go away, Anon.”
  36. “Sunset…”
  37. >”Go ahead and judge me if you must. But it’s still true.” Sunset continues.
  38. >Of course she would say all of this. Nothing is more effective than pulling at someone’s heartstrings, right? You almost feel that she was close to forgetting to do this last little performance to get onto your soft side and make your heart start to flutter for her.
  39. >Like that’s going to work.
  40. >”Anon…”
  41. “Sunset, come on.”
  42. >”Anyway, I don’t think you’re a monster, okay? And Twilight doesn’t either. But… there’s a difference. She doesn’t love you like I love you.”
  43. >Okay first of all, what does that even mean? This behavior is getting increasingly strange, like that of a person who’s trying to force someone to feel a certain way without being pushy about it. It’s a good thing you’ve already lost your trust for Sunset, otherwise, it would have completely left, now.
  44. >You literally feel exactly how you were at the beginning of this, minus the social freedom that you had before that kept you from being hostile towards others.
  45. >”Just know that I’ll be here for you no matter what happens. And… that’s all the reason why.”
  46. >Right, you sure are.
  47. >”So… I’ll uh… I guess I should go now.” Sunset concludes. “Bye.”
  48. >In a matter of seconds, Sunset awkwardly stumbles away from your car, heading to Twilight’s car in a rushed pace. All you can do is stare at her with a blank expression as she does this.
  49. >Are the band kids still at the stadium?
  50. >Minutes go by as you sit in the driver’s seat. Twilight and Sunset remain in the other car for a few moments, most likely talking to eachother. And what they’re saying is something that you can accurately fill in the blank for.
  51. >They eventually drive off and the car disappears into the distance. Right as this happens, you put your own car into drive and head over to the stadium’s area at a reasonable speed.
  52. >What did Sunset mean when she said that Twilight didn’t love you the same way she had? That sentence seemed a little bit… leading.
  53. >Regardless, those two are definitely acting quite strange. Which obviously leads you to believe that an attempt is being made to ship you with Sunset. She is a sweet and popular girl, you’ll give her that. But like you’ve tried to make clear before, those factors should not require you to go on a date with her if she asks you out.
  54. >You avoid relationships, and seeing how much everyone is trying to obligate you to do something only because it fits the social norm, it just strikes you as completely unfair. You don’t want a relationship, or any relating emotions to the topic either, and that’s what everybody’s going to have to accept.
  55. >The band kids are nowhere to be seen as you pull up to the stadium. Upon discovering this, you silently curse and decide that you actually will have to wait until tomorrow.
  56. >This only causes you to become more upset. You feel as though this situation keeps dragging you back in over and over again, distracting you from every possible exit one by one with the pointless drama.
  57. >It’s back to complaining to yourself in your own head as you drive back home in what feels like defeat.
  58. >Many many minutes of driving and thinking go by.
  59. >Nobody likes being shipped against their will. Just ask anyone who’s been forced into marriage because of their culture or religion.
  60. >And yes, your own personal situation is a lot less extreme than those of some people who are literally forced no matter what they do.
  61. >You’re not going to go full Tumblrite on this one, you are fully aware that you still have it astronomically better than some other people.
  62. >But that’s the difference. You do have the option to choose for yourself. There are no religions or cultural enforcements that make your opinion powerless. You live in a society in which YOU get to make the choice whether or not you want to get into a relationship with someone. And THAT is what Trixie, Twilight, Sunset, Flash and a ton of other people need to get through their thick skulls.
  63. >They need to come to terms with the fact that you are the one who makes the choices, not them. This isn’t a third world country; they don’t own you.
  64. >What’s sad is the fact that the more they push this, the more you’re going to resist. Would you have ever started a relationship with Sunset? You have no idea at this point, because that scenario is basically out the window. Almost everyone has tried to manipulate you into do so, resulting in what could be defined as some form of reverse psychology. But you can’t put the resistance out of your head anymore; you’re too… on your toes now.
  65. >The other kids turned you into this monster. And the only way to go back is to get away from these people. They’re not willing to solve this without you giving in to them, Twilight and Sunset have pretty much made that clear.
  66. >And in addition to that, you…
  67. >…
  68. >What’s that?
  69. >You look into the rear view mirror to find a lavender rectangular object resting on the far side of the back seat on the passenger side. It has something… pink on it.
  70. >After stopping at a traffic light, you pull into the nearest gas station and bring the vehicle to a stop in a parking space. Your neighborhood is still about five to ten minutes away down the road.
  71. >Unbuckle yourself, open the door and walk around to open the back passenger door. The discovery you make as the door opens baffles you at first. You don’t even know how to respond.
  72. >Lying on the seat, slightly wedged into the crease, is a lavender mobile phone with a pink star on its cover. It takes you a half second to recognize its features. You remember seeing it for brief moments before on multiple occasions; it has Twilight’s supposed favorite color, design, symbol and everything.
  73. >You gently pick up the device, noticing how light it is in your hand. The seat you pick it up from is the seat that Twilight was sitting at the edge of when she talked with you. And judging by how light and slim this phone is, it could have very easily slipped out of her pocket without her noticing.
  74. >And it evidently has.
  75. >Turning on the screen, you see a brightly colored picture appear. And sure enough, it’s a picture of Twilight and Sunset taking a selfie together.
  76. >This phone belongs to Twilight Sparkle.
  77. “What the…” You mutter as you continue to stare at it.
  78. >There’s a keypad on the lock screen, only to be opened with a specific phrase. It dawns upon you that beyond it, there could possibly be answers to many questions you may have regarding Twilight’s motives for her rather diabolical actions.
  79. >This could very well be the break you were waiting for; all you would have to do is figure out the password to Twilight’s phone.
  80. >And of course, there’s that tiny little notion in your head that screams at you “This is wrong! You shouldn’t invade someone’s privacy like that!”; the cliché angel on your right shoulder. And accompanying your left shoulder would be… yup, you guessed it, the little devil that urges you “Do it, Anon. Twilight’s been invading your privacy anyway, and she only intends to do it more. You must look into her phone, call her out about it and put a stop to this once and for all! You want to go to Brothens, don’t you?”
  81. >While the stereotypes are strong in your situation, you are faced with options. Choosing could either end your torment right here, or allow it to continue as you wander through the dark.
  82. >This password to the phone would likely be something pretty difficult to figure out. You’re not sure how long Twilight is going to go before noticing that her phone is missing, considering how often girls her age are on their phones. If anything, she should have had Sunset text you about it being missing by now. The two have been consistently trying to manipulate you for the past week, so that should justify looking into Twilight’s phone just one time, right?
  83. >But on the other hand, she’s never looked into your phone. Then again, she’s never had possession of your phone; what would she have done with it if the roles right now were reversed?
  84. >The screen fades to black once more as the phone lies motionless in your hand. You know that you can’t stay parked at this gas station for too long, as it’s going to start getting dark outside soon. And figuring out this password would certainly take a while anyway, especially if the phone has a limit for incorrect attempts programed into it for security reasons.
  85. >It’s a very close decision, but you decide to not take any further risks and get Twilight’s phone back to her and away from you. Because as you stand there with the lock screen up, you automatically think back to when you were on the internet googling GPS programs on your phone.
  86. >What if Twilight has that installed onto her phone? The more you wonder this, the more you remember about Twilight’s behavior about a half an hour ago. Her wording of certain things could have been hinting something, and she did step out of the car rather hastily. It was in a manner that showed her not wanting you to see into the backseat from where you were standing. And you remember her closing the door as quickly as she could as well, almost getting her skirt caught in it. It’s as though she knew that her phone was in your car, ready to be there when you pull into your driveway.
  87. >Now connect this to Sunset asking you where you live just a short while before that.
  88. >If Twilight’s phone would be unavailable to them, and your phone wouldn’t have the GPS app, guess who’s phone would have to be on the other line?
  89. >All of this combined with the fact that Twilight hasn’t acknowledged that her phone’s missing yet is enough evidence for you to come to yet another logical conclusion. You know you’re not crazy, and you’re certainly not a monster. But you’re also NOT going to be controlled or tracked by those who disagree with your actions.
  90. >You honestly hate the paranoia that you have. Most of the lines that you’re drawing with your mind probably aren’t there. But you weren’t at all paranoid until all of the drama came into play. All you want is your old self back, and to have the summer you’ve always wanted. No relationships, no drama, no paranoia, no constantly looking over your shoulder, just fun and relaxation.
  91. >Who could blame you for wanting things to be that way?
  92. >Conclusively, you decide not to try to look through Twilight’s phone, as it would take a lot of time and effort along with a great risk. It’s best not to stoop to their level and just try to make it to freedom. You don’t even care if amends with the, can be met anymore. If they still have a problem after all of this time, it’s theirs to deal with. Not yours.
  93. >You text Sunset’s number in hopes to get her attention. It clear that the only way to reach Twilight is through Sunset’s number, so you’re actually technically texting Sunset. This might feel a bit awkward after the conversation you just had with her less than 45 minutes ago. But you type the message and send it anyway, not wanting to let the mess you’re in grow the longer you have Twilight’s phone.
  94. [Sunset. Can you tell Twilight that she left her phone in my car?]
  95. >You await the response, anticipating what they’re going to say back.
  96. >A minute or two later, Sunset replies to your message.
  97. >[Oh haha, Twilight’s been looking for her phone for like 20 minutes now. I just realized that’s what she’s looking for. Are you already back at your house?]
  98. >You have a feeling that she might already know.
  99. [Uh no, I’m at a gas station right now. Do you want me to tell you which one it is so you could drive over here?]
  100. >No responses for a little while. The longer you wait, the more anxious you become as you wonder what the two might be saying to eachother. The thought and feeling is very slight, but very uncomfortable nonetheless. Until finally, another text comes in.
  101. >[I’m in Twilight’s car with her right now, but she’s in the middle of driving to somewhere and needs to get there and back before nightfall. It’s not that far, so we’ll still be close enough in town to keep in touch and come get the phone right afterwards.]
  102. >It’s June. The streetlights don’t even need to turn on turn on until after 8:30, when it actually gets dark.
  103. >It’s 6:04.
  104. [Where on earth are you going that it takes you an hour to get there and an hour to get back?] You begin to interrogate. [If it’s not far, then why would you need to go there now if it won’t start to get dark until over two hours from now?]
  105. >Another long pause, this one longer than the first one. If these two want to act sketchy, that’s their problem. But you already fear that it’s much more than that.
  106. >The only ironic thing about this is the fact that both of their names are evening-themed.
  107. >[It’s a thing where Twilight needs to be there for a while and then head back. She’s taking her final exams early like how I did. Just go ahead and wait at your place until we’re done and we’ll come get her phone. She says that it’s a good thing that she won’t have her phone even on her during the tests anyway.]
  108. >Time to blow this story apart.
  109. [Why can’t you drive back to here once you drop her off? And if she’s taking a test, why did you two leave the school grounds?]
  110. >You know that you’re pretty much cornered them by now. The next message from Sunset’s phone has yet to appear, and it’s taking even longer to do so than the last two times combined. It’s clear what the nature of this next message will be like.
  111. >Finally, another message comes in after almost 30 more minutes. You’ve been sitting here in this parking lot the entire time, not moving an inch closer in the direction of your house.
  112. >[This is Twilight now. Everything’s fine, don’t worry about me. Just take the phone home with you and meet me at the school after I get back out. I’m dropping Sunset off at her house now, since we were already doing that. I promise I’ll meet you at the school at around 8 okay?]
  113. >There are 4 exams at the end of the school year, and it’s already 6:45. Nobody takes 4 entire final exams in completely different subjects in 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is just getting so ridiculous you actually burst out laughing in your car.
  114. >The damage control is real.
  115. [That doesn’t make sense, Twilight.] You respond, trying to remain polite, surprisingly enough. [Each exam alone should take at least 45 minutes. You really shouldn’t be out until about 10 PM if the case is you taking all four of those exams.]
  116. >Also, you realize that in all of this time she took to text you back, from around 6:00 to 6:45, Twilight and Sunset could have easily stopped by the gas station to pick up the phone.
  117. >These two are obviously lying to you. And you know exactly why: they are trying to get you to go back to your house while Twilight’s phone is still with you. And meanwhile, Twilight has that app installed into her phone, doesn’t she? That must be why she’s lying to you through Sunset’s phone and trying to get you to go to your house.
  118. >Trust yourself, Anon… you’re not crazy.
  119. >That sure feels relieving to confirm.
  120. >You’re not crazy.
  121. >[There’s only one test left that I have to take.] Twilight replies. [I’ll be back to you in about an hour. Now I need to give Sunset her phone back so she can go inside, okay?]
  122. >Somehow, you knew that this would happen. She’s bailing out, giving you an urgency to end the conversation.
  123. >Reply back saying “okay” and set the phone back down on the passenger seat. The sounds of other cars passing by the gas station almost soothes you as you lean back in the driver’s seat. It’s clam and relatively quiet in your car as you try to figure out what to do next.
  124. >The one thing that you really shouldn’t do is go home… or anywhere near there for that matter. You stare back over at Twilight’s phone, unable of finding a way to prove that the GPS app is on it. You might not be able to confirm it for yourself, but you just know it’s there. You just know.
  125. >Why else would she try to get you to go to your house? Especially after you wouldn’t let Sunset know where you live. Sunset only wanted to know where you live so she and Twilight could send people over to do… something. And they could then pretend that they don’t know what you’re talking about once you bring it up in conversation.
  126. >They’d probably hope that you’d brush it off as a coincidence, and that when the pressure against you should take more effect, since there would be “coincidental” things happening at home as well.
  127. >Whatever you do, you must not lead them to your house. You going back home is exactly what they want and expect you to do, and they’ll watch you drive there, probably giggling intently as their sinister plan falls into action. You’ll pull into the driveway and then Sunset will whisper to her friend: “That must be it. That’s where he lives.”
  128. >But an idea suddenly pops into your head.
  129. >They don’t know where you live yet, and wherever you go, they will probably assume that it’s your house. This realization makes a smile creep onto your face as you start up your car.
  130. >If you stayed in the parking lot, Twilight would be able to figure out that you didn’t go to your house, seeing were on the map the phone was the entire time. It might be a good idea to drive at leas somewhere so Twilight doesn’t know that you’re suspicious about her intentions. And wherever you stay for an hour is where she will probably try to make things happen, whatever they are and however she will have it be done.
  131. >At long last, you pull out of the gas station, eyeing the phone in the passenger seat with a challenging expression on your face.
  132. >You can picture Twilight watching her screen intently, noticing the little dot on her map finally begin to move. Monitoring you right now as you drive onto the street and towards the traffic light. The car rolls to a stop and you gaze out the windshield at the sky above.
  133. >Clearly, a far away part of town would be the ideal target for you to provide a decoy. There’s always those rural neighborhoods on the outskirts of town. But you figure that Twilight would too easily figure out that you wouldn’t live there, given that it’s nowhere even near the Canterlot High school district.
  134. >Another thought you have is to probably go to the mall or something, and then just tell them later that you felt like going there really quickly since you would have left your house anyway. But if you do this, they will not stop trying to find out where you live.
  135. >If you go to a random house, their search for where you live will end as they get their false closure. Worst case scenario, Twilight and Sunset (Or whoever they might send to do their dirty work) will get in trouble for trespassing onto some random person’s property. But it would be their own fault for going there to begin with.
  136. >You watch the traffic lights on the adjacent sides of the intersection turn to red. You have to decide where you’re going to go before your light turns green.
  137. >The light turns green and you gradually accelerate the vehicle, torn between going to the store and going to a random house. You can’t even make up your mind about how you’re going to handle these girls stalking you, and that’s very worrying.
  138. >Pass under the traffic light that was in front of you and just go forward, still taking your time to think of something to do.
  139. >Sunset and Twilight are watching you right now, knowing exactly where you are going. You really want to just go to a house near your bus route and make them think that you live there. In that case, there are two outcomes. If they really are stalking you through the GPS app on Twilight’s phone, then they will just proceed to spy on whoever lives there, and likely won’t find out that they’ve been rused until after school lets out. And if they aren’t actually stalking you, then you never had anything to worry about in the first place and just overreacted over nothing.
  140. >You make a few turns in a commercial area of small stores before finding a street with not as many moving cars as the others.
  141. >Almost every car here is parked, meaning that there’s less people here to see you as they pass by. You wish you didn’t have to park under the power lines, but it was the only spot available that you could see.
  142. >After pulling over, you find yourself unable to come to a conclusion as to what you should do. You turn the hazard lights on and stare at the phone once more, picking it up in just a short moment. You get ready to send a text, but you have to make your decision first.
  143. >Half of you wants to go to the store or something, and the other half doesn’t know what to think.
  144. >If you send the two to some other random house, will you even be able to prove that they actually went there? You sure would love to get some closure in all of this. On top of that, you really just don’t care anymore.
  145. >Think about where you’re stance in all of this is.
  146. >You’re getting yourself all worked up over these two girls finding out where you live, trying to use the same deception game that they play. A wave of shame washes into you as it starts to feel like you’re stooping to their level; this is where you have to draw the line.
  147. >Think, Anon. Why are you so afraid of confronting these two to the point where you try to offset them to somewhere else in town? It’s obvious that they’re going to find out that you lied to them, anyway. Just think about it.
  148. >Sunset and Twilight aren’t going to leave you alone if you keep lying to them like how they’re lying to you. It’s only going to make this a back-and-forth type of deal. They need to confront you on their own terms and get told no straight to their faces right after they give it their all. All they had a chance to do this time around was talk to you in the school parking lot, and nothing more.
  149. >There’s not wanting to be involved, and then there’s stooping to someone else’s level. And you’re doing the latter. But it’s not like it’s your fault… you have proven it to yourself multiple times that they are indeed trying to deceive you. You could go over the evidence a million times and it would still make sense.
  150. >But you’re only reacting to what others are trying to do. This should be completely justified. All you want is for this to be over, but…
  151. >Not even once before all of this did you hit the low in which you desperately tried to think of a way to trick someone. You weren’t paranoid. No one was trying to find you, and you never had to fend anyone off. Before, you had a calm life in which you just looked forward to your relaxing summer and… and then you…
  152. >…
  153. >This blows. You cannot even begin to guess how many times you’ve already gone over this in your head. Everything you’re thinking about right now just feels far too familiar.
  154. >Your brain feels like a broken record at this point… thinking the same thoughts over and over again. And this is far from something you enjoy.
  155. >All you want is for this to be over… but…
  156. >You just don’t want to lose.
  157. >When you get right down to it, you just hate the fact that everyone’s trying to indirectly pressure you to go on a date with Sunset, despite you already saying no. The whole premise of doing something like this is just downright stupid, but they’re clearly not letting up. And you know why… they’re waiting for you to crack first and give in simply because you don’t want to go through this.
  158. >And what can you even do about it? At least without sinking all the way down to where you are… this is practically a no-win situation on your end. You cannot stand the feeling of being trapped like this.
  159. >The fact that you just want this to end is what they want. They want you to be tired of resisting and not want to do any of this. Oh, you can picture the aftermath already… a year or two from now.
  160.  
  161. >Sunset is sitting at a party in a bar with her friends, talking about all of the guys she’s dated in the past. You eventually come up in conversation, having been one of those guys.
  162.  
  163. >”Oh, you should have seen how I reeled that one in!” Sunset happily chimes to her college friends and roommates. “He kept saying no to me at first and went on and on about how he hated relationships and such.”
  164.  
  165. >”Oh. My god. You gotta tell us about this one, Sunny!” One other girl says. “Preach, sister!”
  166.  
  167. >”His name was Anon. He was this thin green guy that I went to high school with. I used to have the HUGEST crush on that guy.”
  168.  
  169. >”Didn’t you already tell us about this one?”
  170.  
  171. >”No, that was Norman. This is a different guy. And girl, let me tell you, this fish was a lot harder to catch.”
  172.  
  173. >Smiles appear on the faces of the other girls as Sunset prepares to tell them the tale.
  174.  
  175. >”And he was even a lot harder to keep, what with him constantly growing distant from me and not knowing how to get along with others and everything. He was actually quite awkward once I got to know him. But it was kinda fun while it lasted… all the way up until we broke up in our senior year.”
  176.  
  177. >”How did you do it?”
  178.  
  179. >The other girls lean in to listen more intently. Sunset looks at them with an extremely ambitious look on her face, as though she’s about to tell the tale about how she found a lost treasure or something. She’s clearly and immensely proud of what she’s about to say.
  180.  
  181. >”Pay attention, girls. Because this is the perfect example of a good way to get a guy to go out with you. It’ll work every time, I promise.” Sunset tells them while wearing an expression of pure pride. “After he rejected me the first time, I let myself break down in front of all of my friend who I knew at the time. They all got mad at Anon for being a jerk and came up with a secret plan to get back at him for me. They all eventually got him to reject a bunch of other girls before the school year ended, and he had to reject them otherwise he’d be in a relationship that he didn’t want. This made the other guys in the school hate him and pressure him into saying yes to someone for a change. That’s when I swooped in and acted all sad and nervous while pretending to be on his side or something. He eventually got so sick of everyone else annoying him, he asked me out during the summer! Isn’t that crazy?”
  182.  
  183. >The other girls gasp at her as she recites her conclusion.
  184.  
  185. >”And THAT… is how you get a guy to go out with you!” Sunset tells them. “All it takes is time and pressure, and he’ll eventually-”
  186.  
  187. “NO!” You suddenly blare at the top of your lungs as you sit in your car.
  188. >Twilight’s phone is tossed over to the seat with a soft thus and you clench your hands into tight fists. They ram down upon the steering wheel with as much force as you can push into your arms.
  189. >The honking of your car’s horn catches the attention of a few pedestrians. Something inside of you may or may not have snapped.
  190. “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” You scream each time your fists meet the steering wheel and make the horn sound.
  191. >The fit you’re suddenly throwing is something you literally had no idea was prone to happening; how on earth could you have seen this coming? How long has it been boiling inside of you?
  192. >With your seatbelt still holding you in place, you violently twist your body around as your hands flail uncontrollably. You are almost certain that you’re going to break the window next to you, unable to cease. The message is clear: you’ve had enough of this.
  193. >…
  194. >A minute passes and you finally calm down, attempting to grasp exactly what has just happened. A rush of heat almost overcomes you as you look to the side. The window is still completely in tact, revealing a collage of raindrops on the outside surface of it.
  195. >You never even noticed it start to rain.
  196. >Of course it would rain; as if this moment didn’t feel cliché enough.
  197. >Pitter pattering of the falling raindrops and your own heavy breathing are all to be heard. You’re not so sure if you’ve gotten it all out, but there’s one thing that you’re sure that you’re going to do.
  198. >You are going to drive home anyway, ending this childish charade of hide and seek. They’ll know where you live, but you don’t care anymore. You’re not going to let them give you a hard time; you’re done. Whatever they will do shouldn’t be too bad, since they want to keep your trust. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t be waiting for them.
  199. >Your new and sudden plan is to let them over to your house, and catch them in the act when they have no idea that you’re watching.
  200. >There’s no way they can expect you to trust them after something like that. You’ll have proof beyond reasonable doubt that they are in the wrong. You’ll be free of their ties that bind you to pretend to be reaching out to them.
  201. >This ends here.
  202. >The sound of the windshield wipers gliding across the glass somewhat relaxes you with their soft whirring. It’s too bad that the clouds above are causing the sky to get darker a lot earlier. You drive carefully all the way over to your neighborhood.
  203. >Not speaking or thinking a word.
  204. >Approach your block in a few minutes, just letting the minutes slip by as your worries dwindle closer to the edge of your mind. You don’t want to hold onto those burdens anymore. The weight that your troubled mind used to carry must be lifted.
  205. >Change is going to come.
  206. >Up to your driveway you pull, rolling your car in as you glare at the phone once more. The two girls are certainly watching your little dot move this very second, getting ready to pinpoint the exact address at which your car arrives at.
  207. >Your sanctuary is revealed.
  208. >The thickening rain blankets itself upon you while you step out, with one phone in each pocket. You lock your car’s doors and scurry up to your house’s front door, momentarily unlocking it and stepping through to the warm, dry interior. You close the door behind you.
  209. >Preparing your fortress for the nights to come.
  210. >This has gone on for too long, and you’re ready to lead your new foes into a trap that you plan to set up in the next hour or so. Like a spider weaving its web, carefully making sure that the thin strands catch the juiciest of prey.
  211. >You slowly lurch up the stairs, dragging your feet across the carpet one by one. Making your way to the upstairs bathroom while the rain outside falls even harder than before. No one else seems to be home. Twilight’s phone is lightly tossed onto your bed, with more care than you’d like to admit. There’s no point in texting them, they’re already watching you right now anyway. But you’re done with them… completely unable to turn back at this point.
  212. >The light is turned on, and the door not even bothered to be shut. Your nearly traumatized reflection doesn’t even stare back at you, but into open space.
  213. >Completely in a hateful shock of everything that keeps happening. The look of anger is strong in your face, you can tell. This is the moment during which you question who you are, and how it differs from who you want to be.
  214. >Anon Y. Mous. The quiet kid in school who will eventually roll over from peer pressure if a girl wants to get him to go out with her. Anon, low on the social food chain and easily pliable in situations that involve people pushing him to do thing… and many are aware of this. Keeping their plans hidden from him for his own good.
  215. >Anon Y. Mous, the young man who currently stares into the bathroom mirror, gritting his teeth as he disapproves of whom he stares at. The one he finally sees is the Anon that everyone else has seen: a naïve guy who needs to be taught that he has a place obligations in a High School’s social structure along with obligations that come with it
  216. >Anon Y. Mous is his name. The name that’s tied to the phone number and address that is now known to those who deceive others. This is who they want you to be, no matter how much you disagree. And who they want you to be will do what they want you to do.
  217. >They want you to fall. They want you to fall to them, and give into the pressure of Sunset. Her friends helped her, and together, they can’t fail, right?
  218. >You never even noticed your breathing getting louder, each breath the tick of a time bomb in it’s last few seconds of serenity. The rim, the limit, has been reached. And you’ve had enough. Speaking of enough, your fit in the car wasn’t.
  219. >There’s more.
  220. >So much more.
  221. >Clenching again, your fists rise into the air as you develop an undying hatred for Twilight and her friends. This is all their fault that things are this way. Just look at what they’ve turned you into. Look at what they’ve done to you.
  222. >You just want your life back… but do you want the act of being Anon to stay? If only you could trade the two.
  223. >A realization enters your mind. The realization that you may have just made the stupidest decision in your entire life. You KNOWINGLY allowed Twilight and Sunset to trace your address, giving them the go to come over to your house whenever they want. Why didn’t you at least make sure you were prepared first- no wait. Could you have even DONE SO?!
  224. >Does this even mean it’s your fault at this point? It can’t be; you just told yourself that it’s theirs! This can’t possibly be a blame that can be shared! There’s no way!
  225. >You played your part, having never asked for any of this. And now everything about this makes you want to scream… and… and… there’s just no restraint left.
  226. >It’s a good thing the house is empty. You hope the neighbors don’t mind.
  227. >The cry of rage echoes throughout the walls of your now discovered home, almost resembling a call to arms. The signal that the chips are down; they know where you live. And now it’s anybody’s game. Anybody’s call.
  228. >You let it end up this way, Anon. But at least it happened on your own terms.
  229. >What are they doing that you’re not? What makes them so special? Why are you even asking these questions? You don’t even want to think about these things!
  230. >And it all falls away.
  231. >In a mix of more outcries, things are thrown about in the bathroom. The walls are punched and kicked, unable to be penetrated due to your lack of physical strength. A huge ruckus is stirred up, stirred up even higher then the drama. But still not high enough to rise above it.
  232. >You would be crying, but the rain outside already does plenty of that for you. There is only pure rage and absolute resentment in here as you rampage through the house. You already feel extremely lightheaded, somehow hardly able to hear even your loudest screams. You’re almost dizzy, but still nowhere close to losing your balance.
  233. >During all of this, you never noticed yourself shattering three vases onto the floor. You never noticed yourself pry the silverware drawers out from their sockets in the kitchen, viciously heaving them halfway across the first floor. You never noticed the spine tingling shatter of the silverware pelting everything in the same direction. You never noticed yourself kicking and pushing the furniture over, not giving a care for what you might damage. You never noticed the countless obscenities that you howled at the top of your lungs during and after the rage took place. You never noticed the ten minutes of silence in between before your face went completely blank once again. You never noticed yourself spending about 45 minutes cleaning everything back up so your parents wouldn’t flip out on you. You never noticed yourself throwing out garbage bags full of unrepairable material.
  234. >There is one thing you did notice.
  235. >The one vase, with the now completely dead lilies, still sitting in the same place on your desk. Next to piles of homework that you’ve never finished. You notice it sitting there. You notice the dark closet in which you place it into, already having gotten too much energy out of you to break it. You notice how much that you want to break it more than anything else in your house, outside of your house in the trash bags, and in the entire world.
  236. >Swear on your life that you will never allow yourself to have feelings for Sunset Shimmer. If you ever do, then she wins. Twilight wins. Flash and Trixie win. And guess what? You’d lose… horribly.
  237. >Looking back, you used to imagine being in a relationship to be something to be cherished. But if this is how it’s going to be, then you’re going to steer clear of it all and not do the lightest thing to get even remotely close to it. You’re done.
  238. >Another text is finally received. How will you even be able to look her in the eyes once you get there?
  239. >You must not fall in love.
  240. >You must not fall.
  241. >Ever.
  242. >The rain only gets heavier as you drive down the road back in the direction to the school. Sunset’s latest message told you to meet Twilight at the school in about fifteen minutes. As you drive over, your mind is completely blank of all of the issues that you had previously needed to defend yourself from.
  243. >No wondering what anyone might be planning next. No second, third, fourth (and so on) guessing about what others have said to you in the past. No analysis of how you feel about something or someone.
  244. >Just you, your car and the road. And Twilight’s cell phone that you’re going to return to her after she misplaced it.
  245. >Her plans and schemes are meaningless to you. They no longer have a chance at becoming something that you care deeply about. You don’t care if Twilight believes that the single life isn’t something you deserve just because you rejected a close friend of hers. And as long as you don’t care, her subtle technique cannot forcefully ship you with Sunset, or anyone else for that matter.
  246. >You’re not a bad person if there’s nothing nearby for you to become bitter about. You’re just someone who hardly even interacts with his surroundings, not giving the slightest hint of care to things that likely won’t have any value in five years anyway.
  247. >Of course it’s not going to be important then; it’s high school drama. No one’s going to care later on in adult life.
  248. >But playing the game of deception in response to someone else doing it first only worsens the matter. If deception and lies are the things you want to go against, then go against it. Let them go full force with their “secret” advances and then catch them red-handed.
  249. >Twilight’s car is already parked in one of the spaces as you enter the parking lot. Looking into the window, you can barely notice that Twilight is alone this time.
  250. >At least she stayed loyal to her lie.
  251. >Honk your horn to get her attention, but you feel like she already knows that it’s you.
  252. >You wouldn’t be surprised if she was watching for you outside of that little GPS app too. She opens the door, but doesn’t step out yet, not wanting to get soaked by the pouring rain.
  253. >Pulling up next to her, you grab her phone and open your door as well. Her voice saying hi to your can barely be heard over the sound of the rain hitting the asphalt so hard. Your hand automatically becomes soaked with rain drops.
  254. >”It’s okay, Anon! I got it!” Twilight assures you as she suddenly steps out into the rain.
  255. >It should have been easy to guess this; Twilight eagerly and willingly steps out into the pouring rain to get her phone back. The reason why should be pretty obvious. She has received and recorded all of the information she needed to know exactly what your home address is.
  256. >And now she’s quickly taking her equipment back after a job well done. This rushed attitude might be fueled by some sense of victory.
  257. “Oh, uh, thanks.” You tell her as you hand her the phone.
  258. >She doesn’t snatch it out of your hand, but her own arm reaches out long before her phone is within reach of her. All it does is make you expect her tonight even more, and not in the good way.
  259. >”And one more thing.” Twilight brings up as she slips the phone into a supposedly unseen pocket.
  260. “Yeah?”
  261. >”I know that you love her back!” She playfully insists with a wink.
  262. >You’re at a loss for words as you watch Twilight hastily skip back to her car and get into the seat.
  263. “What?”
  264. >”You heard me!”
  265. >The door to her car shuts and she drives off in a matter of seconds, leaving you along with your own interpretation of what she just said. You can instantly see what kind of method she’s trying to use here; you can’t put your finger on it to describe it, but it makes perfect sense the more you think about it.
  266. >In her mind… it’s on.
  267. >In your mind… it’s over.
  268. >…
  269. >The cheap shot that Twilight took in that parking lot is the only thing you can think about during the entire ride home. Nothing else enters your mind, though nothing else was going to do so anyway due to your recent breakthrough.
  270. >The rain still isn’t letting up. It only grows heavier as the night draws closer.
  271. >As you get back you your house, you see something that immediately sends chills through your body.
  272. >The flashing red and blue lights are the first thing you see of this.
  273. >In your driveway, there is a police car parked next to your parents’ car. This is usually around the time they get home; you’re surprised they hadn’t seen you pulling out of they were home long enough to call the cops. There is a second police cruiser parked across the street with an officer waving you down.
  274. >A mortifying feeling enters you right away as you imagine all of the things that could have happened that relate to Sunset finding out your address. If it is connected, then that was a lot faster then you thought it would be.
  275. >You immediately regret letting those people get ahold of your address… why did you have to be so stupid? Why did you have to freak out like that, Anon? These students evidently are dangerous, since whatever they did made the police arrive at your house in a matter of minutes.
  276. >The cop formally greets you as you roll down the window before you explain to him that you live in the house in question. He tells you to turn off the motor and step out of the vehicle.
  277. >But alas, as you enter your house while being escorted by the police officer, you find your parents standing in the living room with worried looks. There are a couple more officers checking the doors and windows. As everything unfolds, your parents explain to you that some of the vases are missing and a couple of pieces of furniture have been moved, constituting for the signs of a break-in. They emphasize how glad they are that you only just got home just now.
  278. >…
  279. >Oh.
  280. >After a long talk with your parents, you find yourself wandering up to your bedroom. Everything that they said to you just seemed to go out the other ear, but there is one thing you remembered, since it gave you the most of a reassuring feeling.
  281. >Your parents are going to get out their old video cameras that they stopped using a while ago and are going to set them up around and outside of the house to monitor the place at night for every night from now on. The two seemed somewhat confused as to why whoever broke in didn’t take any of the jewelry, expensive electronics lying around or even the money that was on the kitchen table. 27 dollars.
  282. >They brush it off as a prank that they are going to be extra cautious about anyway. With that, they allow you go go upstairs after the police are done checking the premises. You lie on your bed a mere half an hour later.
  283. >For the rest of the night, things are rather awkward, mostly because you know what actually happened in the house opposed to what your parents think might have happened. But you do not utter a single word.
  284. >At least you can comfortable fall asleep tonight now that you know that you don’t need your own eyes to catch anything suspicious happen. Maybe you’ll give the camera footage a look after school tomorrow and see whether or not you have your final torment-ending answer. But for now, you must get some sleep to be well rested for the final exams in two of your classes tomorrow.
  285. >…
  286. ~
  287. >Once again, you didn’t dream anything. But that doesn’t matter; take your mind off of your personal thoughts and get ready to catch the bus.
  288. >You go through your morning routine: showering, shaving your head and face, brushing your teeth after eating breakfast and everything else. You’re out the door in less than 30 minutes and make it to the bus stop right before the bus pulls up. You’d rather not drive today.
  289. >And approximately 20 uneventful minutes later, the bus arrives at the school. You step off and walk up to the front doors, noticing how quiet your surroundings thankfully are. The main hall is just as quiet, if not more due to the absence of the wind from outside.
  290. >So far, so good.
  291. >You make it to the stairs, up the stairs, over to the door to your homeroom classroom and then stop.
  292. >It’s Flash Sentry, and he’s standing right on front of the door that you intend to walk through. You can already tell that there’s something he wants to address you about. As you walk up to him, he perks up and develops a more alert look on his face.
  293. >”Anon, dude. Can you explain something for me?”
  294. “Uh… yeah?” You passively respond, already wanting to blow this entire conversation off.
  295. >”It’s, uh…”
  296. “It’s what?”
  297. >”Why did you lie to all of us last week, dude?”
  298. “Lie about what?”
  299. >”You know what I mean. Remember? When you made us all think that Rarity ask you our and that you had rejected her? And then you proved to Twilight and I that it was all a ruse on the bus?”
  300. >…
  301. >So it finally comes up, hasn’t it?
  302. “Yeah… what about it?”
  303. >”Why’d you lie, man?”
  304. “The whole thing was Twilight’s idea! Didn’t she tell you that?”
  305. >Flash sighs very quietly and glances up at the ceiling. You can feel the stares of the passing by students without even having to look in their direction.
  306. >”She did. But that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t let me in on it. You know… not keeping the secret from me and the guys, at least?” Flash tells you. “I mean… was me not knowing about it part of your plan?”
  307. “Of course! I didn’t want anyone else thinking that I rejected Sunset in favor of going out with someone like Rarity. Nobody except Sunset, Twilight and their friends were supposed to find out the truth behind what I told Rarity.”
  308. >You wait for another couple of students to pass by before you continue.
  309. “And I had to blow everything out in the open because it was making people freak out about the whole “Heartbreaker” thing. Namely you, Twilight and Trixie.”
  310. >”Well, congratulations. Everybody knows the truth about you not actually rejecting Rarity. And from what I’ve heard, their still talking about you behind your back, so it looks like it didn’t work.”
  311. “And what makes you so sure about that?”
  312. >”I heard them. There’s a lot of guys AND girls who have a bone to pick with you.” Flash reveals. “With that said, what’s the next step in your undoing of all the wrongs that you’ve caused?”
  313. >You cannot believe your ears.
  314. “The wrongs that I’ve caused? Are you being serious?”
  315. >”Yes, Anon. You know the one thing you could have done that would have prevented all of this from happening.”
  316. “Are you seriously trying to blame all of this on me? As though the only way to turn this around is to ask out Sunset?”
  317. >You can easily see Flash being in on this. He’s been rather pushy about you rejecting Sunset since day one, and had just been subtle about it for a while. To an extent, you feel mortified. Because that now people will be able to know your address, the other kids might go in for the kill. Not once before had you imagined Flash and his friends coming to your house.
  318. >Maybe they already have.
  319. >”Look, I’m not saying that all of this is your fault. But whether it is or not, you’ve got quite a mess on your hands, Anon.”
  320. “No I don’t! And don’t call me that!”
  321. >After those words came out of your mouth, you have no idea what possessed you to say the second part. Flash gives you a brief look of confusion before continuing.
  322. >”Well people are still ‘freaking out’, as you call it. So if you want them to stop doing that, and you’re pretty much out of ideas to the point where you spill out secrets that held your original plan… what are you going to do next, Anon? Huh? What’s the next step?”
  323. >Just let the words spill out.
  324. “Ending this drama. With no regrets. Goodbye.”
  325. >You walk off.
  326. >A few laps around the school hallways shouldn’t hurt. As long as it’s long enough to wait until Flash hopefully goes somewhere else, you’re fine with taking a short stroll. After about five minutes of wandering the upper halls, you migrate downstairs towards the gym and cafeteria. Surprisingly, there aren’t even as many students down here.
  327. >And of course, the first thing you think about is how much more isolated you are than how you were before. But you don’t think to do anything about it until you’re halfway through the long hallway, so you decide that you might as well finish your stride to the other end and go through the doors to the upper hallways on the other side of the building, just in case anyone might have been following you. You’ll most likely be able to lose someone this way.
  328. >Try the door to open it; it’s locked. You stare at the handle in disbelief, remembering how the last door to this hallway was unlocked. How else would you even be down here to begin with?
  329. >With no other option but to go back, you spin around and start walking towards the other door, now a little bit on edge about the possibility of someone watching you.
  330. >But you do make it to the door, and head on back up the stairs. It’s surprising that nothing actually happened on the lower floor…
  331. >You re-enter the main hallway, expecting everything to be just fine. But as you step through the doors, you notice Rarity standing right in front of you. She has her hands locked together in front of her, looking almost bashful, but also to an extent internally devious.
  332. >Down on the far side of the main hallway, you spot Twilight exit the other doors to the lower floor, holding what you automatically assume to be a ring of keys in her hand.
  333. >Just fill in the blank yourself.
  334. >”Oh Anon, Darling! Thank you for saving my reputation! Words cannot express how much this means to me!” Chimes Rarity.
  335. >She steps towards you and reaches her arms out while the other students start to smile and giggle.
  336. >Oh, no…
  337. >You just now noticed that Rarity has what appears to be bright purple lipstick on. As she leans towards you, you notice her pucker her lips. In the light of a quick instinct, you raise your arm up just in time for her lips to swipe against the area right below your wrist.
  338. >Let out a playful little laugh to at least incorporate some kind of politeness. You pull away from the girl, who is still leaning towards you, having yet to complete her mission. Dive down a little bit and weave your way around her as she continues to face in your direction.
  339. >Yup, she’s definitely tying something.
  340. >It’s uncertain how you’re able to do so, but you weasel your way around her and escape with footsteps behind you in hot pursuit. This entire moment came completely from left field, catching you off guard. How did all of this happen so fast, let alone allow Twilight to plan something and make it work?
  341. >As you retreat down the hall, you think of the only place in the school where Rarity cannot follow you; the boy’s bathroom. You just hope you can wait in there until right before homeroom starts, then the tests that all of the students have to take will make this day go a lot more slow-paced for you. All you have to do is last.
  342. >The next thing you know, you’re in the bathroom in front of one of the sinks. There’s nobody else in the room, and it sounds like Rarity and a couple of other girls are waiting for you outside of the entrance.
  343. >Your brain is still comprehending everything that’s suddenly happened at the moment as the group of girls talk.
  344. >”Are you sure he went in there?” A voice that sounds like Twilight’s asks.
  345. >”I’m positive. I just saw him go around the corner.” Rarity answers. “But I cannot afford to get caught snooping around in the boys bathroom again.”
  346. >Stay as silent as you possibly can as you envision them at least poking their head around the corners of the wall to see where you are.
  347. >You could try to book it into one of the empty stalls for cover. You consider different ways to run without making any sounds with your feet, but that doesn’t seem possible with these tile floors. Maybe tip-toeing would be better, but you better do it quickly.
  348. >Stride across the bathroom as light-footedly as you can, even though they already know that you’re in here. You have no idea why you’re doing this, perhaps it’s you still reacting to things getting out of hand so suddenly.
  349. >”Come on, let’s go over to homeroom.” Insists Rarity.
  350. >”But, what abou-”
  351. >”It’s okay, darling. Just let him stay in there. It’s not worth our time.”
  352. >It’s not worth their time.
  353. >That might have been the most redundant statement you’ve heard in your entire life.
  354. >”Come on, girls! Trixie, you too!” Rarity’s voice orders, revealing that a previously unnoticed Trixie was present.
  355. >This only makes you feel a lot more uncomfortable. Before, it was pretty much you, Twilight and her friends against Flash and Trixie. But the ugly truth has now revealed itself to you, portraying literally all of the people Twilight knows, including Trixie and Flash, pitted against you. And you’re virtually alone in this.
  356. >Where on earth is Norman right now anyway?
  357. >After the footsteps outside fade away, you go back over to the sinks and look at your forearm. The purple lipstick from Rarity still remains blotched onto your skin. Annoyed, you run it under some warm water and rub the part of your arm with a good deal of pressure.
  358. >To your surprise, the lipstick does not come off.
  359. >You turn the water harder, and rub the skin a lot more aggressively.
  360. >It still does not come off, not even slightly becoming obscured or smudged.
  361. >What kind of lipstick is this?
  362. >Hold your forearm up to your face to get a better look at it. The material looks as though it’s infused into your skin cells themselves.
  363. >The worst thing to think about is the fact that Rarity was probably going to kiss you on the cheek… or worse.
  364. >Today has certainly been very different than the other days. Less then a minute after the moment you walked into the school these people were already out to get you in full force. You didn’t even have any time to prepare this time. It’s pretty much their last chance to get you at this point.
  365. >Minutes continue to go by as you furiously rub the skin on your arm to get the purple lipstick off. You can only imagine how horrible it would have been to try to get this off of your face. How on earth is Rarity even going to get this stuff off of her lips anyway? Is she really going THIS far to put some sort of permanent mark or symbol on you that signifies you being with a girl?
  366. >The very thought of this sickens you.
  367. >Eventually, you have to leave the bathroom in order to make it to homeroom in time. You know that the other students would have to get to their classrooms as well, so they should be pretty much be occupied with worrying about their own attendance. Today’s the first of the two exam days.
  368. >And thankfully, everything feels like it’s going a lot more fast-paced than last week. All it means is that your summer is becoming closer than just right around the corner; it’s practically here.
  369. >All you have to go through is this one last home stretch.
  370. >Like a bullet, you race over to your homeroom and sit in your seat. Immediately mostly hiding your face, you look around for any sign of Trixie. It feels as though this has become somewhat of a routine now. But she is nowhere to be seen, absent of the day of the first two final exams.
  371. >The rest of the day is pretty much the two tests and a quick run-through of periods 1 through 4. You’re not sure why things have been arranged this way, but you don’t care as long as the schedule works in your benefit.
  372. >You can already tell that nothing will happen during the exams. Just wait for them to breeze by, aside all of the critical thinking you’ll have to do on the tests themselves.
  373. >…
  374. >The tests are over in a couple of hours. The first one you take is your Language Arts test, based around one of those subjects that you simply breeze through by simply knowing how to speak and write correctly and creatively. You only wish that the next test was like this.
  375. >Math has always been that one undesirable subject that would usually drive you away from even wanting to look at your homework. And this doesn’t exactly help your performance on the test.
  376. >But it still is bound to be over in approximately 55 minutes. You’re just glad that it’s multiple choice questions.
  377. >Finally, the tests are over and you leave the room to stop by the first four classes in a scrunched manner. Through the halls you meander bravely, looking over your shoulder constantly and taking second glances around every corner. The bell rings right after you enter your first period class.
  378. >It lasts 20 minutes. Literally 20 minutes.
  379. >This was always the best part about the final days of the school year. You get to go into the classrooms with your peers as though it’s going to be a regular part of the school day. Pretty much every other day aside this one, you would dread sitting in the class while the teacher drones on and on about the notes and readings.
  380. >2nd period.
  381. >You’d remember having to wait for the hands on the clock to reach the end of the class period, which they eventually do after having time itself slow down as much as it can for them.
  382. >3rd period already!
  383. >You compare the past days to the one now where there are no discussions that you have to participate in or remember what you wrote down in your notes. These tiny 20 minute periods are a mere mockery of the school days that once were. You get to watch them fly by without needing to take a pencil out even once; it’s as though being in school has easy mode turned on.
  384. >4th period.
  385. >The best part of this is… literally nothing is happening.
  386. >And it’s over.
  387. >The bell rings and you’re out of the building in a heartbeat.
  388. >Shortest school day ever.
  389. >That’s the only thought that inhabits your mind as you step onto the bus early, not having needed to go to your locker or anything. Most other students are still socializing and signing yearbooks, being watched by you as you sit in the furthest back seat of your bus.
  390. >You’re already prepared for whoever might come onto the bus. It’s empty now, but students begin to fill it up one by one.
  391. >Being in school really has taken it’s toll on you, especially during the past week or so. You absolutely cannot wait until this all is finally over and you can get out of this place, hopefully finding a way to get over to Brothens. That’s what will be determined tomorrow during a 20 minute lunch period.
  392. >It’s about time all of this torment ended.
  393. >A few more minutes pass… and nothing happens. Nobody significant steps onto the bus, and the motors of the other buses start up one by one, soon followed by the motor of the bus that you’re on.
  394. >The drivers are getting more eager to leave with each passing day of their career.
  395. >However, you spot a group of familiar faces out of the corner of your eye as you watch the front of the school grounds. It’s Twilight and Flash, along with a couple of Flash’s friends. They’re all heading towards your bus.
  396. >Not even checking to see if they’re looking for you, you duck down to take away any chance they may have to see you peeking out the window. You can barely hear them outside, talking almost over one another as though they themselves are in an argument.
  397. >And this hurricane of an argument is certain to be intended to spread over to you and pull you into it.
  398. >The sounds of shoes climbing up the bus steps can be heard as the arguing grows louder. This time, you can make out what they’re saying.
  399. >”How do you know he’s going to be on the bus?! He obviously knows we’d look for him there!” One of Flash’s friends nitpicks.
  400. >”Never leave a stone unturned. He could be anywhere.” Twilight’s voice calmly answers before being directed towards the bus driver. “Is Anon here?”
  401. >There is a short pause before a couple of sets of footsteps start traveling towards where you’re still crouched down low behind the seat. You can hear them getting closer and closer before the bus driver answers Twilight.
  402. >”He’s not here, miss. Sorry.” You hear the bus driver’s voice reply.
  403. >”I don’t see him.” A much closer voice belonging to Flash Sentry informs Twilight. “I was right, he’s not here.”
  404. >”Are you kids going to ride or not? Because everyone’s pulling out right now.” Pressures the bus driver in a strict tone. “Decide now, you on or off?”
  405. >The pitter patter of everyone’s footsteps exiting the bus is music to your ears. They all step off of the vehicle as the huge weight of their presence is lifted from your shoulders. You can hear the kids continue to speak to eachother after they all get off and the door closes.
  406. >”Sorry to bother you Mr. Bus Driver!” Flash can barely be heard saying as the roars of the other buses taking off sounds in the distance.
  407. >The bus that you’re on eventually pulls off as well. The vehicle softly lurches forward and heads down to the edge of the school’s parking lot. Never before had you felt so close to something like a ninja, even though most of this had to do with the bus driver refraining from giving away your position.
  408. >”Hey buddy. You alright?” The bus driver suddenly calls back to you as the bus stops moving as it reaches the intersection.
  409. >Happily poke your head out from behind the seat, finally realizing exactly how quickly this day went by.
  410. “I’m fine.”
  411. >”Those guys givin’ you a hard time?”
  412. >For some reason, hearing this question forces your heart to flutter more than you’d like to admit. Somebody is actually… acknowledging the struggle that you’re going through and is asking you about it.
  413. >Deep inside, you really do want to break down, but your restraint prevents you.
  414. >Just coolly answer him instead.
  415. “Mister, you don’t even know the half of it.” You tell him, abandoning any notion you had to attempt to sound like on of the cool kids when you talk.
  416. >”You want me to report them or something? I might not be able to do much since it’s the end of the year and everything, but I can still get them to have a little talk with the principal.”
  417. “I. uh…” You start off.
  418. >Just at this moment, the bus takes off again. The wheels roll further and further away from the school, sending you closer to your has-been sanctuary that is your house. It really is a shame that you had to lose your composure yesterday and willingly allow your address to be revealed to… them.
  419. >You’re just going to call them “them” from now on. There’s nothing else you want to use to describe that pack of overreactive teenagers at this point. If anything, Twilight’s reached the point where she’s a borderline sociopath, and maybe Sunset as well.
  420. “Yeah, could you go and do that, please?”
  421. >The bus driver gives you a nod before devoting his attention back to the road. The gesture of assurance sends you falling back into the leather seat behind you, but it does not rid you of your regrets regarding yesterday. These people still know where you live.
  422. >Why did you have to screw up like that? All you had to do was go to the store or something, give Twilight her phone back afterwards, and they would have never been able to find you outside of school. Now, they probably won’t even care of you’re nowhere to be found on the school grounds, since they can just pay your house a visit.
  423. >With that said, it’s partially your fault that you still have to feel like a trapped rat.
  424. >You pull out your phone once more and open up Twilight’s number. As the rest of the bus ride ensues, you think up a long message to type to her to show her that you are anything but afraid.
  425. >Begin typing whenever the bus is still enough for you to hold steady.
  426. [Twilight, listen. I know exactly what you’re trying to do, and I’ve known it for a long time. Before yesterday, I’ll admit that I was really angry about how badly you were trying to get me to change my ways and ask out Sunset. And please do not try to damage control your way out of this again, as I could tell pretty much all along what you were trying to do. And I just wanted to let you know that it’s not going to work, okay? Like I said, I was mad before, but at this point, I just don’t care anymore. I am not going to waste my time running away from you just because you want to force me to change. I am not going to allow myself to be afraid of being changed by a bunch of teenagers in high school just because they do not agree with one thing I did. You and your friends are going way too far with this, and I won't tolerate it. So, I am officially saying that I am done with dealing with you and your drama. You are a sociopath, Trixie is a narcissist, Flash is an idiot, Sunset is delusional, and everyone else who’s helping you do this is also in the wrong. Stop trying to make it happen already; it’s not going to happen. I know for a fact that you had something to do with the thing with Rarity this morning. But it’s not going to work. You can’t tell me what to do, got it? I’m done with you.]
  427. >You divide the message into tiny sections and send them to Twilight one by one. As you do this, you do not even hesitate a little bit.
  428. >It takes about 30 seconds to get all of the messages over to Twilight, which probably means that she’s reading them right now. You also notice the purple smudge on your arm as you send everything.
  429. >It still hasn’t gone away. Not even slightly.
  430. >The bus eventually drops you off at your stop. A message from Twilight comes in at this very second.
  431. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  432. >More like crazy.
  433. >You go home and retreat to your room immediately. The last few days race around your head as you try your best to come up with a plan that will work. You know that you’re going to see Sonata tomorrow, and you know that if she can’t do anything to help you get onto that plane, there’s no way.
  434. >The last thing you want to do is stay in this town, especially since your address is known to those who just won’t leave you alone. You’re still becoming increasingly upset about giving your address away. It’s surprising that nobody has come over yet.
  435. >Well, there’s no incident that you know of.
  436. >Where has Norman been in the midst of all this? You don’t remember seeing him in that group of people who were walking towards the bus before you ducked down so quickly. But you didn’t get a long enough glance to be entirely certain.
  437. >Oddly enough, he doesn’t respond when you send him a text. Your message goes unseen as the minutes of it being sent goes on.
  438. [Hey Norman, it’s me. Did you find a way to get onto that plane yet? I didn’t get a chance to talk to Sonata about it yet, but I’m seeing her tomorrow.]
  439. >As you wait for him to say anything back, you get into the shower and try everything you can to get the purple lipstick off of your arm. You literally end up having to mix together your soap and shampoo and scrub the spot as hard as you can with a luffa in order to make progress of any kind.
  440. >This lipstick is beginning to seem less like lipstick and more like industrial paint. You cannot even begin to imagine how Rarity’s able to get it off of her after every time she puts it on.
  441. >But to your relief, it actually does completely come off with a little bit of effort.
  442. >After stepping out of the shower, you find a new message on your phone. It’s from Norman.
  443. >Get yourself dried off and dressed, looking at the now blank area on your arm in relief. You then pick up the phone and get ready to respond.
  444. >[Oh hey dude. I wasn’t able to get ahold of Sonata or her two friends yet either. Listen I’m not entirely sure if you’re as willing to do the whole boat thing as I am… but if it comes to that and you don’t want to do it, can you at least help me get to Brothens? You won’t have to do it but I still kinda really want to go there lol]
  445. >You blankly stare at his message, unable to think of a good response at first. But you manage to whip something up really quickly.
  446. [Eh, it’s not like I don’t want to go to Brothens, that place must be really nice based on what I heard.]
  447. >[Dude I’ve been there before. It’s so perfect there. If you’ve ever been there before, you can understand why I want to go there so badly.]
  448. >Honestly, you probably want to go to Brothens the most. A place in the world that is so far away from everything here is the ideal destination. A less and less possible one, but ideal. What pains you the most is how you’ve been falling apart the longer you’ve stayed in this town.
  449. >Type back.
  450. [I still want to go there too, Norman. Let’s try to find Sonata before lunch tomorrow, just in case. She’s gotta get us something.]
  451. >It’s horrible that nothing’s happened between you and the Dazzlings for a long while now. When even was the last time you’ve talked with them? Everything else has been getting in the way so much, you’ve been practically blocked from-
  452. >Forget it, you’ve been over this already. You already know what you want.
  453. >[Got it. Man, we’ve really been dragging our feet with this. We gotta get moving if we wanna get to Brothens, man.]
  454. >You furrow your brow at the statement that points out the huge mistake you’ve made of focusing on the wrong things for too long.
  455. [Tell me about it. Let’s get to Brothens or die trying. Aright?]
  456. >[You got it, man. Sorry if anything drastic happened with those girls today. Flash is starting to figure out that I might be helping you and he’s not saying much around me anymore.]
  457. >A sick feeling invades you while discovering this. Norman’s been giving it his best, but that apparently won’t matter anymore if he’s found out. Your time to get out of this place is running out.
  458. >But whatever, you’ve already had your revelations no matter what.
  459. [Don’t worry about it. If you can’t get anything out of them, it’s fine. I’m kinda done with those people anyway.]
  460. >There is a short pause before his next message comes in.
  461. >[What happened this time?]
  462. [Rarity tried to kiss me on the lips or something with some kind of permanent lipstick. She and Twilight waited for me to pace down to the lower halls so they could lock the doors on one end and flush me out of the other end where she was waiting to literally ambush me.] You explain before sending a summarizing message. [Long story short, everything’s out in the open now, and they’re going all out. They even know where I live now.]
  463. >Just now, you remember to look over your shoulder.
  464. >And of course, there’s nothing there.
  465. >[Oh shoot dude really?]
  466. [Yeah, but it’s all good. My parents set up security cameras and whatnot. If any of them make it onto my property, they will be seen and confronted. And if they have malicious intent, the authorities will be contacted and the suspects will be apprehended by officers of the law.]
  467. >You suddenly feel as though you’re talking like an announcer on a cops-based TV show due to the vocabulary you’re using. It’s really reassuring to yourself that you’re safe if you word things like this somehow; you’re not sure why.
  468. >But it makes you feel better, so you’ll take what you can get. You still wish that you could have re-worded that message so it didn’t seem so weird to Norman.
  469. >[Um… okay bro.] Norman responds, obviously questioning the nature of your message.
  470. >Whatever, it’s not really much of a loss in you get right down to it. Just stay chill from now on… like how you have to do with everything.
  471. >[Anyway, I’m kinda in the middle of something, I’ll talk to you later. Nice talking, bro.]
  472. [Yeah, I’ll see you later.]
  473. >There’s no doubt that Norman had set his phone down after the conversation ended.
  474. >You didn’t.
  475. >Going back to the other conversations that you’ve had with everyone else, you begin to read through the messages. Rainbow Dash, Sunset, Twilight and Fluttershy. Something inside of you screams for you to block all of their numbers, something that feels hurt. Your judgement is going wild.
  476. >But that would be equivalent to swatting a wasps nest with a baseball bat, fueling the vicious cycle of agitation. There’s no need anyway. If they try to harass you through texts, just look away and pretend that you never saw it. Don’t humor them.
  477. >But they don’t have to type anything new for one little message to affect you. You scroll back to Twilight’s latest message.
  478. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  479. >…
  480. >Oh wow, that message is absolutely haunting. It’s so absurdly disturbing in a way where it is the universal answer to anything else you might say to her. A notion regarding Twilight’s determination that stands no matter what.
  481. >Illustrating all of the mental issues that you want to be sure that she has. Otherwise… if she’s actually all well and justified, then that might say something about your side of the story. And you don’t want to go there again.
  482. >But still… the way she worded that: “One day, one of my girls is going to get you.”
  483. >Everything about that statement rustles you more than you’d dare to admit to anyone. It’s how it ties to everything she’s done before, you just know it. Not just the plans that reside in her head, but the fact that she actually WENT THROUGH with her urges and carried out the plans.
  484. >That’s the part that scares you the most as you read that message.
  485. >And she knows where you live.
  486. >Read the message over and over again on occasion. As you repeat it to yourself in your head, you imagine how much less of a problem you would have if she didn’t have your home address. The girl that said… THAT to you in a text message would not be able to come to your house during the night.
  487. >This is the time when you’ve realized what you’ve gotten yourself into, and you need to make sure that you’re prepared.
  488. >…
  489. >The day finally fades away to a dark sky and you get ready to begin browsing the internet. After checking the footage on the cameras, you turn up with nothing, allowing you a single sigh of relief for today… but not for tonight.
  490. >You really want to consider making another Facebook account to try and find Sonata on the internet ahead of time through there. You could still even message her even if you’re not friends. You could get answers that way.
  491. >And then you can find a way to get a ticket to Brothens, and then you and the Dazzlings can work something out.
  492. >Finally, you’ll be able to make it to Brothens and be far far away from this friendship-crazed sociopath, her lovestruck friend and their posse of girls who also happen to all be in a band together. You’ll have quite a distance from Flash and Trixie as well.
  493. >That’s all you have to do before lunch tomorrow, right? It’s practically your last chance.
  494. >After you finish browsing the web, you finally call it a night and go to bed early enough to wake up early tomorrow. As you rest your head onto the soft pillow, the message from Twilight rings in your brain. You can almost hear her saying it in her voice.
  495. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  496. >No… just… just no.
  497. >This girl seriously needs to see a psychiatrist or something.
  498. >Minutes go by as you drift off to sleep… with the cameras around the house in mind. Everything goes quiet outside aside the gentle night breeze.
  499. >Just last until tomorrow; make it to the home stretch.
  500. >…
  501. >A few hours of sleep are desperately captured throughout the night. Lying on your stomach has seemed to be the better idea. You’re not sure at what relative speed this happens, but hour after hour passes and you eventually feel as though you’re completely dreaming.
  502. >Occasionally, you check to see if it is morning yet, as you’re fine with getting up right away and making sure you’re on your toes as often as possible.
  503. >But there’s this one moment when you open your eyes, and through the blurriness, you could swear you see someone standing there at the foot of your bed. But it turns out to be the shadow from your open closet door, which has always been that way.
  504. >Too tired to even open your eyes a little bit more, you ignore it, not letting your brain get the best of you again. Allowing your thoughts to bully you is what Twilight would have wanted; just get ahold of yourself.
  505. >…
  506. >It’s finally light enough outside to pull yourself out of bed and get into the shower.
  507. >You get yourself ready as you try to think about where in the school the Dazzlings will be. It might be a better idea to find Norman first, since you can text him to help you look for the three girls before homeroom starts. Wherever Sonata will be, Adagio and Aria will likely be as well.
  508. >The bus ride goes pretty much like any other, and you text Norman as soon as you feel the bus stop shaking around too much to type.
  509. [There’s enough time before homeroom to find the dazzlings. If the other two are there with Sonata, we should probably get her to agree right away so she could try to convince them. It’s a long shot, I know, but it’s the best idea I’ve got.]
  510. >A tex from Norman comes in as you step off of the bus. You get ready to answer, but you already faintly see him standing in the main hallway in the school.
  511. >[Alright. Where are you, dude? I’m in the school right now.] His message reads as you hurry up to him.
  512. >Norman is facing the other way as you approach him. You call out to him and he turns around with a lost expression on his face.
  513. >”Oh good, there you are.” Greets Norman.
  514. “Have you seen any of them yet?”
  515. >”No, man. I remember that they usually come to the school early for some reason, but they’re not here this time.”
  516. >Your legs halt in their tracks at the same time you feel your heart skip a couple of beats. This is the last thing you wanted to hear.
  517. >”I’ve tried looking for them and even asked around for them, but nobody knows if they’re even here today.”
  518. “What? Who?”
  519. >”Some of the other girls. I haven’s seen any of the other band kids yet either.” Norman points out.
  520. >In a hasty fashion, you look around for any of the kids at school you remember seeing at the table where the band sat. There doesn’t seem to be anyone whom you recognize from the table, and this worries you more as each second without answers goes by.
  521. >”But I did see Flash and the rest of the gang walking around together.”
  522. “You… you did?”
  523. >”Yeah, they just went up the stairs on the left side a couple of minutes ago. I’d suggest that you go that way now, since they’ve probably made it to the other side of the school already. Flash actually told me to tell him once you entered the school, so you better hurry before he sees me talking to you.”
  524. “Oh, right. Just let me know if you see Sonata or something.”
  525. >”Will do, bro.” Norman assures you as you disappear into the crowd to sneak up the stairs.
  526. >It takes you less than a minute to bolt up the stairs and make your way over to your homeroom classroom as close to undetected as you can. There’s no sign of Flash or the others, but you do receive a variety of stares from the other students.
  527. >Luckily enough, the door has just been unlocked and you find yourself in your seat before the teacher even has a chance to sit down.
  528. >Take your phone out and send Norman a text to keep an eye out for anyone, friends or foes. He responds with a “K” as you sink down into your chair. Homeroom is going to start in a few minutes.
  529. >The students slowly begin to fill in the room. After about 15 classmates or so, you notice Trixie enter the classroom among the last of the students. She notices you immediately, almost stopping in her tracks as she sees you.
  530. >Hold nothing back, giving her somewhat of a territorial scowl to fend her off. But she goes over to her seat and calmly sets her backpack down, as though there’s something in there that poses as a reason for her to be so content. This puts you on your highest alert, knowing how clever she can get sometimes.
  531. >The bell rings, and the very short homeroom session begins. Trixie seems eerily calm this entire time, actually eyeing her backpack every once in a while. You turn on your chair to face the door, ready to leave as quickly as possible to avoid whatever she has prepared for you.
  532. >The clock is watched closely, only heightening your anticipation. But finally, the bell rings a second time after roll-call and you are sure to disappear out the door.
  533. >You really did expect some of the other kids to be out there in the hall waiting for you like how it was last time. But they aren’t… it’s just a bunch of random students minding their own business and heading towards the classrooms of their first test.
  534. >Maybe it’s the exams that are distracting everybody right now; you wouldn’t really be surprised.
  535. >You enter the classroom where you will take your first exam for today. This one is science, and the next one is history.
  536. >These two tests go a lot more smoothly for you, mostly because you liked these subjects a little bit more than the others over the course of the school year. The exam time goes by exactly how the last two went yesterday, eventually ending so periods 5-8 can begin.
  537. >Start searching where the tacos are usually served.
  538. >To be honest, you’re probably here even earlier than the time Sonata would arrive in order to get the lunch that she’d normally want. There are literally no lines as you walk up, but you soon see the reason why.
  539. >The class periods are only 20 minutes long, and the cafeteria is not serving food today since it’s the end of the school year anyway. In an instant, you rush out to the seats as you realize that you’re running out of time to catch Sonata somewhere.
  540. >Scout around the cafeteria, making sure to know if Flash and his crew have gotten here yet. You’re ready to do all of the dodging necessary, but you stay near the band kids’ table anyway.
  541. >But no one arrives.
  542. >This worries you more and more. It’s starting to become a stronger possibility that none of the band kids are at school today. And with this in mind, you just might have completely failed to escape this town of evidently insane people. You can already picture yourself getting hunted down by Twilight and her friends all summer long.
  543. >The thought itself makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up.
  544. >Sit at the band kids’ table, watching more and more students enter the cafeteria.
  545. >Having no idea what to expect.
  546. >Everyone looks so relieved to have finally finished their exams; they have nothing else in the way to eat up their time. Which means… they all can focus on whatever they want now.
  547. >Of course, you hear the inevitable “Heartbreaker!” calls from numerous students who let their energy spill out from the the end of year spirit. Surviving some of these people is going to be an absolute nightmare. You are already considering camping out in the principal’s office when you finally notice Norman run into the cafeteria. But he doesn’t look anywhere near as friendly this time.
  548. >Instead, he points right at you, looks back down the hall outside and shouts to someone.
  549. >”There he is! I found him!”
  550. >You barely feel your phone vibrate as you stand up to see Flash enter the room.
  551. >Like a gazelle being spotted by a pack of lions, you shoot out of your row and dash in the direction of the emergency exit without thinking twice. The door in in the far corner of the room, behind a bunch of tables that serve as obstacles. But you’re too worked up to even slightly care.
  552. >Start climbing over the tables like the magnificent madman that you are, barely seeing the group of guys heading straight for you out of the corner of your eye. You have no idea who just texted you, but there’s no way it could have been Norman this time. Both of his hands were free before you felt your phone vibrate.
  553. >Feeling betrayed is something to be saved until a time when you’re less in shock and not being chased, outnumbered at least 5 to 1. But regardless, this is where everything falls apart.
  554. >Why didn’t you just ditch school after the last exam? Why did you have to stay determined to make it onto that plane to Brothens? Norman really was the one who convinced you to stay and talk to Sonata.
  555. >It was all part of the plan, wasn’t it? Now there’s no tests to worry about, and the jocks of the school are on a manhunt for you.
  556. >Surprisingly enough, you make it to the door with some retained distance between you and the group of guys. But they are gaining ground and cornering you fast. Burst through the door with every ounce of strength you have, momentarily triggering the school’s fire alarm. The sharp whines blare into the school halls, signifying the order that the school once had to be obliterated until further notice. Everyone perks up and begins to scramble in excitement, swarming around Flash and his buddies who were still making their ways through the rows of tables.
  557. >They would have surely caught up to you if the fire alarm hadn’t gone off; you’re not a very fast runner.
  558. >You sprint away from the building as fast as you are able to, praying that it will take them some time to make it out. The closest place that actually has somewhere to hide is the stadium. But of course, it’s still on school grounds, and Flash n’ co might be willing to look through every nook and cranny there. A lot further away is the woods, but to where they go, you don’t have a clue. The distance between you and its edge is way too far for you to get there without being seen out in the open soccer fields first.
  559. >Still, you could make it to the stadium without being seen if you do it quickly enough. But wherever you hide is where you have to stay put and not make a sound, hoping the crew doesn’t come looking for you. Or… you could make the long sprint in the direction of the woods, but Flash and the others will obviously be able to spot and pursue you long before you make the distance. Whether or not they will keep following you is the real question here; they did already complete their exams and do seem like the school-skipping type.
  560. >And you’re already out of breath; why can’t you be in better shape?
  561. >The boys will exit the school soon once they get past the crowds, but they will book it after you if they see you, some of them being fast runners.
  562. >But as it turns out, you don’t care anyway. In a split decision, you bolt in the direction of the trees at the same time as the majority of the students leaving the school. A quick glance over your shoulder reveals Flash and three other guys regrouping outside of the crowd.
  563. >You’re already out in the open, so there’s no doubt that they have definitely spotted you at this point. It takes them only a few seconds to notice you across the parking lot and begin pointing out your position to eachother.
  564. >Almost trip several times as you make it up a big hill and finally onto the soccer field. The woods are still painfully far away from you, requiring you to run for at least another full minute non-stop. The problem with this is, they’re already coming towards you, and you’re pretty much out of breath to the point where you’re about to collapse.
  565. >Fear of capture forces your body forward as you trudge up another smaller slope on the edge of the soccer field and make your way past the goal. The stretch across the soccer field is a long one, requiring you to have to run the entire length. Your speed decreases slightly with each step, and you start to lean forward from the weight of your exhaustion. It only gets worse as you look back to the group of guys quickly gaining on you; they’ll be within arm’s reach of you in less than 30 seconds, you’re sure if it.
  566. >Why did the landscapers have to make this field so freakishly huge? What is the point of all this space?
  567. >Now stumbling a little, you reach the halfway point of the field just as Flash and his friends make their way past the goal and continue sprinting. Your body wants you to fall to your knees so badly. You’ve had enough of this running. In the distance, the fire alarms blare from within the school.
  568. >Not only this, but as you look ahead, you spot a tall chain link fence just before the trees.
  569. >You’ve only noticed it now because it was too far away to make out before. It looks as though it’s to wall in the school grounds from the outside, so you probably shouldn’t count on there being a way around it.
  570. >The signs on the fence say ‘do not cross’, but they might as well say ‘give up’.
  571. >Slowly turn around to face the group of guys that are now approaching you in the field. They spread out a little bit so you can’t run past them, but you see Flash reach his hand out towards you.
  572. >”Anon. Bro, calm down.” He tells you. “We just want to talk.”
  573. >There’s nowhere left to run, not even the trees that are blocked off by the fence. You actually do fall to your knees this time, letting out a long sigh of defeat in between your labored breathing. The jocks form a half circle in front of you and to the sides of you. Flash stands right in front of you as you raise your head to look him in the eyes.
  574. >”We just want to talk, dude.” He repeats with a now kind expression in his eyes.
  575. >A false expression.
  576. >No trust.
  577. “Go away! I’ve had it with you people conspiring against me!” You hiss, reaching out to push Flash away.
  578. >He sways to the side a little bit and puts a hand on your shoulder. Swipe it away once, he places it back onto your shoulder. Swipe it away twice, he keeps his hand by his side.
  579. “I SAID-”
  580. >”Anon, stop freaking out. We’re not cons-”
  581. “YES YOU ARE!”
  582. >You weakly stand up, out of breath.
  583. >”Dude chill…” Thunderbass gasps in shock.
  584. “NO!”
  585. >”Anon, come on.”
  586. >You push lightly at him, having wanted to push as hard as you can.
  587. “I KNOW YOUR PLAN!”
  588. >”Can we just talk, dude? That’s all we want to do.” Flash reiterates as you feel hands grab you by the arms.
  589. “Let… go of me.”
  590. >”Anon…”
  591. “DON’T TALK TO ME! EVER!”
  592. >”Calm down, dude. You’re sweating like crazy.” Flash tells you as you squirm to get out of their tight grasp.
  593. >You spot Twilight walking up the length of the field now. She looks… concerned.
  594. >”We just want to clarify something about Sunset. Alright? There’s something we need to get through to you.”
  595. >Flash starts to back away as he says this, allowing Twilight to walk up to you. She speaks next.
  596. >”Look. You had your fun while it lasted, okay?” Twilight starts off. “But there’s something you need to understand. Sunset… really really likes you. She put so much out there for you, and continuously too. And it just pains me to see that you’re not letting her in just because you want to prove some… point or something to your peers.”
  597. “What is there even left that you have to say that’s still valid?” You sneer at the girl.
  598. >”Let her finish, Anon.” Flash says to you.
  599. “No you let ME finish!” You snap at him. “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is MY life! And you know what? I’m going to openly show that to you, that you can’t tell me what to do with my beloved time! This is over-the-top ridiculous what you people are trying to pull here. In NO way is this justified. Yes, I’ve done a few messed up things myself, but you people have no right to keep provoking me to do so!”
  600. >After being let go of, you stand straight up and walk over to a shocked Twilight, pointing an index finger at her.
  601. “I’m. Not. Going. To. Go. Out. With. Sunset.” You articulate as sternly as possible. “Got it? I said no the first time around and that should have been THE END OF IT!”
  602. >Twilight winces at your sudden shouting.
  603. “And here I am! I’m right here in front of you, saying it right to your face. And yes, I know that you know where I live. But I don’t care, Twilight! I’m not afraid of you or your cronies!”
  604. >”Ano-”
  605. “NO!” Your loud voice sharply cuts her off. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, DO YOU HEAR ME?! I’m not going out with Sunset Shimmer! I’m not going out with anyone! I’m going to stand here and keep saying it until I’m blue in the face! I’m… I’m NOT GONNA DO IT!”
  606. >Your screams nearly resemble those of a four-year-old having a temper tantrum. Though, it’s not like you care anyway.
  607. “So no more. I do not date and you’re all just going to have to accept it. I’m tired of you trying to force me to do something just because of your silly little social norms. I will NEVER allow you to pressure me. There is NOTHING that you can threaten me with. You got that? You can try to make me fall in love with Sunset all you want, but it’s never going to happen no matter what. I don’t care if you can know my address! I’ll even sing it to the world if I want! Why should I be afraid if I have nothing to hide? You people can’t tell me what to do just because you know where I live!”
  608. >Begin shouting your correct home address into the breeze with an exasperated tone in your voice. You literally take whatever energy you have left and use it to prove your “fearlessness”. The fact that you’re lightheaded from breathing so hard is something that partially worries you.
  609. >But you’re having a really hard time caring at the moment.
  610. “I don’t care if you come to my house and threaten me to no end. It will do… NOTHING! Do you hear me? Nothing~”
  611. >Twilight almost croaks out your name again, before stopping in fear of you cutting her off again. Her eyes are beginning to look more apprehensive in the face of you snapping yet again.
  612. “I am unbreakable! And I am the Heartbreaker! You turned me into this, so now you’re going to forever pay the price!” You sincerely promise. “I am far from afraid of the likes of you! How dare you try to make a coward out of me?”
  613. >You notice Twilight’s lips start to quiver. Her legs do the same, struggling to support the rest of her as they grow weaker in the knees. She tilts her head down, squinting slightly.
  614. “I don’t want or need you so-called ‘friendship’. What you’re doing isn’t friendship, it’s sociopathic blackmailing! And I’m not going to just roll over and let you do that to me! So back off, do you hear me?”
  615. >The fire alarm ceases in the distance. The entire audience of students silently watches the soap opera take place from afar.
  616. >You fall back to your knees as another set of footsteps approaches.
  617. >It’s Norman.
  618. >You’re not on your knees for long.
  619. “I TRUSTED YOU!” You blare at the top of your lungs as he seems to get closer and closer, but still stands still.
  620. >A barrage of arms hold you back. Norman jolts, looking almost apologetic, but not quite. At this point, you’re still trying to lunge forward at him; he’s the one who probably got under your skin the most. You had trusted him for even longer than Sunset.
  621. >He had literally been the last one.
  622. >”Anon, listen to me.” Flash starts up again. “You don’t mean any of that stuff you just said. I know the truth, okay?”
  623. “Can it, Sonic hair. I don’t want to hear it.”
  624. >”You need to shake this ridiculous delusion of yours. You’re not some superior, glorious heartbreaker who keeps getting asked out by every hot girl in school. You’re just Anon, bro.”
  625. “Stop trying to further reduce me, Flash. You’re not going to drag me down anymore. You brought this upon yourself.”
  626. >”No, dude. You’re the one bringing something upon yourself. You’re just a guy named Anon, who was asked out by ONE hot girl in school. I already explained before why Trixie wanted to get power and everything, and I learned that the whole thing with Rarity was a ruse. Sunset was the only one, and to be honest, you should be really grateful that you got that lucky.”
  627. >Cock your head to the side and widen your eyes in an offended fashion. Norman stands beside Flash, doing something strange with his eyes.
  628. “And just what is that supposed to mean?”
  629. >”Face it, dude. You should be really thankful that a girl like Sunset likes you. And I’ll admit that it was quite a rotten move to turn her down like that.”
  630. “I don’t date, Flash. And that is something that I have told YOU about. Wasn’t that reason enough?”
  631. >”That was a stupid reason, to be honest.”
  632. “Why? Because I don’t want to spend time an money on a high school relationship that won’t even last? Like… Sunset and I are in completely different leagues, let alone the fact that we are completely different types of people. You can’t possibly be serious about this.”
  633. >”Bottom line, Anon, is that to pretty much have to say yes if a girl that beautiful grows her own flowers for you and buys two tickets to a dine-in movie with you over an early summer weekend. I mean… I know that you didn’t want to make a sharp turn in your life so suddenly, but that’s too bad. You are literally supposed to say yes to her. It’s just the way things are supposed to go. You can’t possibly say no to her, it’s not a choice.”
  634. “WHO ARE YOU TO SAY THAT?!”
  635. >”Dude, stop shouting.”
  636. “SHUT UP! I am not required to do anything any specific way, Flash. It’s MY life, and MY time! And it sure as anything is MY decision to choose to not be in a relationship. I wouldn’t have gotten so bad if you didn’t try to force me to say yes after I said no! Why do you think I’m so upset?”
  637. >The two of you are practically yelling over eachother at this point.
  638. >”It’s just what’s expected of you to do, Anon. And you have to fulfill that.”
  639. “I’m not going to let these things that I’m ‘expected’ to do boss me around into sacrificing things so people like you won’t pressure me! Screw that! I’m going to do whatever I want and you can’t stop me!” You vow. “And here you are telling me that I need to shake my ‘ridiculous delusion’, then proceeding to spout all of that pretentious stuff about how someone ELSE should act based on what YOU personally believe! You’re an ignorant jerk!”
  640. >”Oh I’M the ignorant jerk?! HA! Says the kid who thinks that every single girl in school is going to ask him out just because Sunset Shimmer likes him for whatever reason. And also says the kid who would proudly reject them no matter what because ‘muh heartbreaker title’!”
  641. “Hey, I didn’t start this. You’re the one who tried to push me into dating. I only pushed the opposite way because you were doing that. You caused this to happen, Flash. You made me the heartbreaker of Canterlot High. And not I’ll never let you break me. Never. I’ll never let you push me around like that. And to be frank, it really says a lot about how desperate you are to be right when you’re trying to force me to look like I like someone. You were behind the thing with Rarity’s lipstick too, weren’t you? I wouldn’t be surprised if you were actually against me in all of this the whole time. Don’t pretend that it isn’t rotten to gain someone’s trust through by pretending to agree with them and the stab them in the back like how you are now! You’re worse than Norman!”
  642. >”Only one girl truly asked you out because she likes you, Anon! Only one! Sunset!” Flash reminds you. “I wanted to go easy of you at first, but you’re just so… stubborn! I have to draw the line somewhere!”
  643. “What about Trixie and Fluttershy?” You bring up off of the top of your head. “You yourself said that Trixie liked me. Both her and Fluttershy had asked me out.”
  644. >”Oh don’t try to weasel your way out of this! Trixie only wanted power, and Fluttershy never actually asked you out. I heard all about what happened in the hallway.”
  645. >Bite your lower lip and grit your teeth.
  646. “She didn’t ask me out in the hallway. It was over text messages.” You reveal, getting ready to whip your phone out to prove it.
  647. >Twilight’s eyes go extremely wide as her pupils contract. The girl stands there, stiff as a board.
  648. >”And how do I know you’re not just making it up?” Interrogates Flash.
  649. >A sinister smile finds its way to your face.
  650. “I was hoping you’d ask that…” You drop the cliché remark, reaching into your pocket.
  651. >Pull out the phone in a heartbeat, turning the screen on to reveal a text from Norman. It’s the text that came in as you stood up in the cafeteria.
  652. >[DUDE. RUN. ILL EXPLAIN LATER.]
  653. >Flash eyes Norman.
  654. >Norman looks up with a startled expression; a deer in the headlights of a truck. Everyone standing around you saw the text, and they saw that the name of the contact was his, and they recognized his number. If there’s anything that both you and Norman forgot, it’s that text messages sometimes take a few seconds to send… and a few more seconds to be received.
  655. >Following the orders his the message that blew his cover, Norman spins around and books it down the hill. He heads back towards the crowds of students, who are now extremely curious as to what’s taking place up here on the soccer field.
  656. >The other guys seem conflicted about whether or not they should pursue their backstabbing friend.
  657. >”Anon!” Twilight blurts out. “The thing with Fluttershy was my idea! That whole thing was a setup, too! I got her to try to ask you out so you’d stop being the heartbreaker!”
  658. >…
  659. >What?
  660. >You slowly turn your head towards Twilight’s direction, the rest of your body still frozen in shock. Her face tells you that her fingers might as well be crossed, hoping that your reaction will be as reasonable as poss-
  661. “You… what?”
  662. >”I’m sorry” Twilight delivers the traditional, predictable apology. “Like Flash said… I had to draw the line somewhere.”
  663. “WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU GET TO DRAW THE LINES?!” You explode. “WHY CAN’T YOU REALIZE THAT I HAVE THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS OF MY OWN?!”
  664. >You take a VERY agitated step towards Twilight, whose lips begin to quiver into a sharp frown once more.
  665. “YOU ARE A DERANGED SOCIOPATH! LEAVE ME ALONE!”
  666. >Nothing more is needed to be said.
  667. >In a matter of seconds, Twilight breaks down. She turns away from you and follows the path that Norman took back in the direction of the school. Her weeping is surprisingly one of the most heart-wrenching thing’s you’ve heard today.
  668. >Out of nowhere, you notice a fist appear out of the corner of your eye. You have no proof or way of certainly indicating who’s fist it is, but it’s already quite guessable.
  669. >Flash Sentry the White Knight.
  670. >The powerful punch leaves you lying on your side, facing away from the group of guys. After this, you feel shoes colliding against your back, bringing you massive amounts of searing pain. But you don’t even want to get up; they’ll surely get in some sort of trouble for this.
  671. >You’re already getting hammered because of the fire alarm, might as well take them down with you.
  672. >How did everything fall apart so quickly?
  673. >Where did it all go wrong, Anon? Where?
  674. >But the most painful part so far today has yet to come.
  675. >At long last, the kicking finally stops. You can hear Flash muttering something about how you should listen to Sunset’s call for love more and how you’re a monster for lashing out at Twilight instead.
  676. >But forget anything he thinks.
  677. >The voices of the other guys fade into the distance far behind you. You only wish this could be true in a figurative sense as well.
  678. >Minutes pass before you can faintly hear Vice Principal Luna arrive onto the scene far too late to break up the conflict. She’s calling your name from down in the parking lot. And then from the bottom of the hill. And then from right behind you.
  679. >But her voice isn’t the only thing you hear.
  680. >The most painful thing you hear is how you learn where the band kids have been all day long. The reason why Sonata, Adagio, Aria and all of the others have been absent during lunch and the rest of the day. If you had the energy to move, you’d kick yourself for not thinking of this earlier.
  681. >The sound of distant, cheerful marching band music echoes from the stadium.
  682. ~
  683. >The faint music dances into your ears, indicating that the entire band must be in the stadium. They’re all there, probably would have noticed you right as you entered between the stands. Flash and his friends would have followed you there, meeting the bank kids there and would have been met with the music that defended you before.
  684. >And that would have been perfect.
  685. >”Mr. Mous.” Luna addresses you, having seen you moving around. “I know you can hear me. Stand up now.”
  686. >The cold grass remains pressed up against your face and the side of your body. You let out an agitated grunt, letting a sound drown out the band kids’ music for a second. Taking away the tantalizing agony until you fall silent once more.
  687. >”I said get up. Now.”
  688. >You can’t believe she’s so quick to order you to get up, assuming that you’re not bleeding or something on the other side. Who does she think she is to jump to conclusions like this?
  689. >”Mr. Mous?” She is starting to sound a little bit more concerned.
  690. >As though concern would be the first thing she’d feel if she sees a student lying on his side in the field. But you better not let her think she needs to call an ambulance or something. No need to make this mess even more dramatic.
  691. “Ergh~” You angrily respond. “I don’t wanna get up.”
  692. >”Are you hurt?”
  693. “N-never…”
  694. >”Get up. Or do I have to call your parents?”
  695. “You’re going to call them anyway. Why should I care?”
  696. >”I can’t have you lying around here, Anonymous. You have to get up. Now. I’m not going to ask you again.”
  697. >With no other choice, you plant your palms onto the grass and push yourself up. Rise to your feet with your face tilted down, eyes staring up. You’re not sure why, but you’re trying to give the chain link fence as menacing as an expression as possible.
  698. >It’s not like you would have gotten far if it hadn’t been there, but that only makes your anger grow.
  699. >The distant music ends.
  700. >”Come with me to the main office. Celestia’s rounding up the others as well.”
  701. >Vice Principal Luna quickly examines you to make sure that you’re okay. It isn’t even for 10 seconds before she walks you back towards the school. It’s like she doesn’t even care about you.
  702. “Really?” You gripe as the two of you leave the field.
  703. >”What’s the matter?” The Vice Principal impatiently asks.
  704. “Like… did you even care that I was lying on my side in pain? What if I died?”
  705. >”Be quiet.”
  706. >You cannot believe what you just heard. Luna hasn’t exactly been the most lenient Vice Principal, but this it totally unlike her. Something’s wrong.
  707. >”They all told me about you’re actually doing.”
  708. “What?”
  709. >”Don’t even try that with me, because they already told me. I don’t have time to play games with you.”
  710. “What did they tell you I was doing?”
  711. >”You pulled the fire alarm and then ran out into the field, pretending to be severely injured from some accident. You did this so I’d have no choice but to call 911 and have an ambulance take you away without you having to confront Celestia and I. They all told me at the same time, even Twilight. And I saw you screaming at them and insulting them a few minutes ago.”
  712. >It suddenly hits you.
  713. >Twilight’s words are a lot more credible than yours due to the academic status she has. Of course the Vice Principle would believe one of the school’s top honor students first, and not a guy whom she just saw mindlessly scream at that said honor student when she tried to talk to him.
  714. >Twilight knew this, didn’t she?
  715. “Miss Luna, I know that you probably d-”
  716. >”No. I don’t want to hear any of it, Mr. Mous. I’ve heard a lot of students tell me that they saw you go through the emergency exit. And Twilight and Flash told me about what you were doing in the field.”
  717. >She grabs your hand and guides you back in the direction of the school.
  718. >”Not another word, Mr. Mous.”
  719. >…
  720. >You eventually find yourself sitting in a chair in front of Principal Celestia’s desk. The other kids who were involved are all brought in after you one by one.
  721. >The rest of Flash’s crew is gathered in the office. Thunderbass, Valhallen, Brawly Beats, Ted and Curly Winds. And of course, Flash, Norman and Twilight themselves.
  722. >In your chair, you lazily slouch back and stare straight forward with a now apathetic scowl a la Scarface. Vice Principal Luna leaves to the back room to do something for a minute or two. While this happens, you can swear that you hear Flash and his buddies whispering something to eachother. But it does not even slightly bother you anymore at this point; they’re dead to you now.
  723. >The door suddenly opens again, but it’s not Luna who stands in the doorway. It’s Principal Celestia.
  724. >You automatically feel the atmosphere change as she enters the room, trying your best to look away from her. But you can still feel her looking at you.
  725. >”Now first of all, I want to make myself clear.” Principal Celestia begins. “I am going to let you all speak one at a time, and when this happens, I want each of you to tell me what happened over the course of the past half hour and any significant events that led up to it. And I want all of you to be completely honest with me. Understood?”
  726. >The whole lot of you nod at her.
  727. >”We’ll start with you, Valhallen.” Celestia declares, pointing to the guy sitting on the far left side.
  728. >The only two sitting to the right of you are Norman and Twilight, with Norman right next to you. You imagine all of the stories that the boys are going to make up as the chance to speak makes its way to you.
  729. >As the boys speak, the story that they eventually stick with goes something like this: Sunset asks out Anon, he rudely says no and lets his ego inflate over it, they try to confront him about it, he freaks out and makes a scene to get out of school early while getting them in trouble at the same time.
  730. >Your urge to prove them wrong boils inside of you until it is finally your turn to speak. Celestia turns to you and asks you you to tell your side of the story.
  731. >Every fiber in your being yearns to outshine the peers who sit beside you. You’ve thought up your story well, and you’re ready to put these people in their place.
  732. “Let me start off by saying how… infuriated I am with you people. I just cannot believe that you would take something this far, and can’t begin to imagine why. All I know is that I don’t ever want to associate myself with you guys, and I apologize for having brought Principal Celestia into this.”
  733. >”Please hurry up, Mr. Mous. School lets out in 45 minutes and we need to get everything sorted out here. Okay?”
  734. “Alright. So this all started about a week or so ago. This was a week before Friday. Sunset came up to me in the hallway and asked me if I wanted to go on a date with her. To which I said no, as the other guys have told you already. In the coming days, Sunset continued to ask me out on some separate occasions. I don’t know what has her hooked, I really don’t know. Okay?”
  735. >”Mhm… continue.”
  736. “These guys over here, they started trying to pressure me into dating her over the past week and a half. I had no idea at first, but I slowly caught on to what they were doing. I thought I was going crazy at first, since I had no proof, but the signs still kept popping up. So with that, I became very paranoid, not even knowing if I could trust anyone. I soon couldn’t decide if I should trust others, or myself. I cannot begin to explain or even wrap my mind around how stressful this has been.”
  737. >Principal Celestia gives you a skeptical, but attentive expression as your words go on and on. The more you tell her, the more interested she becomes in what you have to say. All of it more of a reason to speak your mind.
  738. “I told them that I didn’t want to go on a date with Sunset. And it’s not even because of her appearance or anything. I personally think she’s better looking than most girls here at school. But just in general, through my empirical and unbiased judgment.”
  739. >Principal Celestia nods slightly.
  740. “What I’m saying is… I’m not repelled away from her; I’m repelled away from the idea of dating. I just simply never want to do it.
  741. >”At all?” Principal Celestia questions while raising an eyebrow.
  742. “At all. This is probably going to sound silly, but I don’t really want to be attracted to people. It’s distracting, and dating people is even more distracting. And I’m starting to feel like that when I rejected one of the most popular girls in school, I started to gain control over my life for a change. I didn’t give into the pressure of what she did for me and still didn’t agree to date her. I don’t care anymore if it sounds selfish to anyone here. Whether or not I want to date someone is my own personal choice.”
  743. >Why couldn’t you explain it like this before?
  744. >”So… these young men here were trying to push you into going on a date with Sunset because…”
  745. “They believe that it is the only logical solution. Here’s their logic in a nutshell: If a hot girl grows her own flowers for you, buys a movie ticket for you and asks you out on a date in public, you HAVE to do it no matter what or how you think.”
  746. >”Well it’s true.” Flash interjects, actually verifying what you said.
  747. >”Mr. Sentry. Please let him finish.” Principal Celestia insists.
  748. “They started up a series of ruses on me, even trying to get a bunch of other girls to ask me out one by one until I finally say yes to one of them. They tried to make some of them pull at my heartstrings and make it so everyone would hate me if I said no to her in public. They even had one of the girls try to kiss me on the lips with permanent lipstick so it would look like I was making out with her or something. They literally flushed me out of the lower hallways in a certain way so she could trap me and carry out this action. I don’t have the lipstick on my arm anymore, because I washed it off. And that took a ton of effort, too!”
  749. >”Wait, hold on. Nobody else told me about these other girls. Which ones were they? What were their names?”
  750. “Rarity and Fluttershy.”
  751. >Vice Principal stands up and grabs a piece of paper upon you revealing this. She writes their names down on the paper before joining in on the discussion.
  752. >”Anyone else we should know about?” The Vice Principal asks you.
  753. “I know Trixie Lulamoon is on this as well. She’s been trying this exact same kind of thing. And Sunset is the one who started all of this, but she’s not in the school anymore, of course.”
  754. >The names are written down before Celestia gestures you to continue. Flash and the other guys deliver dirty looks in your direction. You ignore them, continuing to explain to Principal Celestia what happened between you and the other students.
  755. “Anyway, I became increasingly paranoid because of all this happening. There was almost no one I could turn to for answers or anything except for like… Norman over here.”
  756. >Flash slowly turns his head towards Norman once more.
  757. >”Seriously, bro?” He gripes.
  758. >”Mr. Sentry! Be quiet and let him finish. I’m not going to ask you again.” Orders Celestia.
  759. >The sounds of the students shuffling around in the hallway can be heard stirring up. Period 7 has begun, meaning that there are only two 20-minute periods left until the end of the day.
  760. “And it wasn’t just these ‘young men” doing this, Twilight was pretty much the brains of the whole operation.”
  761. >Principal Celestia widens her eyes, shocked at what she heard.
  762. “Yes, it’s true. She was the one who planned all of this. The thing with Fluttershy, Rarity, the guys telling me to go out with Sunset, and she even did this thing where she found out where I live through a GPS app on her phone. She made me think that I could trust her, only so she could indirectly harass me all because I didn’t want to go on a date with her friend.”
  763. >”Mr. Mous, forgive me for being skeptical, but none of that sounds anything at all like Miss Sparkle.”
  764. “I know it doesn’t, and she knows this too. Which is why it’s easy for her to get away with things like this.”
  765. >”I don’t think you understand, Mr. Mous. Miss Sparkle here has applied to be Valedictorian for the school next year. She literally cannot afford to get in any kind of trouble or do any wrong to anyone. She took an oath. It would be far too much of a risk for her to go around doing things like that. I’ll only believe you once you prove it beyond reasonable doubt.”
  766. “Yeah well… with all due respect, she broke that oath. And yes, I can prove it. She has that GPS app installed onto her phone right now, as the only purpose it served was to be in my car as I drove up to my house so she could use Sunset’s phone to pinpoint my home address.”
  767. >Principal Celestia turns to Twilight.
  768. >”May I see your phone please, Miss Sparkle?” Principal Celestia asks, reaching her hand out to the Valedictorian applicant. “And do type in your password beforehand, if you will.”
  769. Twilight obediently hands the phone over to Principal Celestia after typing in whatever the password was. You would have peered at her screen to see what it was if there weren’t so many eyes on you right now.
  770. >”What was the name of this application, Mr. Mous?” Interrogates Celestia.
  771. “TrackerGeo.” You remember the name off the top of your head.
  772. >The Principal looks through the apps on the phone. She even turns the screen towards the rest of you so you can see as well. You remember what the icon looked like. It was bright green with a big target in the middle that had crosshairs. There is no icon on Twilight’s phone that you can see that resembles this.
  773. >Twilight remains silent, far more content with the current situation than you wanted. She doesn’t even look a little concerned.
  774. >”I’m sorry, Mr. Mous.” Principal Celestia says to you after 30 more seconds. “But there’s nothing on her phone that’s called TrackerGeo.”
  775. “Well she still knows where I live.” You tell her, slightly remembering your meltdown in the field.
  776. >”And how is this?”
  777. “Because I…” You stutter. “Because I… freaking… told everyone my address.”
  778. >Don’t let the anger take you again, Anon.
  779. >”Well… I believe that you’re the one at fault for that, Mr. Mous. Not Twilight. Now please get to your final point so Mr. Norman can go next.”
  780. “It’s just not fair.” You try to keep your guts from spilling. “She’s been carefully planning this whole thing, like some sort of conspiring mastermind. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she planned for Flash and his gang to ambush me at lunch either. Yes, I ran out the fire door. Yes, I made the alarm go off. That was my fault, okay? They were chasing me. They eventually caught me in the field and I told them to go away. They didn’t, Twilight came onto the scene and told me I was wrong for rejecting Sunset, I told her she’s acting like a sociopath, she ran off crying, and Flash punched me.”
  781. >Celestia leans forward.
  782. >”He punched you?” She asks.
  783. “In the face!”
  784. >”No he didn’t!” All of Flash’s friends rebut in unison.
  785. >”This is a very serious matter, Mr. Sentry.” Celestia scolds.
  786. >”I didn’t punch him!” Flash lies. “He hit himself a few times and threatened to say that I did it if we didn’t go away.”
  787. >”Whether you punched him or not, why did you follow him into the field in the first place?”
  788. >”We wanted to talk to him in the cafeteria. He freaked out and left the place through the fire door and ran to the field where he could be sure that there were no cameras to record him hitting himself.”
  789. “That’s a lie!”
  790. >”Stop playing victim, Anon! It’s not gonna work!” Thunderbass tells you as the rest of the guys begin to mutter and speak against you as well.
  791. “Shut up!”
  792. >”Everybody quiet!” Commands Celestia in a domineering tone.
  793. >Twilight had remained silent, maintaining her credibility.
  794. >Smart.
  795. >”Anon Y. Mous, I’m not just going to assume that Mr. Sentry over here punched you unless you have some way to prove it. And since you have no proof for what you claimed to be true about Twilight, I’m beginning to have my doubts.”
  796. “Well I don’t have any proof, okay? I’m sorry. I don’t control whether or not Twilight deletes an app on her phone. Just ask Norman about Flash punching me, though. He’ll vouch for me. Just go to him next.”
  797. >”Very well, then. Mr. Norman? Could you explain to me what happened in that field?”
  798. >Norman gives you a confused look, not looking prepared to give a certain answer. You’d be riled by this if you weren’t aware of the circumstances. Both him and Twilight had left before Flash punched you. And neither of the had seen it happen.
  799. >”Mr. Norman.” Celestia starts off. “I want to you be 100% honest with me, do you understand?”
  800. >”Yes, Principal Celestia.” Norman answers.
  801. >”Now… did you see Flash Sentry punch Anon Y. Mous in the face?”
  802. >He stutters for a little bit. You’re already prepared to grab onto what little chances you have left to prove yourself as close to innocent as possible. There’s always your phone on your pocket, and those messages from Twilight saved into your phone’s history. Particularly that cryptic one that still haunts you to this very moment.
  803. >”I really can see it happening, and I really do believe that it happened.” Norman backstabs Flash, visibly intimidated by the Principal. “I’m more than certain that he did it.”
  804. >”Please don’t play games with me, Mr. Norman. Just ‘believing’ that it happened doesn’t cut it. Luna and I have been lied to by countless students in our day. And frankly, we’ve come to have no tolerance for such a thing anymore. Luna herself personally cannot stand it when students do that anymore and doesn’t take any chances when she suspects that a student’s playing games with her. But I remain neutral until I am faced with empirical evidence that proves a statement beyond reasonable doubt.”
  805. >You begin to feel sick in your stomach. Paying a visit ti the nurse after this is starting to sound like a better idea.
  806. “And seeing that there are no visible injuries on Mr. Mous, I’m left with no choice but to try for witnesses. Not believers, witnesses who were actually there and saw the events that took place. We have four young gentlemen right here who were all on the scene.”
  807. >You can already see where this is going. Celestia is going to see their stances as equal and just go by how many accounts there are on each side. And with that, you pull your phone out.
  808. >”Now I’m going to ask you one last time, Mr. Norman. And by all means, do NOT lie to me. Did you see Flash Sentry punch Anon Y. Mous, yes or no?” Celestia strongly interrogates him.
  809. >Norman looks down, no longer twiddling his thumbs. He gives you an apologetic that tells you that he did the best he could to help you as much as he can.
  810. >”No.” He answers. “I did not see Flash punch Anon. I left the scene right before it happened.”
  811. >”Then I’m afraid that this argument of Anon’s is not valid… again, unfortunately.”
  812. >”I’m sorry, dude.” Norman turns towards you.
  813. >”Are you going to tell your side of the story, Mr. Norman?” Celestia reminds him, now crossing her arms.
  814. >Taking a deep breath Norman leans back in his chair. He almost has a pained expression on his face. But you’re not even going to wait.
  815. “There’s something I’d like to show you after he’s done.” You announce. “It’s when Twilight texted me after she knew that I figured out everything she was doing.”
  816. >Twilight perks up as she hears what you just said. It dawns upon her that there was an ace up your sleeve this whole time, and that said ace is about to be played. Principal Celestia gives you a bit of an impatient look at first, but then sighs and nods in approval.
  817. >You were never the type of planner that figured everything out ahead of time.
  818. >”Okay. But Norman tells his side of the story first. It’s only fair that you take your turns.”
  819. >”My side of the story is pretty much the same as Anon’s. Everything he said is what I wanted to say, aside the part about punching that I didn’t even know about until now. But the thing is… I never wanted to pick sides in any of this, man. Flash is my friend, and Anon is my friend. And I can’t handle them fighting eachother like this and trying to get me to pick their sides. I don’t want any of this drama, I just wanted to help it all get put off until the school year was over so everyone can just stay home and forget about it eventually. Like… I just wanna go home and eat my pizza I have in the fridge, man! I was willing to help Anon, and I didn’t want to look like I was turning against Flash either. Both of you guys are my friends, but I’m not going to help either of you if you keep stirring up drama. And that’s about it.”
  820. >”Anon’s the one being the ignorant jerk.” Flash insists. “He’s the one who wanted to be the almighty heartbreaker and not go out with anyone when he should have taken Sunset.”
  821. >”From where I’m sitting, you both are acting like ignorant jerks. Both of you screwed up, and you keep pointing your fingers at eachother because you yourselves do not want to carry the blame.” Vice Principal Luna points out.
  822. >”I couldn’t agree more.” Concurs Principal Celestia. “Allow me to put this into a perspective that you might understand. Young people your age tend to indulge themselves in trains of thoughts in which they are the ones who are fending themselves off from dramatic situations. It’s just a part of growing up. In those types of situations, it is commonly automatically thought that the one who is suffering is not at fault, and you apply these thoughts to your logic while you feel like you are suffering from these situations. You automatically feel like everyone else is in the wrong for pulling you back into these things when you’re provoking a portion of it yourself.”
  823. >Celestia reaches her hand out to you.
  824. >”Now let me see your phone.”
  825. >You unlock your screen and hand the phone over. Twilight freezes in her seat, knowing that there’s pretty much nothing she can do at this point. She’s a lot more nervous than she was five minutes ago.
  826. >”Direct me to the text messages that you were referring to.” Celestia orders, also picking up Twilight’s phone that’s still next to her.
  827. “The contact says Twilight on it. Look at the last message, it says it all. And you can look for it on Twilight’s phone too to prove that she typed it. Empirical evidence.” You shoot her own words right back at her.
  828. >With a phone in each hand, Principal Celestia looks through the text messages of each one with Vice Principal Luna peering over her shoulder. Celestia notices one message from Twilight that catches her attention. Guess which one it is?
  829. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  830. >She stares at the message, unable to comprehend the fact that Twilight obviously wrote it. It really shouldn’t be, but it’s pretty much clear that this was Twilight after a check to see if the phone numbers and the rest of the text conversations match up. This shouldn’t be for a Valedictorian Candidate, but it is.
  831. >Twilight is an honor student, who would never do anything to manipulate or blackmail anyone, let alone threaten them in any way.
  832. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  833. >No, this cannot be true. This is not the Twilight that Principal Celestia knows. Right?
  834. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  835. >This simply can’t be.
  836. >[This is for your own good, Anon. One day, one of my girls is going to get you. Trust me, I'm like cupid.]
  837. >The school Principal must finally come to terms with it. She sets the phones back down and looks behind her to Luna, who is also shaking her head in disbelief along with her.
  838. >”Whatever you read… It meant nothing!” Twilight instantly tries to reverse the damage that was done. “Let me explain!”
  839. >Celestia and Luna glare at her as though she is some sort of stranger to them. Twilight bites her lower lip before turning to you, Flash and the others for a second or two. She takes a while to gather the words to say from within her before she starts dishing out everything she can.
  840. >”Sunset Shimmer is my friend, don’t you see?! And she loves Anon so so much. I remember seeing how hard she was crying that one Friday, how her heart was absolutely crushed because she got rejected by Anon after all she had done for him. Like… she GREW her OWN flowers for him? How could he possibly say no to her if she cares THAT much for him? Why would you do something like that, Anon? Why won’t you admit that you can lover her back and make time for her?”
  841. “Twilight, I don’t want to just go around making time for people just because they feel the need to pressure me into doing so. I didn’t want to go on a date, and that should be the end of it. I don’t care if you disagree with my actions, I’m going to do whatever I want and you can’t stop me. I’ve told you this before.”
  842. >”I am absolutely appalled, Miss Sparkle.” Vice Principal Luna scolds once more. “I can’t believe that you would try to do something like this.”
  843. >”I wasn’t threatening him! I was just telling him that one day he was going to find love…”
  844. >”That’s not what the text sounds like. Not by a long shot. You’re lying to us, Miss Sparkle.”
  845. >”I… I… but I…”
  846. >”Miss Sparkle.” Principal Celestia now joins in on interrogating Twilight.
  847. >”A-Anon loves her! He just doesn’t know it! I’m trying to S-S-SOLVE the problem.” Twilight desperately advertises.
  848. “No further questions, your honor.” You banter.
  849. >”So here’s what I have so far.” Luna reveals. “Flash, you and Twilight need to let Anon make his own decisions. Anon, you need to take your head out of the clouds. Does that sound about right?”
  850. >”Twilight Sparkle… you better have a pretty convincing side of your story if you want to hold your spot as Candidate for Valedictorian.” Celestia says to Twilight, who silently whispers ‘no’ to herself.
  851. >With a hopeless look in her eyes, Twilight darts her attention around the room as her plan falls apart around her. But she finally opens her mouth, only to begin to stutter at first. There are no real words coming out, as Twilight cannot for the life of her think of anything to say.
  852. >Defeated, she sits in her chair, stuttering and dropping more spaghetti than a clumsy chef.
  853. >”I-I… j-j-j-just… y-you… d-didn’t you didn’t there w-w-when they d-d-did not the own… b-b-but… uh…”
  854. >She crumbles before you.
  855. >”C-c-celestia, I… they… y-you and then w-w-w-when… I d-d-didn’t…”
  856. >”Twilight, please speak in full sentences.”
  857. >”I-I-I-I… d-d-d-d~”
  858. >”Twilight!” Celestia urgently pressures her.
  859. >”B-b-but f-friends-ship…” Twilight blurts out while staring straight at you. “S-s-sunset… she… me, I…”
  860. >The vanquished girl slowly rises to her feet, legs trembling like crazy. The deranged look in her eyes stuns you, trapping you in a fixed gaze with her. Twilight stumbles over to right in front of you. She’s not stuttering anymore; she’s hyperventilating.
  861. >”Twilight, no!” Celestia shrieks as she starts to stand up from her own seat.
  862. >None of the other guys in the room do anything other than watch in awe. They keep their sights focused on Twilight as they see what she’s doing.
  863. >”I-I’ll m-make you l-l-love…” Twilight squeaks quietly as tears accumulate in her eyes.
  864. >The girl looms over you, leaning her knees against yours and undoing the buttons at the top of her blouse. Flash and the other guys watch with jaws dropped just as Principle Celestia grabs Twilight from behind.
  865. >”Turn off the camera!” Celestia orders.
  866. >Luna reaches up to a previously unnoticed camera in an upper corner on the room and presses a button on it. It confuses you slightly as to why Celestia was so quick to prevent any security footage of the current moment.
  867. >The two women grab Twilight Sparkle by the arms and haul her around the desk towards the back room. No longer having anything close to a grip on her composure, Twilight lets out a series of crazed screams as she is wrestled into the backroom.
  868. >Not a single person can start to comprehend what just happened.
  869. >If you had any doubts about whether or not Twilight was mentally unstable, they are gone now.
  870. >”Stay right there! All of you!” Vice Principal Luna commands as she and Celestia drag Twilight into the backroom to somehow calm her down.
  871. >Everyone is frozen in their seats in the wake of Twilight’s extremely sudden meltdown. You expected her to try to damage control or something similar to that, but this was completely from left field.
  872. >Surprisingly enough, Norman stands up out of his chair and heads for the door.
  873. >”Screw this, man. School ends in like 30 minutes. I’m going home and eating my pizza, man.” He proudly declares before slipping out the door.
  874. >And here you sit. In the now camera-less room with the one and only Flash Sentry and his cronies. But your mind is moving fast now… setting itself free of the boundaries that keep you from leaving this office along with Norman.
  875. >Let’s be honest, it’s the end of the whole school year, the buses are going to arrive soon, and you’re surely not coming back tomorrow. Given that tomorrow’s an optional day for students, you do not need to think about this any further.
  876. >In what feels like one single motion, you stand up, flip Flash and his friends off and then waltz out the door.
  877. “I am… so done with you people.” You declare with the stadium in your mind.
  878. >It’s a good thing you ran off from the scene, since you hear the other guys leave there shortly as well. There’s only two buses in reserve right now, and neither of them are yours. Your plan is already forming.
  879. >You’re just going to go to the stadium where the band kids evidently are, and you’ll wait there with them until it’s time for the buses to take you away to summer.
  880. >Go down the stairs from the main hallways to the lower hallways, where you make a few turns and eventually make it ti the gymnasium. It sounds so far like you’ve lost Flash and the other, but you want to be sure. You make a few extra turns and then go through the locker room and into another one of the hallways. The students all sitting in the gym had barely noticed you going by you were entering and exiting the room so briefly. You hardly even noticed that there were people in there.
  881. >Find a door to the outside and exit through it. This one isn’t an emergency exit, so no alarm goes off this time.
  882. >Make your way across the parking lot and over in the direction of the stadium. As you go there, there is only one word that rings in your mind.
  883. >Brothens.
  884. >Canterlot High becomes more and more distant behind you. The parking lot that you stride across is almost as silent as you are. Not even your light footsteps can be heard, especially not across the grass of the fields.
  885. >Thinking back to the moment that just happened, you start to feel more and more uncomfortable as you walk on. Just the very nature and suddenness of what happened with Twilight was rather… traumatizing actually. Well, mentally, at least.
  886. >It’s difficult to imagine that the event only took place a couple of minutes ago. You’re not really externally reacting to what she started to do, let alone understand what it was she was trying to do. But you’d be lying to yourself if it didn’t feel extremely awkward all the way through.
  887. >All you need is something to put all of these horrible thought out of your mind. You know for a fact that you pretty much wan for now, but there’s a terrifying reality that faces you next.
  888. >What pretty much happened was… you broke Twilight. You took her ego and smashed it into as many pieces as the times she had tried to ship you with Sunset. And you know that if you didn’t break her first at some point, she would have broken you. It was already about to happen, especially since your meltdown in the field. Whatever her perspective of friendship is, it certainly can’t be a relationship in which two people drive eachother to some breaking point to see who cracks first. At least not when it’s like this.
  889. >No music can be heard as you approach the stadium. You already have a heavy feeling in your stomach as you realize that the band kids might have left just before your arrival… again. You clench your fists.
  890. >The buses aren’t going to pull off until much later than now, and there is a lot of time for you to have to wait. Your house isn’t exactly within walking distance, and even then, Flash and his friends could follow you there eventually anyway.
  891. >Finally enter the silent stadium itself by climbing over the fence.
  892. >There has to be somewhere to hide and wait out Flash’s hunt for you. Once Principal Celestia finds out that you’re gone from the office, she’d likely try to find you and the other guys in the school. The stadium might be the best place to hide and wait until the end of this final day of school.
  893. >Walk into the area between the stands to confirm that the band kids are indeed gone. Once again, you silently curse to yourself as you make your way to the stands. You’re not leaving this time because you must find an area to hide away just in case they look for you here.
  894. >There’s a door to a supply closet that looks cracked open. It automatically stands out to you, and you walk over to it. You open the door to be met with a thick cloud of smoke washing over you.
  895. >Startled, you let out a panicked yelp and begin swatting away at the smoke at it hits your face. Stumble back a little bit before noticing the strange smell that the smoke has. Multiple ideas pop into your head, but you’re still too much in shock from before to think straight right now.
  896. >Finally, you become focused enough to creep back up to the open door and peek inside. You let your head poke in so you can see a girl sitting on the far side of the small room on top of a bunch of sporting equipment. The air takes a little while to clear, but you can soon see that the girl with the straw hat is squinting and staring straight up at you. But it is only when she speaks that you can identify her by recognizing her voice.
  897. >”What? Weed is legal in this state.” Sweet Leaf tells you in a mellow tone.
  898. >It takes a second or two for it to hit you; Sweet Leaf is one of the band kids! She must have stayed here for a while after practice.
  899. >A slight pause ensues before you figure out what’s the most important way to start this conversation.
  900. “Can I hide here?”
  901. >The girl doesn’t say anything back to you. She only sits on the sporting equipment and blankly smiles straight ahead. You’re unsure about whether or not she’s paying attention, but you are sure about the reason why.
  902. “So… is that a yes?” You ask her, already starting to choke on the unfamiliar smoke filled air.
  903. >”Like… what am I hiding you from?” Sweet Leaf asks.
  904. “Some people. Alright? U just need to hang out in here so no one finds me. There’s a bunch of people looking for me, and I need to find somewhere to disappear. I’m not exactly feeling the most comfortable right now.”
  905. >Sweet Leaf’s eyes dart open as you say the word ‘comfortable’.
  906. >”Oh my gosh! Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling down? No one likes to feel down, man. You can totally hide from the evil monsters here!”
  907. “Uh… I’m just hiding from people acting like monsters. Not actual monsters.”
  908. >”Come here. You can sit here on this fire hose.” Sweet Leaf offers as she scoots over. “Tell me how tough the monsters were. Were they like, dragons?”
  909. >You’re going to have difficulty following what she’s talking about, but what else could you really expect in a situation like this? It’s best to just go along with the stoner girl’s logic and slowly make your way towards getting that ticket to Brothens. Maybe she can talk to Sonata if you need more than one ticket, since Norman is still pretty much cool in your view.
  910. >”Are… are you a knight?” She gasps all of a sudden. “If you’re a knight, then why are you hiding from the dragons?”
  911. “I’m unfortunately not a knight, especially not a white one. And there’s no dragons.”
  912. >”Then what are you hiding from?”
  913. “Uh…”
  914. >Sweet Leaf intently listens for your response with a dazed gleam in her eyes.
  915. “I’m… hiding from bad vibes.” You tell her, already preparing yourself for the response you expect.
  916. >”Aww… why didn’t you say so? Come sit on the fire hose with meeeeeee!”
  917. >Wow, that wasn’t as climactic as you thought it would be. But of course, you’ll take what you can get at this point. You calmly sit down next to Sweet Leaf after letting the door shut behind you. But there’s something propping it open.
  918. “Uh, why isn’t the door closing all the way?” You nervously ask.
  919. >”Oh, I’m just making sure that there’s enough ventilation for the smoke to get out of here quickly before anyone else comes in here and might find out that I’ve been getting high in here.” Explains Sweet Leaf. “I like to remember to cover my tracks. It makes me feel like, some kind of a genius. Oh, and the door also locks when it closes all the way. I don’t feel like getting trapped in here over the summer.”
  920. “Oh, so you’re not really supposed to be doing this?”
  921. >That might have been a stupid question to ask. After all of your time of hearing about what you’re allowed to do on school grounds and what you’re not allowed to do on school grounds, you really should have this stuff down. No smoking of any kind on school grounds.
  922. >What the heck made your mind go blank just now?
  923. >…
  924. >Oh.
  925. >”To be honest, I have idea if I can do this. I never pay attention to all that… boring story rule stuff. But whatever.”
  926. “Well… can I at least close the door for a little while until the bad vibes stop looking for me?”
  927. >”Why? If the bad vibes come knocking on the door, just blow some weed smoke in their face and they will go away, or at least get high enough to be good vibes.”
  928. >You honestly do not have a proper response for this.
  929. “But what if the bad vibes forget to knock and just barge in here? I… I really don’t want them to see me.”
  930. >”Oh that’s okay. Once you see the bad vibes march in here, just run and hide. If you’re lucky, they won’t notice you. This is a pretty big supply closet, so you have a lot of time and space to run and hide somewhere. You know what I mean, right?”
  931. “Not really.”
  932. >”Well, Allen, it goes like this. Most supply closets are like 4 by 4 in room size. Now, take that size and compare it to this closet’s size. There’s at least 6 feet all the way around. I don’t know how much that is in meters, so I can’t help you there. But the point is that this closet’s 6 feet is above the… average maximum of 4 feet for most other closets. With that in mind, this closet goes beyond the limit where things cannot happen.”
  933. “What things? And my name’s, err, never mind.” You inquire, actually entertained an interested to see where she goes with this. “Please continue.”
  934. >To wherever she’s going with this, you’re probably going to have to go along with it. The least you can do in here is at least hide from plain sight so anyone else who does enter will only see Sweet Leaf smoking her weed.
  935. >”When there’s enough space in between two points, it takes them a long time to communicate and see what happens with one another. I know this; I’ve taken a college level Astronomy class before.”
  936. “O… okay…”
  937. >”So with the size of this closet, you have a lot of time to run and hide before the bad vibes come crashing through the floodgate we have set up. There’s too much space for them to see you immediately and you can run and hide under the fire hose.”
  938. >She must have been in here for a while.
  939. “Well, uh…” You start off, appalled by how ridiculous her plan is. “Can I go and hide right away?
  940. >”But why?”
  941. “Because… I can’t really move very fast at super sonic speeds and would need to be hidden ahead of time.”
  942. >”Oh my goodness! Why didn’t I think of that?” Sweet Leaf gasps again. “Go ahead! You can hide somewhere. You can hide behind me if you want; bad vibes never get to me!”
  943. With this cue, you squiggle yourself around and make your way under the collection of sporting equipment to camouflage yourself. Sweet Leaf leans forward so you can crouch behind her while under all of the equipment at the same time. The best way to describe this is that you are becoming part of the pile of stuff that Sweet Leaf is leaning against.
  944. “Okay. I guess they can’t see me if I’m like this. But this is a little awkward, though.”
  945. >”Aw nonsense!” Sweet Leaf insists. “It’s only awkward if you let it be awkward! As long as you don’t care, you can’t possibly feel awkward no matter how hard the bad vibes try.”
  946. “Well, it’s awfully hard for me right now to not feel some sort of anxiety.”
  947. >”Why? Did something happen, Allen?”
  948. >She’s still not getting your name right, but you’re surprisingly fine with this. You feel like that every time you hear someone say “Anon”, you remember everything that associates with that name. Or at least what everyone just wants you to associate with your name. This happy mistake is actually welcomed by you at this moment.
  949. >You actually feel a lot better that someone is calling you something other than “Anon”. Allen doesn’t feel like a cursed name to you, so you go along with this for as long as the weed lasts in Sweet Leaf’s mind.
  950. “Yeah. A lot has happened, but I don’t like to talk about it.”
  951. >”Ah. I gotcha. Yeah, you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. But anyway, you can even share this joint with me if you’re looking to feel better… if you’d like. I could really go either way with this.” Offers Sweet Leaf.
  952. “Maybe not this time around.” You reply, just trying to be polite.
  953. >Perhaps you should have worded that differently.
  954. >”Oh, that’s awesome! I didn’t know you liked to get high too! I usually do this all the time, and never got caught even once. Say, weed is legal in Brothens, too. You were one of the people coming with the band class on that tour thingy, right?”
  955. >Okay, maybe that was the right choice of words for you. Though, she is kind of wrong about you smoking weed; you’ve never done it before. You never even knew what weed smelled like until a couple of minutes ago.
  956. >But this is still extremely convenient in getting you out of this town for the summer. And at this point, you could try to find a way to get out of this town for even longer than the summer.
  957. “Unfortunately, I never got a ticket. I’ve been busy dealing with… stuff and whatnot.”
  958. >”Aww, I’m sorry to hear that. I think all of the ticket spaces have been used up, and the class is leaving this Friday, so I’m actually not going to be here for very long.”
  959. “Are you saying that there’s no way to go to Brothens?”
  960. >”Not that… well… not that I know of. But that doesn’t mean that the others kids don’t know. I just don’t want to see someone miss out on going to such a nice place. I always tell people about how great it is there. There’s beaches… and… stuff. And beaches.”
  961. >This might be that last chance that you never caught any of the previous times.
  962. “Is there like… anyone I can talk to who’s also in the band class?” You ask, slightly repositioning yourself so your knee isn’t being rammed into the concrete floor.
  963. >”I guess I could go up to someone or something and tell them that Allen wants to talk to them about getting a plane ticket to Brothens. Like, they’ve pulled a lot of strings last year.”
  964. “They have?”
  965. >”Yeah, hahaha, and they told me to never tell anyone about them doing that… but I didn’t listen!”
  966. “Is that how the Dazzlings got on board? I heard that they’re going too. And… I just kind of really want to go to there. I’ve never been to Brothens before.”
  967. >”Yeah, we snuck them on at the last minute.”
  968. >Just at this second, you hear a voice call out from outside the door. It’s someone shouting into the wind, likely from the distance. But it grows closer to reveal just what the sound means for you.
  969. >”Anon!” The voice of a guy your age blares outside.
  970. >You can’t make out who might be the owner of the voice, but it’s enough information for you to know that they are out there looking for you. This causes you to burrow deeper into the sporting supplies as Sweet Leaf leans back against you still.
  971. >”Anon!” The voice draws closer, but still remains distant sounding to an extent.
  972. >Sweet Leaf turns to look at you, likely unsure if she heard the sound to begin with. But you huddling up underneath the equipment is enough to let her know that you’re hiding. She doesn’t seem surprised at all that these ‘bad vibes’ are real.
  973. >But to your surprise, the door to the supply closet is suddenly opened, despite the voice being so distant. You don’t flinch and stay silent, feeling unusually relaxed.
  974. >”Who’s in here?” A voice calls into the closet. “Anon?”
  975. >It’s definitely one of Flash’s friends. But you can’t see which one.
  976. >”What? Weed’s legal in this state.” Sweet Leaf greets him.
  977. >”Oh… it’s you.” The voice replies. “Have you seen Anonymous around here? He left his phone in the Principal’s office.”
  978. >…
  979. >This takes a while to wash over you. But the realization eventually becomes apparent in due time. Your phone was still on that desk! You can only imagine what the guys might try to do with it once they figure out what the password is. Oh, they must have the most sinister plans after you had flipped them off before leaving the room.
  980. >”Anonymous? Nope. Allen the knight was here, and I think he might have been looking for Anonymous too. If you meant Allen, do you want to know where he went?”
  981. >”No, I’m looking for Anon. That kid who sat with you during lunch a few times. Not anyone named Allen, Anon. ANON.”
  982. >”I’m sure he must have gone home by now.” Sweet Leaf answers him. “Isn’t school like, over?”
  983. >”No, the buses haven’t even started their engines yet. No one left, and he’s got to be here somewhere.”
  984. >”Sorry, I haven’t seen him. Can I go back to my weed now?” Sweet Leaf’s voice slightly vibrates her back that leans into you.
  985. >A short pause.
  986. >”Fine, fine. Sure. Sorry to bug you.” The guy replies before stepping away for the door to close onto whatever’s propping it open.
  987. >If Sweet Leaf always keeps the door so obviously propped open, how on earth has she not been caught smoking weed in here yet? The only thing you can imagine is that it’s done at strategic times when there are no teachers around.
  988. >”Were those the bad vibes?” Sweet Leaf whispers to you. “Maybe they actually just want to find that Anonymous kid instead of you.”
  989. >You let out a deep sigh.
  990. “Sweet Leaf. I have a confession.”
  991. >”Where’s your concession?”
  992. “No, confession. And… I AM Anonymous. I’m Anon.”
  993. >Sweet Leaf’s back lifts off of you for a second or two as she loudly gasps in response.
  994. >”Oh my god. Hi, Anon!” Sweet Leaf happily chimes. “Where have you been, dude? I haven’t seen you in like forever!”
  995. >Nobody else sounds like they are coming near the supply closet. You and Sweet Leaf sit there up against the pile of equipment with the dark ceiling looming over the two of you. A long moment of silence passes before Sweet Leaf speaks again.
  996. >”Did that thing with the kids from the other table go well? You guys are getting along now, right?”
  997. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
  998. >”Aww, why are you guys still arguing? Does it have something to do with you hiding from them right now?”
  999. >You give her a nod, hardly able to be seen over her shoulder through the thick, smoky air.
  1000. >”Wait… doesn’t that mean they have your phone?”
  1001. “Yup. They have my phone?”
  1002. >”So why are you hiding from them instead of trying to get it back? It’s… your phone, right?”
  1003. “If you want me to be honest about this, it would be very awkward to just go up to them again after what happened. I’m not going to say what happened, but it was enough to make me not want to go back to them even if it meant that I could get my phone back.”
  1004. >Catching you by surprise, Sweet Leaf wraps an arm around you. It’s not in a romantic way, but more of a way that a friend would do right as they are about to give a life-changing piece of advice.
  1005. >”Axle- I mean Anon. Remember what I said before. It’s only awkward when you make it awkward. You are ultimately in control of how you are in situations, and all you have to do is try harder sometimes. Just tell your brain: “No! I’m not going to allow myself to feel awkward about this. They have my phone, I want it back, so I’m going to go confront them and tell them to give it back.”
  1006. “Well, it’s more of what they’re doing that is making me feel awkward, and they know this, so they do it more to try to make me feel as awkward as possible. Also, I kind of insulted them before they came running after me. And there’s five of them, so…”
  1007. >”Oh, now that makes more sense. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome your awkwardness in general.” Sweet Leaf tells you. “I used to be awkward too when I was younger. And overcoming it was very easy once I got the hang of it.”
  1008. >Look down a little bit.
  1009. “How bad was it?” You ask her. “I mean, I’m pretty much as paranoid as a person can get these days.”
  1010. >”Anon, listen, I’m about to tell you what’s pretty much the story of my life.”
  1011. >She places a finger over your lips as soon as you almost speak again.
  1012. >”Shh, shh. It’s okay. I’m not going to make you go out there, but I want to tell you how I overcame my awkwardness too. So that way you don’t feel alone.” Sweet Leaf sounds overly-enthusiastic as she speaks. “I remember when I was a Freshman at this school. Ooh boy what a time to be alive. I was a little bit shorter than most of the other girls, always dressed in formal school attire, never had conversations with anyone or really any friends at all… except for a few classmates who worked on assignments with me. Just picture a shorter, shyer, 15-year-old me with pitch black hair and in dress clothes like yours. That’s exactly what I was.”
  1013. >Okay, this sounds like you so far. Minus the hair.
  1014. >”Oh, and that also was before I changed my name. I totally forgot what I used to have my name as, it was something oriental-sounding. But the problem was, I was a social trainwreck. Every time I tried to do something normally, something would go wrong. Just something, there was always something. I would try to talk to someone, and then say or do something wrong, freak out internally and lose control of my thoughts and be pretty much out of there in seconds. Some people tried to help me, but it just wasn’t working well.”
  1015. >It’s starting to hit a little closer for you.
  1016. >”But then everything changed when this state legalized marijuana. Everyone would pressure me into trying weed, saying that it was going to make me stop sperging all the time.”
  1017. “When did you start?”
  1018. >”It was around the middle of 9th grade. I had recently experienced so many freakouts during one week that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to talk to Vice Principal Luna about it, but I ended up making her think that I was suicidal or something. I wasn’t, but I had another nervous breakdown in her office and said some things. I was always holding my feelings inside until just the worst possible moments to accidentally let them all come spilling out. I used to be a disaster, Anon. Looking back, I think it was kinda funny as it was cringy. It’s like the awkward stuff you see in TV shows or something. Though, it’s not as funny when it’s happening to you in real life.”
  1019. >Sweet Leaf goes into grand detail about her younger years. She tells the story with a sort of a calm excitement as though it’s the most important thing in the world right now. She really wants to get it through to you how far she’s come in terms of her social personality.
  1020. >”And then it happened. My first time smoking a joint. My psychiatrist diagnosed me with a social disorder or something and things eventually led to my doctor giving me a prescription for medical marijuana. I didn’t really know what to expect of it, already freaking out like I was going to die once I smoked the joint. But I tried it anyway.”
  1021. >She takes an extremely deep breath as she remembers more of her story to tell.
  1022. >”It was the best few hours I ever had so far in my life at the time. After sitting there for a few minutes, all of my social anxiety started to just kinda… melt away. It’s like I was trapped in a coat of ice and the weed was a blowdryer faced towards me. It set me free, is what I’m trying to say.”
  1023. “Are you saying is that I should smoke weed too?”
  1024. >”I’m saying that incorporating it into your life can really help. Like, a lot. During the rest of 9th grade and then so on, I went through some of the most revolutionary changes of my life.”
  1025. “What happened?”
  1026. >”My social life improved like nothing I had ever seen before. It was so much easier to talk to people since I became so chill and mellow. I was having normal conversations as part of a major social group before I knew it. There was no more sperging or acting weird in ways that used to drive people off. I’d have fun and do more things. I even started to improve my diet and eat more healthy foods. I went through a growth spurt where I grew a little taller and stuff. But that was probably only because of my age. My hair eventually started to get greener and greener over time as I started to really get into smoking weed more and more. I liked it so much, that I actually started to do it more often than a lot of the other students. And having a card helped with that. Towards the beginning of this school year, I had completely changed my style, my attitude and my outlook on life. That was practically a few months ago… and here I am now.”
  1027. >She really does sound completely sincere about this.
  1028. “Oh. So this all happened gradually over a period of time?”
  1029. >”Pretty much. But there is one point in all of it that tops all of the other times by far. It was last summer. I’ll never forget how awesome last summer was.”
  1030. “Oh really? What did you do?” You ask, intrigued.
  1031. >”I went to Brothens for the first time.”
  1032. “So what happened at Brothens that changed you life?”
  1033. >Sweet Leaf imaginatively stares at the ceiling, as though time itself has just restarted for her to tell this part of the story. Whatever it is she’s thinking about, it’s something extraordinary.
  1034. >”Dude, like… it’s just the way everything is there. There’s so much to do there, and you can still do nothing at all if you want. Traveling to that place was like entering a dream, and then living inside of it until I finally flew back to here. If you like driving in sports cars at 1 in the morning and taking helicopter rides over large patches of ocean while also having the option of doing nothing and relaxing on a beach the whole time.”
  1035. >Part of you wants to stop her from describing this place to you. The more she talks about it, the more tantalizing it becomes that you can’t go there. You’ve honestly already heard enough about how perfect the place is.
  1036. >”I’d personally just hang out with everyone and surf from time to time. It was probably the scenery that made everything so epic, but the place is literally a utopia. Everything was so easy. It’s like life but on fun mode.”
  1037. >And meanwhile, you’re going to stay here in town all summer, hastily dodging Flash and Twilight every time they pinpoint wherever your current location is.
  1038. >”That’s also where I had my name changed to Sweet Leaf, by the way.”
  1039. “Sweet Leaf, I really want to go there too! What you just described about how you changed your life, I want to do that too! Minus the weed smoking, of course.”
  1040. >”That’s all cool. You want to go there with the rest of us, that’s understandable.”
  1041. “Do you have like… a car or something? I have a feeling that Flash and his group are going to be waiting for me at the bus place.”
  1042. >Sweet Leaf pauses for a moment.
  1043. >”Uh yeah.”
  1044. >You suddenly spawn an idea.
  1045. “When’s the next time you’re going to see the rest of the band class?” You ask. “Is it okay if I come with you?”
  1046. >”Totally! I don’t mind having a friend riding along with me.”
  1047. “Alright. Thanks.” You reply. “So are your band mates going to be meeting up with you at any other point today?”
  1048. >”Nah. Practice already ended. And I usually just say here for a little while and get high while I unwind after practicing. Though, I don’t really have to carry too much heavy equipment.”
  1049. >For the next ten minutes or so, you and Sweet Leaf go between conversing and sitting in silence as she continues to work away at the joint that she holds. Not having been one to do the same, you try to hold your breath every time a cloud of smoke reaches near your face.
  1050. >To be honest, you never exactly planned on getting high at any point during the time you hide. But sitting here in the supply closet with all of this smoke is starting to get to you. You’re not sure how you feel about this.
  1051. >Sweet Leaf did tell you that inhaling this stuff would make your stress ‘melt away’, but the bullying thoughts still linger in your head. You continue to worry about your phone being in the hands of Flash Sentry. Did the screen at least go black before you so rudely left the principal’s office? You remember Celestia letting the screen stay on as she set it beside her. If Flash managed to catch it before the screen turned off, the password would not need to be re-typed.
  1052. >This brand new thought worries you the most as Sweet Leaf complacently rests in front of you and finishes up her last joint before sitting in silence for a few minutes. She’s comfortable, and you’re FAR from it.
  1053. >…
  1054. >”Alright, I think it’s alright for me to be able to drive, now.” Sweet Leaf announces.
  1055. >Your eyes shoot open; you hadn’t even realized that you had started to fall asleep. But the fact that Sweet Leaf might do the same while driving bothers you just about as much as your phone situation does.
  1056. “Uh, isn’t that dangerous?” You ask her. “Like… isn’t high driving pretty much the same as drunk driving?”
  1057. >”Not really. Being drunk is totally different from being high. Ergo, driving drunk is totally different from driving high. It will just mean that I’ll be a lot calmer at the wheel, that’s all.” Conveys the green haired stoner. “Besides, I’ve done this like… a million times before, dude. It’s all right.”
  1058. >Maybe she needs some time to sober up first. Because driving sober is the only right way to do it.
  1059. “I’m pretty sure that’s not true. If a person’s under the influence of anything that alters their attention and motor skills, it is not safe for them to be operating a vehicle until they are sober.”
  1060. >”Ahhhhaa… hahaa, hhaa… motor…” Sweet Leaf giggles. “Like in a car.”
  1061. >You’re clearly not going to get through to this girl. She’s too stoned to comprehend what you’re trying to explain to her. Maybe it’s a better idea to find another way home.
  1062. >But you certainly do mind walking for almost two hours.
  1063. >”It’s cool, Anon! Weed’s legal in this state, remember? I’m not breaking the law.”
  1064. “It is illegal to operate a motorized vehicle when you’re unable to focus well. It doesn’t matter if what you’re on is legal, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s easier for you to crash a car.” You try to clarify. “I mean, being extremely tired isn’t illegal, but driving while under that condition sure is.”
  1065. >”Relax, dude. It’ll be fine. When I’m high and driving, I always go super slow and make everything so careful like the breezewind.”
  1066. “Breezewind?” You ask as you feel her lean forward and stand up. “Plus, you don’t even know the directions to my house.”
  1067. >There’s a good idea. Convince her to let you drive so you make it off of school grounds alive. And you can confidently say that the weed’s not affecting you… since your thoughts are still just as horrifying and painful as ever. Though, you do remember holding your breath half the time you were in the closet with Sweet Leaf.
  1068. >Just go with that, you’ll take what you can get at this point. You’re sober.
  1069. >Sober and still upset.
  1070. >Before you know it, you and Sweet Leaf step out of the supply closet. She holds the door open with her hand for a minute or two and airs out the tiny room, dispersing the evidence of what she was doing in there.
  1071. >The door is eventually shut and Sweet Leaf gestures for you to follow her to wherever she parked her car. You never even saw what was propping the door open to begin with.
  1072. >”Oh by the way, you can call me Mary for short.” Reveals Sweet Leaf as she walks beside you. “It’s my middle name; I forgot to tell you that before.”
  1073. >She’s walking remarkable well for someone who’s high.
  1074. “Um… alright. Good to know, Mary.”
  1075. >The two of you approach her car. It’s one of those standard cars that you see on the road everyday that’s usually bought to just get someone to work and back. It’s even dark green.
  1076. >”Do you just want me to drive? I’m really good at driving high, it’s no trouble.”
  1077. “But you don’t know where I live.” You explain. “And I’ll clearly drive a lot faster than you if you usually drive slow when you’re high anyway. It’s just a better idea that way. Trust me, I’m not gonna wreck your car.”
  1078. >That should convince her.
  1079. >”Whoa… I never thought of it that way. Dude, you’re like some kind of a genius.”
  1080. >Sweet “Mary” Leaf slips a scrunchy bracelet off of her wrist, revealing that she has a key attached to it. She hands it to you as the two of you approach the car. Knowing what to do, you unlock the door and climb into the driver’s seat. The car’s rather roomy, seeming noticeably clean and well taken care of.
  1081. >”I’ll just go around to the other side.” Mary tells you as she skips around the back of her car towards the passenger side.
  1082. >She slips in and you turn on the ignition.
  1083. “Um… one more thing.” You add. “You promise to not tell anyone about where I live or how I drove there, right?”
  1084. >This proposal is probably meaningless, since you’ve previously blurted out your address to the other students in the field. But still, the less people who know, the better.
  1085. >”Of course I won’t tell anyone. Just go ahead and make it to your house. I promise I’ll sober up enough to drive myself home after you leave.”
  1086. “Alright.” You conclude. “Uh… thanks.”
  1087. >”You’re welcome.”
  1088. >Why does that phrase still have to affect you the way it does?
  1089. >Anyway, you pull out of the parking space and drive towards the exit of the parking lot. Mary thoroughly buckles herself in, making sure the seatbelt was on the proper way and then tightened so she couldn’t possibly move around, being as pinned to the seat as possible “for the sake of safety”. You see absolutely no signs of the buses, indicating that the school day must have long ended. Wherever your phone is, you cannot begin to imagine anything good. Best case scenario, it’s still sitting in Principal Celestia’s office, untouched. But you find that highly unlikely.
  1090. >The drive to your house goes a little more smoothly that you had expected. And a lot more smoothly than how it would have gone if Mary was driving. It’s not like it’s her fault or anything, she’s just too high to drive. There are a couple of moments when Mary starts to giggle uncontrollably when you slowly turn corners. She’s compliment you on how safe you’re being and become excited over the car not getting hit by anything.
  1091. >She’s admittedly more fun to be around than you had imagined.
  1092. >The only thing you’re conflicted about that involves her is whether or not to call her Sweet Leaf or Mary. She suddenly told you that you can call her something different out of nowhere, and you’re just too used to calling her Sweet Leaf, despite you barely knowing her at all during the past week or so. Mary’s shorter of a name anyway, so whatever.
  1093. >A few more streets are passed and driven down until you finally reach your neighborhood. The drive down your street in someone else’s car does feel at least a little bit adventurous, probably because it’s something that is unfamiliar to you. But that feeling abruptly fades away as you swear that you recognize something as you approach your house.
  1094. >Is that Flash’s car?
  1095. >You almost get the instinct to slam on the breaks as you recognize the emblem on Flash’s car. You’re seen it enough times to be able to point it out its unique design.
  1096. >And before you know it, you recognize his blue hair through the window, confirming that Flash Sentry has indeed found hi way to your house. Whether or not he has your phone is still a mystery. You also notice the heads of his friends in his car as well. They tagged along.
  1097. >A million and one plans present themselves to your imagination, desperately urging you to pick the right one to overcome whatever lies ahead. But your logic feels too scrambled. The last thing you want to do is freak out again;you’ve already confirmed to yourself that you’re not high like “Mary” (Sweet Leaf).
  1098. “Uh oh.” You quietly sound out as the car that you’re driving gets close enough to Flash’s car for them all to see you.
  1099. >”What’s wrong?” Mary asks you.
  1100. >Without saying another word, you slow the car to a stop and point directly ahead to Flash’s car that’s literally across the street from your house. Make no mistake, they’ve found your address, and went through with physically going there. Part of you knew that this was going to happen sooner or later.
  1101. >”Oh no!” She gasps. “Is that Flash? I’ve seen that car before!”
  1102. “Looks like it.”
  1103. >”Anon, listen, let me take care of them. They don’t got nothing on me.”
  1104. >Mary steps out of the car before you can say anything else. Flash and his friends turn their heads towards the two of you, soon recognizing you and widening their eyes. The smile that spreads on Flash’s face comes across as troubling.
  1105. >As the rest of the guys emerge from the car, you begin to hear them making whistling sounds and talking over eachother. Finally, you hear Valhallen speak with no one else’s voice making it hard to listen to what he’s saying.
  1106. >”Looks like Anon’s cheating on Sunset, guys!” He calls out, followed by laughter from his buddies.
  1107. >”And just what… is that… supposed to mean?” Mary breathily interrogates him with a finger pointed in his general direction.
  1108. >”I think we all can tell what’s going on, here.” Flash takes over. “Our buddy Anon here has turned his back on his little text-lover for Sweet Leaf over here. I’m sure it must have been her lure of her charismatic chill persona that just… strikes him by the heart.”
  1109. >”Neither of us have any idea what you’re talking about, Flash!” Mary almost slurs as she clumsily steps towards them. “I think the real question is, what are you doing in Anon’s neighborhood, dude?”
  1110. >”Oh that? Aww, we’re just taking the liberty of giving him his phone back. Why wouldn’t he want it back after all that history he has with Sunset on it? Those two have had such romantic conversations in the last hour or so, and Sunset would agree so too!”
  1111. >Flash walks up to the driver’s window and slips the phone through the open crack. You almost feel like opening abruptly the door to knock him to the ground, but your logic is telling you that might not be such a good move. Instead, you pick up your phone and turn on the screen.
  1112. >Nothing looks too different at first.
  1113. >”If you think that this is what it looks like… you are like… sooooohohoho wrong!” Mary proclaims. “Anon and I were only hiding in that closet at the stadium.”
  1114. >Flash and his friends begin to chuckle at the statement.
  1115. >”And what did you two do in the closet? Alone… together…”
  1116. >”I smoked weed while he was only there because he was hiding from you meanies!”
  1117. >”Wait a minute… how come I didn’t see Anon in there with you.” Curly Winds brings up. “I don’t remember anyone but Sweet being in there.”
  1118. >”Do you not get it? He was… hiding!” Mary tells him, almost whispering when she shows emphasis. “He was hiding from you guys because you were chasing him around the place! He would have never even been in there if you weren’t forming an angry mob and going after him like he’s the loch ness vampire!”
  1119. >”Yeah, sure. I’m sure you two were doing a lot more in there than just ‘hiding’.” Flash implies. “Maybe Anon was just under her and you didn’t see him, Curls.”
  1120. >”She was sitting on top of a bunch of equipment, man. And I looked around the rest of the closet; he wasn’t there.” Curly Winds verifies. “If Anon was there, I would have seen him. She’s lying for him.”
  1121. >”Aww isn’t that sweet, isn’t it, Sweet Leaf?”
  1122. >You finally get to the screen of your phone where it reveals your most recent texts. You open the one up for Twilight’s number first. Nothing seems to be different as you scroll through everything. That cupid text rolls by and gives your spine another shiver once again.
  1123. >Sunset’s number is next. You open it up and instantly see something different once you pull up the screen.
  1124. >Here’s what the most recent texts look like:
  1125. [I’m so glad I could finally open up to you like this, Sunset. I wish I could have told you about how much I loved you, but Flash and the others made me so insecure, I just didn’t know what to do.]
  1126. >[OMG I totally knew it! I knew you really felt this way for me! Don’t worry about what Flash thinks, all that matters is that I love you and that’s it. Maybe we can date at some point, I’m totally up for it.]
  1127. [Oh wait, hang on. Flash is here right beside me now. I can’t say anything else while he’s here watching.]
  1128. >[Wait, it’s okay. Let them judge, it’s okay. I’ll defend you.]
  1129. [But what about me being the heartbreaker to them and all that? What would I tell them?]
  1130. >[You don’t need that, Anon. Look, I know that you wanted to do… something to prove to them that you’re right and they’re wrong. But just prove the battle itself wrong and let it go. There’s nothing wrong with getting into a relationship that the others know about, I’m sure we can make something work out.]
  1131. >Still buckled into the driver’s seat, you feel your entire body begin to tremble with boiling rage.
  1132. >[It’ll be alright. I knew you’d come around eventually. Sure, it was probably more logical for me to just accept it the first time when you said no, but I just can’t help myself.]
  1133. [What do you mean?]
  1134. >[I just had to do this, okay? I don’t know what came over me, but I just can’t help but feel like this needs to happen. And I was honestly prepared to keep asking you out over and over again. I know that sounds silly, but I guess love just does crazy things, huh?]
  1135. [Love made me do crazy things too, Sunset. I guess that I’m really tsundere when it comes to you. But I guess you and Twilight’s craziness was something I was no match for. lol]
  1136. >[Haha I guess. So are you going to at least make this a thing with Flash so we can put all of this behind us? I mean, it’s pretty clear to me now at least that you have feelings for me. The guy’s been wanting closure about it for ages now. So has Twilight.]
  1137. [But Sunset. They must never ever ever ever know.]
  1138. >[Anon, I don’t want this tension between you and them to last any longer. Just confess it all to them already. Like, there’s really no backing out of this, now. Just let it happen.]
  1139. [But Sunny!]
  1140. >[lol just tell them <3 it’s okay! If you don’t I can just do it for you. Would you like it better that way?]
  1141. [ugh.]
  1142. >[Trust me. It’s for your own good. And mine too. And everyone’s, really. One day, we’re going to look back on all of this and laugh at how silly we were.]
  1143. >It’s for your own good.
  1144. >You watch Flash and Mary continue their back-and-forth in front of the car as you realize the consistency between Sunset’s words and Twilight’s words.
  1145. >It’s for your own good.
  1146. >Go back to reading the messages again. There’s only one lone message from Sunset left.
  1147. >[Come on, Anon. You trust me, right? :)]
  1148. >It’s for your own good.
  1149. >No… this is… no…
  1150. >”And furthermore…” Mary continues to adorably ramble before Flash interrupts her.
  1151. >”Anon loves both of you back, so why don’t-”
  1152. >You press your hand on the car horn for a good ten seconds.
  1153. >All eyes are glued on you as you slowly emerge from the car. The eyes of Flash and his friends, the eyes of Mary, and the eyes of the neighbors who heard the long honk of the car horn from inside their houses. You left the motor running, and you leave the door open behind you.
  1154. >Judging by the look on Flash’s face, you already have a good idea of what your own face looks like.
  1155. >”Well look who decided to join us!” Thunderbass breaks the silence.
  1156. >Flash turns to him and makes a hand motion for him to cut it out, despite you being outnumbered by them anyway.
  1157. >”Just chill, Anon.” Flash says to you. “It’s over.”
  1158. >The nerve he has to put those two sentences right next to eachother has to be something else. Your hatred for him can only grow stronger and you stride closer to him. Your racing heart grows louder as you can only grow bolder. The tension grows tighter as your trust for anyone but yourself shrinks to nothing.
  1159. >Look around.
  1160. >You can count at least five windows that have faces peering out from the inside. Faces that belong to potential witnesses to whatever is about to happen. You already know that the view of the cameras do not reach to across the street from your house, which is where you and Flash have been parked this whole time. You had observed this since the very second you spotted his car a couple of minutes ago; knowing that he was still out of recorded view.
  1161. >Some of the faces in the windows are faces that you recognize, and vice versa.
  1162. >If you were to do anything extreme right now, you would be the one who appears to be in the wrong. On top of this, what if one of your neighbors calls the police? You can only imagine how this whole scene looks to those viewing if from inside their houses. And the police have already been at YOUR HOUSE already a couple of days ago. It’s not like your neighbors wouldn’t automatically be on edge about this whole thing.
  1163. >Mary, seeming unfazed by any of this, stays in place as the other guys begin to pace around as you draw closer to them. They eventually form a half circle around you. As this happens, you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket once more. But you ignore it.
  1164. >”Anon…” Flash repeats. “It’s… over!”
  1165. “You’re wrong.”
  1166. >The voice that escapes you growls at Flash with a passion that can only stem from pure animosity. The voice of an individual who has long tried to make things right, but executed his actions incorrectly and has been endlessly bastardized because of such a flaw. The voice of someone who has had far more than enough.
  1167. >And it fits you like a slipper; you really have had enough.
  1168. >Flash slowly backs away in the face of your snarling glare, looking somewhat concerned on the outside at least. Using whatever you can as an advantage, you take a single step forward. The other guys collectively “ooh” in response.
  1169. >”Easy there, big guy.” Thunderbass sarcastically mocks you. “Wouldn’t try to break something less vulnerable than a heart, would we?”
  1170. >You never even noticed your hands tightly clench into fists.
  1171. “Go… away…”
  1172. >There is a long pause before most of the guys start to head back to Flash’s car. They go there one by one, surprisingly almost in a single file line. A still high-as-a-kite Mary watches them, imitating duck sounds as they enter the car one by one.
  1173. >The neighbors must be more than confused right now.
  1174. >But all except for one of the guys retreats to the car. And guess which one stays out in the open?
  1175. >”Dude, come on. We gave him the phone already. Let’s just go now.” Brawly Beats urges Flash. “There’s nothing else anyone can do.”
  1176. >”Yeah, bro. We won. Let’s get outta here.” Thunderbass agrees.
  1177. >”Yeah! Get in the clown car!” Mary adds.
  1178. >”You go away, Anon.” Flash challenges you.
  1179. >A pressing urge rises within you. Attempts to repress it are made, but the urge only gets stronger each second longer that Flash stands right there in front of you.
  1180. >About 30 seconds pass with you and Flash facing eachother, neither of you moving. The standoff can only get worse as you see one of your neighbors walks out their front door, heading towards the scene. Mary sits back down into the passenger seat of her car, probably expecting you to get back in for some reason.
  1181. >Again, you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket.
  1182. >”Aren’t you going to answer that?” Flash teases. “It’s probably your lover.”
  1183. “I don’t have a lover, Flash. And I never will have one.”
  1184. >”That’s not exactly your decision. You’re not immune to being seduced by a girl, Anon. And that’s what you need to get through your thick head.”
  1185. “You determine nothing, Flash. And the fact that you have to sabotage my own phone and send text messages to Sunset while pretending to me really says a lot about how little else you can do. Think about it, Flash. Why else would you NEED to do this?”
  1186. >”What are you getting at?”
  1187. “If what you’re saying about me not being ‘immune’ is true, then you wouldn’t need to impersonate me and put false statements into my mouth. That fact alone should be enough proof that you can’t force me to love Sunset.”
  1188. >You’re not sure if this is a good alternative to punching him in the face. It’s seemingly effective right now, but you sure don’t feel at all satisfied.
  1189. >Just hold it in, Anon. Let your punches hit Flash through your words.
  1190. >Think back to more incidents and come to realizations as you voice them out.
  1191. “And that really goes to show how desperate and pathetic you are. I mean… what Twilight did in the Principal’s office has something to do with all of this, doesn’t it? I wouldn’t be surprised if you tried to get her to try to seduce me herself right there in front of everyone since you couldn’t get Sunset to do it. But that got messed up, didn’t it?”
  1192. >”Stop dragging her into this! She’s not going to be Valedictorian anymore because of you!”
  1193. “Well who’s fault is that, Flash? Maybe you should have let all of this go!”
  1194. >”This is all your fault and you know it! All you had to do was say yes and it would have all been over. That’s just the way it’s done, Anon. Guy gets asked out by hot girl, says yes, they see how it goes and they take it from there. And if it works out, then that’s great and if it doesn’t, well at least now you know that you two weren’t a match. But at least you got to date her for a little while, so that’s a plus.”
  1195. “But I didn’t WANT to date her in the first place.”
  1196. >”Oh don’t give me that. We all know that you secretly like her and you’re just saying no to her so you can seem cool and make her want you even more. I bet you like the fact that she’s asking you out constantly, don’t you? You’re being tsundere and trying to milk this whole Heartbreaker thing for as long as you possibly can. That’s not cool, man. You’re SUPPOSED to say yes to her. That’s how the story’s SUPPOSED to go with people. Boy secretly likes girl and doesn’t want to admit it, she turns out to like him back and asks him out, the relationship takes off from there. This is what every guy like you wants.”
  1197. “Every guy like me? How pretentious can you get?”
  1198. >”I should be asking you the same thing.”
  1199. “Why should you? I’m not the one who’s stealing someone’s phone and impersonating them so it looks like they’re doing what I want them to. You know, something tells me that you just want Sunset to go out with me so you can steal her from me.”
  1200. >Flash promptly furrows his brow, obviously pushing the impression.
  1201. >”That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard you say.” Flash insults you before turning to everyone else. “This is coming from a paranoid lunatic.”
  1202. “Just because I get paranoid doesn’t mean that you’re not in the wrong. All it means is that I was right. And I was right again just now, wasn’t I? Sunset left you for Norman, and then left Norman for me, a guy whom you could easily outshine. Tell me, Flash. How long have you been waiting for this?”
  1203. >Your phone vibrates in your pocket again, cutting you off before you can start your next sentence.
  1204. >”There she is again, Anon. Aren’t you going to answer to your lover?”
  1205. “Your implications are powerless here, Flash.” You proudly and confidently declare, pulling out your phone and getting ready to become the witty jerk that Flash has never seen. “Sunset Shimmer is NOT my lover. She’s just a girl who thinks that I am the one.”
  1206. >”Maybe one day, the kid will be your son.” Flash plays along with your musical reference. “Love isn’t always on time.”
  1207. “Maybe you sent it to the wrong address.” You rebut as you look at the most recent texts.
  1208. >Read them.
  1209. >[Anon. Are you there?]
  1210. >[Anon, please answer me.]
  1211. >[Alright you know what? Fine. Go ahead and type your pathetic little paragraphs again. But that won’t change the fact that you have feeling for at least SOMEONE in this world. And that someone is going to be me, I swear it. I don’t care if you really know what’s going on at this point, it’s not going to save you. Twilight’s an unstoppable matchmaker like no one’s ever seen, and she knows what you’re feeling for me.]
  1212. >Next message because of whatever character limit her phone has.
  1213. >[I know what you’re feeling for me. Twilight knows, Flash knows, everyone knows. You can’t run forever, Anon. Nobody rejects me and gets away with it. It’s already out in the open on your end now, so guess what? I’m telling my side of the truth too! We all have been in on this. Everyone is helping me and not you. You’re alone, loverboy. Stubborn and alone. But not for long.]
  1214. >Last message.
  1215. >[I’m going to make you love me. Sooner or later.]
  1216. >The corners of your mouth cannot help but push upward as you slowly turn the phone’s screen towards Flash. A distant flash of lightning to the west followed by subtle thunder only adds to the moment.
  1217. >It’s going to rain in a little bit.
  1218. >Saying nothing, Flash stands in place. He’s completely stationary, like a statue.
  1219. >The phone is held up to his face as he reads the texts over and over. All you have to do now is wait for him to cave in and finally say something in response. You eventually lower your arm down, and Flash’s face is nothing short of a look of uncertainty.
  1220. >”A-Anon…” I don’t know what it was you did, but-”
  1221. “No. Leave.” You impatiently skip the preliminaries. “Just go. Get out. This isn’t where you live.”
  1222. >”Dude, let’s just go. There’s nowhere else to go with this.” another one of Flash’s buddies calls out from the car.
  1223. >After standing in front of you for about another 10 seconds, Flash shrugs and begins to walk away from you. He doesn’t stick around to try to counter what you just showed him. He doesn’t try to damage control this time. You’re pretty sure that there’s nothing he CAN do at all about this.
  1224. >”Come on, man. Let’s just go.”
  1225. >”Alright. Fine.” Flash finally verbally agrees. “But this isn’t over.”
  1226. >Don’t answer him. Just stare him down until he gets into his car. A wave of pride washes over you as you realize that you got Flash to get lost first. And for a good reason, too.
  1227. >”This isn’t over!” Flash repeats as he drives down the street away from your house.
  1228. >And just like that, it was over. For today, at least.
  1229. >You turn back to look at Mary, who has now shifted over to the driver’s seat of her car. She probably just remembered that you just drove to your house, and that she’s going to be alone after you go inside. As much as you’d like to stay and chat with her, you have some contacts to delete on your phone and Norman to stay in contact with.
  1230. “Anyway… this is my place. Not really much of a secret anymore, huh?” You say to her.
  1231. >”Ah, it’s fine. I’m probably going to forget how we got here in a couple of hours, anyway.” She responds with a laugh.
  1232. >You laugh along and watch her start up her car.
  1233. >”I’ll tell the other band people that you want a ticket too. I’ll see what they say, alright?”
  1234. “Got it. I’ll see you soon, I guess. Sorry about all this.”
  1235. >”It’s fine. And I’ll be extra safe on the road, too. Anyway, tootles!” Mary bids you off as she begins to drive away as well.
  1236. >You kindly wave to her, watching the tail lights slowly disappear into the distance. Once she’s finally gone, the neighbor that walked outside during the confrontation approaches you. But before he can do so much as speak to you, you head inside, completely ignoring him.
  1237. >…
  1238. >Over an hour later.
  1239. >It really was going to rain today. You begin to hear the pitter patter of the raindrops hitting the roof of your house. The sound of the impacts really should soothe you; it really should.
  1240. >But the shock that you had before is beginning to wear off. You look back to Sunset’s most recent messages, and calmly read the final one.
  1241. >[I’m going to make you love me. Sooner or later.]
  1242. >There it goes.
  1243. >All of that trust that you used to hold for Sunset Shimmer. All of the compassion that you felt for her, the pity, the guilt, the willingness to at least help her make her way through this and get past the tough times.
  1244. >The part of you that was nice to her, accepting her kindness. The part of you that felt bad for her that she was caught up in all of this nonsense. The part that would have never suspected her to be behind the entire thing. Oh how stupid that part of you was. And the fact that it took a message like that from her in order to get it through your head almost makes you lose faith in your intelligence. You should have seen this coming.
  1245. >All of that left so suddenly; pulled away from your heart and left you in the cold. What’s left is how you should have felt before.
  1246. >Not a single one of them can be trusted anymore.
  1247. >And so… you stare at your reflection once more. But not a single tear fills your eyes. You just gaze at your reflection, saying nothing. Doing nothing.
  1248. >And when you finally start taking action again, the first thing you do is block Sunset’s number from your phone. And then Twilight’s number, and then Rainbow Dash’s number, and then Fluttershy’s number. The only number that you do not block is Norman’s number.
  1249. >You feel like asking him if he knows Sweet (Mary) Leaf’s number, but you’re not sure if he’d have it on his phone. Your best bet is to go to the stadium ah hour before the same time tomorrow, since Mary did swear that she’d probably forget where your house is.
  1250. >The only thing you can be sure about is that you were a fool to trust Sunset Shimmer this entire time. It only took her to stop trying to win your trust over through elaborately constructed circumstances and reveal the truth in order for your eyes to finally be opened. The fact that she was away from school and kept acting all sweet and cuddly really had you for a while there, didn’t it.
  1251. >She played you like a fiddle. A girl, that you had every logical reason to believe that wouldn’t side with you, still played you like a fiddle.
  1252. >And that idiot who was played stares back at you in the mirror. But you do not cry. That is the last thing you’re going to do at this point. There’s no anger or sadness left in you.
  1253. >A smile germinates on your face… little by little. A warmth can be felt bubbling up inside of your lungs, swelling to the top. And it comes out as a sudden burst of laughter.
  1254. >This is the most surprising thing you have observed happen right before your very eyes, but everything inside of you has lost all ability to care anymore. Caring is for Anon, the man in the mirror. But there’s a decision that you’ve just made.
  1255. >You no longer want to be the man in the mirror.
  1256. >Laugh in the wake of the loss of your trustworthy companion, Sunset Shimmer. Anon was her gullible friend; not you. The laughter only grows louder as the rain outside grows heavier.
  1257. >Today, you cannot decide who broke harder. Twilight… or you.
  1258. >Sit in front of your computer as the night marches on.
  1259. >The thoughts, the ones from before that kept you on edge, have all died out. You sit at your computer with a wide smile on your face while browsing the internet. The feeling of freedom is strong with this day, despite you having snapped again. But all in all, it feels like it turned out to be foe the right reasons.
  1260. >You no longer have any obligations to trust Sunset. All of that sweet talk that she was hiding behind before has crumbled. She had thought that you gave in, giving her a false green light to go ahead and reveal the fact that she was part of the plan the entire time. She really did believe that she was home free, didn’t she? You can’t wait until she finally speaks with Flash, realizing that they happened to get ahold of your phone and fake text messages from you.
  1261. >She’s probably going to go to them and Twilight to see what she can do to push you off the deep end, since she believes that you’re so close to it. Sunset’s going to hear Flash go on about how she should have kept her mouth shut and not revealed that she was part of the plan, since the messages from you were not actually the result of you caving in. You can already picturing them getting into a heated argument, only to later realize that you have block both Twilight’s number and Sunset’s number.
  1262. >And not only this, but the school year is finally officially over. You wish you had been thinking straight a couple of hours ago so you could have realized this once you had left the school grounds. Maybe you did stay in that supply closet for long enough to be affected by the weed. Looking back, you hadn’t shouted at Flash at all even after you realized that Sunset was working with him to trick you. You stayed calm and just delivered the facts.
  1263. >You just wish that you hadn’t forgotten to at least ask for Mary’s number. Something made you focus on putting Flash in his place once and for all, and you lost sight of everything else.
  1264. >Whatever, you really don’t care what happened at this point.
  1265. >Nothing happens for the rest of the night. It pretty much just consists of you feeling pretty good about yourself for (somewhat) getting to a conclusion to the past week and a half of… whatever on earth this whole thing has been. All that matters is that you’ve blocked everyone’s number but Norman’s, you’re not talking to those who betrayed you anymore, and you’re moving on. It’s already starting to get late, and you’re worn out; you’ll talk to Norman tomorrow.
  1266. >Finally go to bed, falling asleep pretty much immediately.
  1267. >…
  1268. >Only the slightest sound wakes you up in the middle of the darkness.
  1269. >All night long, you had been resting your mind, confident that all of your problems have been solved. There is literally nothing else you have to worry about; this entire situation is under control. You’re so comfortable, you could sleep through a truck honking its horn right in front of your house. If Sunset does try to do something and come up to your front lawn in the middle of the night, holding up a boombox like in the clichéd movie scenes, it will do her no good.
  1270. >All she’s going to get from you is resounding silence, accompanied by possible snoring. Not even the loudest of of sounds outside can wake you up.
  1271. >But there is a very faint sound you hear that catches your attention immediately. You can already tell that it’s not ordinary, due to you waking up to hear it. All of your comfort is suddenly washed away from you.
  1272. >That very quiet and unfamiliar sound came from inside your room. And the way it just stood out from the rest of the silence, no part of you wants to ignore it.
  1273. >And then you hear it again.
  1274. >The best thing to compare it to is the sound of soft fabric brushing up against the smooth surface of a wall. It’s barely even audible, but what it might imply is what had put you on alert.
  1275. >Of course, you go through your natural ‘being spooked out be a tiny thing because you’re in bed in the dark’ reaction. Stay silent, hiding under the covers. But your logic is already telling you that it’s nothing. This has been the case ever since you were a little kid.
  1276. >It’s time to overcome your mind. Take control and pull the covers away from only your face.
  1277. >Peer into the room.
  1278. >Nothing but pitch blackness. You’d imagine that your eyes wouldn’t need to adjust since they’ve already been closed for hours.
  1279. >Your eyes eventually do adjust… and you scan your room. Your sights halt at the far corner. There’s no mistake here, you see something unfamiliar to your room.
  1280. >…
  1281. >Is that Twilight?
  1282. >Squint into the darkness to somehow get a better view. You honestly would first believe that you’re hallucinating this whole thing before believing that it’s actually happening. You’d believe that this is all a dream more than anything else. You’ve dreamt about waking up like this before.
  1283. >But Twilight is still there, standing behind your dresser. She remains perfectly still, bit eerily smiles at you as though she’s just waiting for you to scream for someone. You truly do want to let out a scream, but nothing can escape your mouth as you silently stare at Twilight. But she eventually speaks.
  1284. >”I’m not going to hurt you, Anon.” She whispers, starting to step closer after noticing you spot her. “You’ve crossed the line so many times now, and I’m just setting you on the right track. I just want you to know that.”
  1285. >You’d hate to see what her idea of something that’s ‘on track’ is.
  1286. “How did you get in here?” Is your only thought.
  1287. >”I know you’re going to keep pushing me away, Anon. I’m prepared for that.”
  1288. “No, go away, you-”
  1289. >She’s on top of you before you can even say another word. You hardly had a chance to react to this, not having seen her move so quickly. Her hand covering your mouth is the only thing that stops you from cursing her name to no end. Twilight lets her bodyweight bear down on you by your thighs to keep you from springing up.
  1290. >Still in the purgatory between deciding whether or not you’re awake, you begin to squirm angrily, but almost too calmly as Twilight smiles down to you.
  1291. >”There’s nothing wrong with the urge, Anon.”
  1292. “Twilight…”
  1293. >Your head continues to spin from your massive fatigue. Desperation pushes you try to push Twilight off once again, but she grabs your wrists and holds them down. Creepily enough, she’s still smiling throughout all of this.
  1294. >”Anon… don’t be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you. It’s alright, I’m not going to hurt you…” Twilight repeatedly promises as you feel her hands sliding onto your hips.
  1295. >It takes a few seconds for your brain to gradually wake up. You really cannot come to your senses soon enough.
  1296. >”And don’t think calling out to anyone is going to get you out of this.” Twilight whispers to you as your twitches finally start to get stronger and stronger. “In the blink of an eye, I can disappear just as fast as I appeared.”
  1297. >Open your mouth to call out to your parents down the hall. All that escapes your mouth is the slightest squeak. You expect to see your arms flailing around, the they’re not even in sight. You almost cannot even feel them moving around.
  1298. “You’re not a ghost, Twilight. You can’t just appear and disappear. Also, you’ve just made a terrible mistake by coming in here.” You begin to remember as she flips you onto your back. “There is video proof of however you got in here. My parents set up security cameras all over the house.”
  1299. >She listens to you grunt out the facts, seeming unfazed by what you just revealed to her.
  1300. >”Shh… there won’t be anything on the cameras, Anon.” Twilight returns. “Everything’s going to be okay.”
  1301. “You screwed up, Twilight. The police are going to be called and everyone’s going to know that it was you. I know that one of the cameras must have gotten you.”
  1302. >Twilight’s hand can be felt tugging at the rim of your boxers. It has become clear what she’s trying to do. You swing your arm up to punch her in the face, but there’s no hand or anything there to hit her with. It’s like your arms have completely vanished. Either that or you grew a second pair of arms that are borderline imaginary, aside the face that they are the only limbs that you can control.
  1303. >These invisible arms that you’re controlling aren’t even there; it’s as though you’ve partially turned into a ghost or something.
  1304. >If these apparently imaginary limbs have substituted your real arms in terms of what you can sense having some sort of control over, then where are your real arms?
  1305. >Your boxers are tugged down even more as a dizziness sensation falls over you. Twilight continues to smile at you in the dark, as if knowing something that you don’t. You try to call out again, but there is just no energy to do such a thing.
  1306. >”Look at the two of us, Anon. We’re just two broken people. Cheated out of our love and happiness by eachother. It’s quite funny that we ended up being together like this. But maybe we broke apart for a good reason. It’s like taking the caps off of two bottles… now we can connect. The things that kept us incompatible were in the way before; my perfect academic streak and your serenity. But the chips are down, Anon. We understand eachother’s pain, now. You know and I know what it’s like to lose everything that kept your whole world together. We’ve both seen our worlds crumble around us.”
  1307. “Get… off…”
  1308. >Twilight lets out a soft chuckle.
  1309. >”Do you know how adept I am with magic, Anon? There will be no getting off on my end until you do it first.” She coos. “Because my magic reaches further than you know, Anon. And do you know why?”
  1310. >She waits for you to answer, which don’t as you continue to weakly struggle.
  1311. >”It’s friendship, Anon. Friendship. That’s what holds the magic together.” Twilight answers her own question.
  1312. “I’ll e-end you…”
  1313. >”You don’t mean that, Anon. Soon, everything will come clear once you learn how to love somebody. I’ll show you how, Anon. I’ll show you how it feels.”
  1314. >Her hands slip your boxers a little bit further down, seeming to be angled in the strangest way. She would have to be sitting behind you in order to be reaching from the direction she is.
  1315. >And where are your own arms in all of this?
  1316. >”You’re a diamond in the rough, Anon. But I’m here to bring you out.” Twilight continues with the same gleeful grin on her face. “It looks like you can’t learn to love Sunset until you learn to practice with me first. But you’ll see.”
  1317. >Out of everything about this situation, Twilight’s insane logic scares you the most.
  1318. >Now would be the perfect time for all of this to turn out to be a dream, because you’re pretty much completely overpowered at this point. The squirming is becoming more and more pointless by the second, and Twilight’s going to have you exposed soon enough. Something in you feels like that would be game over for you.
  1319. >For a second, you’re absolutely sure that she’s going to seduce you… and do unspeakable things to you. It’s drawing closer, and all you can do about it is lie here in your bed. Completely helpless.
  1320. >”You have to let it all in, Anon. Let it in so it can turn you in the right direction. It’s okay to fall in love with someone and feel these things for them. It’s going to happen no matter what. Just let it all happen, and then let your feelings out.”
  1321. “T-Twilight…” You grunt again in resistance.
  1322. >”It’s okay. You can say my name.”
  1323. “Get out of my house.”
  1324. >”Aww… I didn’t have to go anywhere else in your house except for where we are now. It’s just you and me in this bed, don’t you see? I’m helping you have an eye opening experience.”
  1325. “Then how are you here?” You’re suddenly curious to know, seeing that there’s really nothing else to dwell upon at this point.
  1326. >”It’s magic, Anon. And I’m about to show you what magic can really do.”
  1327. >A sudden loud sound startles the two of you. It forces every muscle to tense in your body and jolt powerfully enough to regain control of your senses. As this happens, you finally feel where your hands are; they’re on your hips.
  1328. >Twilight’s “hands” were your hands all along, but didn’t seem so because of what was evidently sleep paralysis.
  1329. >You shoot up, swinging around your arms in the space where Twilight used to hover over you. After realizing that she’s vanished, turn your attention to your nightstand.
  1330. >The loud sound that startled you attributes to your phone vibrating.
  1331. >One new message.
  1332. >After taking a minute or two to pull yourself together, you take a look at the screen of your phone. There’s a new text coming in from Norman’s number, which really shouldn’t be a surprise to you. All of the other numbers in your contacts have been deleted.
  1333. >[Hey dude. Sorry about everything that happened today, but I just hope you’re doing okay. Listen, you know that girl Sweet Leaf, right?]
  1334. >Going right back to being on edge, you run countless scenarios in your head in which Mary had been part of this thing somehow and Norman found out about it. It really isn’t something you at all want to believe, but if it’s the truth, you don’t exactly have a choice in the matter.
  1335. >Another message from Norman appears.
  1336. >[You’re still awake, right]
  1337. >A quick glance over to the clock reveals to you that it is 1:47 in the morning. The sight of your clock puts the impression in your head that you need to get at least a little bit more rest until tomorrow morning.
  1338. >There must be something you can do to help clear your head and drain your consciousness of all these sour thoughts that dare to haunt you during the night. The last thing you need is more sleep paralysis, and talking to Norman for a little bit might ease you up a little bit before going back to bed a few minutes later.
  1339. >A quiet groan escapes you as you feel like the thoughts are already coming back. You’re not even half asleep this time, but varieties of worries even worse than those during the day than are bombarding your mind.
  1340. >It’s crucial that you get a grip of your stability.
  1341. >Get ready to answer Norman, but first, you decide that it’s a good idea to get some fresh air from outside by opening the window. You might even go downstairs to fetch yourself a glass of water. But you might be just a little too lazy to go through with that part.
  1342. >You lightly push the curtains to the sides and find yourself paralyzed. What you see on the other side of the glass can’t possibly be due to fatigue this time.
  1343. >Twilight Sparkle is right there on the outside of your window, clear as day despite the time. Her silhouette is unmistakable, and her glowing eyes piercing straight through the glass at you.
  1344. >No screams come out of you as you face the window, though it probably wouldn’t matter if you had made any noise anyway. In less than three seconds of an awkward stare, Twilight drops from the window and disappears into the blackness outside.
  1345. >You don’t hear her hit the ground.
  1346. >As you forcibly shut the curtains, all you can hear outside is what you’re more than certain is the sound of wings flapping. This prompts your already active imagination to go wild with the worst possibilities.
  1347. >The thing that Twilight said about magic and not being anywhere else in your house suddenly starts to make sense. It was your hands touching yourself, not her. You’re not sure how she was doing it, but Twilight must have used a spell or something to… intrude your mind and manipulate your thoughts and senses.
  1348. >And she was describing it as magic, or “friendship”, as she refers to it as.
  1349. >The only thing that breaks your fear’s concentration is the sound of your phone vibrating on the hard wooden surface of your nightstand yet again. It seems a lot quieter than when it woke you up.
  1350. >[Anyway, just shoot me a text or something once you get this message. It’s kinda really important.]
  1351. >Trying not to be so shaken up, you shake your head around to get the blood around your brain moving. It’s the first thing you can think to do to get yourself thinking as rationally as possible.
  1352. >Respond to the text.
  1353. [Wait, I’m awake. What is it?]
  1354. >You periodically check the window while waiting for Norman to respond.
  1355. >[Oh good. I didn’t wake you up or anything, did I?]
  1356. [No. So what is it about Mary that I need to know?]
  1357. >[Bro, is she really letting you call her Mary? When did this happen?]
  1358. [Today. She was hanging out in a supply closet in the school’s stadium and I happened to find her there. She let me hide from the other guys there.] You tell him, remembering everything that happened as you type it. [We sat there and talked while she got high.]
  1359. >[Oh wow, dude. No wonder she lets you say her nickname. You must have gotten close to her. She kind of does that with people when she’s spaced out, and I’m honestly the same way.]
  1360. >Oh right, this isn’t something you should really be surprised about. Norman is more than likely to be one of those guys from school who regularly smoke weed. You wouldn’t even be surprised if he already has her phone number.
  1361. >You could use this possibility to your advantage.
  1362. [Oh, okay. Say, you wouldn’t happen to have her number, would you? I kind of forgot to ask her about it today since I was putting up with some things and she wasn’t exactly focused.]
  1363. >[That’s what I’m texting you about, dude. She told me that she met with you technically yesterday and forgot to get your phone number. So she told me all about what happened when I was hanging out with her and the rest of the group. She remembered that you knew me and I told her that I have your number.]
  1364. [So why didn’t you just give her my number?]
  1365. >[I wanted to make sure that she was being legit and that you were okay with it. I just thought that it was better if you got her number first, and then you two talk or whatever from there.]
  1366. [Oh, that makes sense. But yeah, I’m totally cool with contacting her and whatnot. I’ve deleted everyone else’s numbers except for yours.]
  1367. >It felt so good to finally get this out in the open. The gates to your freedom have been unlocked the very second Norman sends you Mary’s phone number. Now all you have to do is open the gate by getting that plane ticket.
  1368. >This great escape from town isn’t going to be easy.
  1369. >[She’s probably asleep or something by now, but I’ll let her know that you got her number anyway.] Norman informs you after texting you the number. [I should probably be heading off now. Glad I had a chance to chat one last time before bed.]
  1370. [Same here.]
  1371. >You both say goodnight and you return to monitoring your bedroom window. The absence of anything unusual there still remains.
  1372. >Part of you wants to go downstairs to get that glass of water, but you might be too lazy and scared at this point. That sure is a quite shameful thing to admit, but it’s probably present for the best. The sudden and quick event that just happened tonight might be enough for you to handle.
  1373. >And again, it was just over so quickly. Twilight failed in her plan and you managed to obtain Mary’s number with it basically falling into your lap, so to speak.
  1374. >You pretty much sit there on your bed for the next twenty minutes or so, too afraid to go to sleep any time soon. This admittedly infuriates you, as you were trying to keep Twilight’s negative influence out of your mind this entire time.
  1375. >But eventually, enough time passes for you to calm yourself down and make it to bed. The confines of your mind are starting to feel like a sanctuary again like they’re supposed to. With this, you set your phone down and go to bed.
  1376. >All of this is over, and you can finally let sleep take you as school has ended. The feeling of the weight being lifted off of your shoulders is indescribable.
  1377. >Another vibration from your phone interrupts your peacefulness.
  1378. >The light of the screen indicating the new message faintly outlines the perimeter of the phone’s screen that is face down on your nightstand. You pick the phone up.
  1379. >[Anon… can we talk?] The message from a completely new number proposes.
  1380. >Not about to automatically assume that it’s Mary, you type back without revealing any confirmation that it’s you yet. Though, there is a chance that it could be her, but Norman did say that he didn’t give her your number, as you had preferred it the other way around.
  1381. [Who’s number is this?]
  1382. >[It’s not Sunset, that should be made clear ahead of time. It’s someone who wants to help you.]
  1383. >Okay, so it’s not Mary.
  1384. [Whoever this is, please explain how you got this number and say who you are as well. It’s really late, and I don’t have time to talk for very long at all.]
  1385. >There are no responses for the next ten minutes or so. The longer you wait, the more anxious to go to bed you become. The replies come in right before your patience has a chance to wear down to nothing.
  1386. >[Right. This is Trixie. But please hear her out before anything else so things can be explained. Trixie has turned over a new leaf and does not want to side with Flash Sentry or Twilight Sparkle anymore. Trixie doesn’t like them anymore. Please at least hear her out this one time.]
  1387. >Another message comes in right after it, indicating that she typed all of this out in one piece.
  1388. >[Trixie very deeply understands what is going on with you right now. You’re alone against many great influences that try to get you to change your ways against your will. And even though Trixie supported such a thing happening at first, she’s had a change of heart today.]
  1389. >Another message.
  1390. >[Trixie now understands with your desire to keep to your own ways, as she can empathize with such a cause. For so long, she has been told that it is so wrong to glorify herself to the point where it was Trixie against everyone else in the school. Situations like this have always seemed hopeless to Trixie, until she saw you stand your ground so well.]
  1391. >All of a sudden, this seems like a lot for someone to type even in ten to fifteen minutes. Your suspicion starts to kick in once again as you read all of the messages that come in one after another, becoming less and less likely to have been typed with merely a pair of thumbs in less than a half an hour.
  1392. >[Trixie wants to start off by saying that she is deeply, deeply sorry for starting up a Facebook page dedicated to insulting and publicly humiliating you. The very memory of Trixie doing that almost sickens her, and she wants to turn everything around because of this. Trixie doesn’t really believe that you’re a degenerate, Anonymous. That was wrong of Trixie to say, and she didn’t truly mean it at the time.]
  1393. >Another message.
  1394. >[The fact of the matter is, Trixie let her anger get the best of her, and she lost sight of what the right thing to do was. For that, Trixie apologizes to you, Anon. She’s sorry for what she did. I’m sorry for what I did.]
  1395. >Another message.
  1396. >[I don’t normally talk this way to people but… I want to patch things up with you. You know, start things over. I don’t feel like I got to know you the right way and I want to be good to you now and help you through your struggle. Trixie used to be going through something very similar back in her day.]
  1397. >Still another message.
  1398. >[I promise that I can be a helpful person in all this. Flash and Twilight still heavily trust me, unlike how the feel towards Norman. And yes, I know about what happened with him. Word gets around quickly within the social circle in which Trixie resides. And that really could be used to your advantage.]
  1399. >You’re already suspicious, ready to block her number along with the rest as the next message comes in.
  1400. >[Trixie also has knowledge of your plan to skip town for the summer and go that that island, whatever it’s called. But that’s okay, because there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get away after going through what you’ve been going through, so just hear what Trixie has to say, alright?]
  1401. >These messages were literally one after the other. At the end of Trixie’s sketchy rant, there’s one last short message.
  1402. >[Oh, and I got your number because Flash and Twilight think I’m going to try to pressure you on their behalf. But I changed my mind about that and decided to support you instead.]
  1403. >You take a minute or two to decide whether or not to let her help you.
  1404. >A towering inferno of distrust erupts within you.
  1405. >This is Trixie we’re talking about here.
  1406. >Immediately after receiving the most recent message from Trixie, you remember all of the times she had tried to play with your feeling on countless occasions, some of which she had succeeded. It’s not like this girl isn’t clever.
  1407. >You know that she could very easily be lying, and that would make sense due to her text messages obviously being pre-typed. Not only thing, but you did humiliate her in a sarcastic fit of revenge a few days ago. She’s been present in the plots against you ever since. She was even there when Rarity tried to mark you with that permanent lipstick; they said her name.
  1408. >No, there’s no trust for her in you.
  1409. >If there’s any plus that you’ve had with her, it’s that she’s never tricked you into ever trusting her like how Sunset did. Up until this very moment, you can’t help but feel betrayed about this. She forced sincere trust out of you, and she used it to your advantage. You really did think that she wanted to help you because she cared about you.
  1410. >But all she wants to do is turn this whole thing around on you.
  1411. >Forget these people; they’re dead to you now.
  1412. >Begin typing.
  1413. [Trixie, I don’t trust you. After all that’s happened, there’s no way you would want me to prevail in all of this. Remember Sunset? I used to trust her WAY more than you. But guess what happened just today? She showed her true colors, and they weren’t pretty. But I now know what her true intentions were.]
  1414. >Better make this a short one. You need sleep.
  1415. [And you probably know all about this now, don’t you? So Flash and Twilight probably told you to step in for her and try to win me over because you have all that pity credit from when I tricked you. And you just want to do it back, don’t you? But still, I’m not even going to let you answer. All you are going to do it spout out more lies.]
  1416. >Make this the last time you ever have to carry the burden of talking with this girl.
  1417. [I’m done with all of you, do you hear me? I’m done with Sunset, I’m done with Twilight, I’m done with Flash and I’m done with you. No. More. Drama. Do not contact me again.]
  1418. >Right as you see the indication that she’s typing, you block her number. It feels so good to interrupt her in such a way.
  1419. >Nothing else to say; set the phone down and go to sleep.
  1420. >…
  1421. >On the other end, Trixie frantically types on her phone using only her thumbs. She’s desperate, trying to get Anon’s loyalty over to her side. But something happens right before she presses enter. A notification.
  1422. >[You have been blocked by this number.]
  1423. >Trixie ignores it and presses send anyway.
  1424. >[Error: message could not be sent.]
  1425. >In seconds, Trixie contorts her face and begins to hit the send button over and over again. She consistently taps her thumb on the lit up area of the screen. The same message appears before her eyes, telling her the same story. But she doesn’t want to give up; this was her last chance.
  1426. >She presses the button again and again, helplessly hoping that it will make a difference. But the girl eventually gives up, gently setting her phone onto her soft bed before letting tears well up in her eyes. She failed.
  1427. >Trixie slowly looks down to the floor as the tears run down her cheeks, not making a sound. She really did think that she could win Anon over for a change, but she was a fool to think that.
  1428. >And it’s all over for her.
  1429. >As the night drags on, Trixie reminisces all of the events that happened over the course of the day. Everything she had found out about, leading to the things she has done to maybe get a chance to get on that flight with Anon and Norman. There was one extra seat among the three that those two are going to take, but Trixie now realizes that she will not get the privilege of sitting there.
  1430. >She has messed up too many times in the past.
  1431. >Trixie remembers exactly how the day went.
  1432. ~
  1433. >Earlier on Tuesday…
  1434. >…
  1435. >Walking alongside her two friends, Trixie holds her yearbook up to herself. The trio is on their way over to lunch, where they are more than certain that it's where Anon is going to be. Earlier in the week, Trixie had witnessed the other girls trying to shake the guy down and get him to cave in. But after the huge embarrassment, Trixie has been able to do no more than sit on the sidelines, wondering why Anon was so desperate to retain his reputation.
  1436. >If anything, it makes Trixie begin to think about her own hopes, dreams and desires. She can no longer deny that she and Anon are likely relatable about everything that is going on, to an extent.
  1437. >And of course, Twilight had offered Trixie help in the light of her being made a fool of in front of the other students. Trixie did see this coming in a way, internally expecting Twilight to lend a hand in order to bring back the order than Anon Y. Mous had shattered.
  1438. >Anon is truly a complicated boy, and Trixie finds herself having a hard time trying to wrap her head around whatever his true motives might be.Something in her feels for him still, and she cannot seem to look away from it no matter how hard she tries.
  1439. >The three friends walk up o the entrance to the cafeteria when the fire alarm goes off in an instant and breaks Trixie’s train of thought. It really does feel a bit early for something to be happening.
  1440. >With the nearest exit being through the cafeteria anyway, Trixie and her friends rush into the room, finding all of the students running around and panicking. It may not be blatantly obvious, but Trixie can tell that this definitely has something to do with Anon. She can feel it.
  1441. >Everyone in the cafeteria runs outside and into the parking lot where all of the students normally gather during fire drills. Trixie’s friends start to look for their homerooms while Trixie herself notices something going down on the hill. She thinks that she can faintly recognize Anon.
  1442. >Trixie does not make any sounds or take any action other than watch what’s happening. She gazes up onto the hill while what appears to be Flash and a few of his friends pursuing Anon up the hill and over onto the soccer fields. Trixie does not recall any current plans for the others trying to get to Anon, leading her to think that she’s simply been left out of it this time.
  1443. >The surprise fire drill goes on… the group of boys seem to collect on the far end of the field. Trixie’s not sure if Anon ran out of breath or tripped or what.
  1444. >It’s incredibly hard to see from the parking lot, due to the angle and change in elevation, so Trixie eventually decides to stray from the crowd of students and make it to somewhere that allows her to see into the field. The students who notice the episode take place start to follow her.
  1445. >A minute goes by and Trixie hides behind a nearby brick wall. Some of the other students who followed her just stand out in the open, not feeling any kind of need to hide. They all look up to the field where Flash and his friends form a half-circle around Anon. If they were planning something, it’s probably just about to work.
  1446. >Here’s what pretty much happens over the next five minutes or so.
  1447. >Anon and Flash appear to have another back-and-forth while the other guys provide their input as well. As this takes place, Trixie notices Twilight walk from the crowd of students and up the hill. The purple girl approaches the group and soon says something to Anon. This is where things begin to not look so good.
  1448. >Flash and Twilight try to speak to Anon, who appears to be screaming back at them. He’s getting extremely defensive over something. Trixie watches with patient eyes, waiting for the right time to strike.
  1449. >Norman can eventually be seen walking towards the small group as well. But the conflict in the field only looks like it’s getting worse by the minute.
  1450. >Anon seems to fall to his knees, and then proceeds to lurch towards Norman once he notices him.
  1451. >Trixie looks to her side and sees Sandalwood gazing up at the field from right next to her. He seems attentive in a way that tells her that he knows something. Trixie, of course, takes advantage of this.
  1452. >”What is he yelling about up there?” Trixie asks Sandalwood, remembering that he too was involved in the plotting against Anon.
  1453. >Sandalwood briefly turns to her before drawing his attention back over to the scene on the field.
  1454. >”Well, I’m not completely sure why he’s yelling over there. But I can surely tell you why the dude is over there to begin with.”
  1455. >”Then explain this to Trixie.”
  1456. >”Norman basically told Flash that Anon is trying to get out of town before summer starts to avoid all of us. He feels like he’s in the lead or something and wants to retain it before anyone gets a chance to find him and turn things around on him or whatever. I know that sounds like something a crazily paranoid person would say, but this is partially in Anon’s words.”
  1457. >”Trixie will be sure to keep that in mind.”
  1458. >”You know about Brothens, right?”
  1459. >”Well… Trixie sure has heard rumors about the place, and knows what she’s learned about there in history class.”
  1460. >”Then you know that it’s halfway across the world, right?”
  1461. >”Just tell Trixie what it has to do with Anon! Is he going there?”
  1462. >”He’s trying to. But he can’t yet because there’s not enough seats on the band class’s plane ride or something. But what Flash and I managed to get out of Norman is that the Dazzlings might be okay with trading in their plane tickets for boat tickets so that he and Anon could escape to there together. Norman didn’t say that he was going to try to go to, but we all know that it’s what he’s trying to do. Both of those guys have been trying to avoid Sunset at some point in the past.”
  1463. >”Trixie can’t believe that you’re still trying to ship Sunset with Anon. Why don’t you try to get him to like The great and Powerful Trixie for a change? Didn’t Sunset already stop coming to school anyway?”
  1464. >”Because everyone knows that he already likes Sunset. This is an established fact, and the dude just doesn’t want to admit it.”
  1465. >”It’s true.” Indigo backs him up after approaching the watching students as well. “Anon likes Sunset? Everyone knows that.”
  1466. >”It’s only a matter of time before he cracks, and even Anon himself knows this. That’s probably what he’s tripping about over there.” Sandalwood continues, gesturing over to a still shouting Anon. “I mean-”
  1467. >A sharp authoritarian-esque voice cuts him off.
  1468. >”Hey!” Vice Principal Luna intervenes. “What are you all doing over here? Get back to your homerooms.”
  1469. >The students stutter and point tot he field as Luna give them an un-enthusiastic look. She’s clearly not in the mood for dealing with the end-of-the-year shenanigans of the students. The Vice Principal then looks over to the field and spots the exact same scene that was entertaining the students. Even the students gathered in the parking lot are trying to get a good glimpse of what’s going on in the field.
  1470. >”What’s happening over there?” Interrogates Luna.
  1471. >”Anon’s going nuclear, man!” Sandalwood replies. “Nuclear Heartbreaker!”
  1472. >Trixie sees Norman suddenly running away from the action on the hill, already at the bottom of the hill. Anon is now screaming at the top of his lungs at Twilight; his strained voice can be heard this time.
  1473. >And in his voice… Trixie can hear fear. It’s a grim discovery, but Anon’s true colors sound as though they stem from some sort of fear.
  1474. >”Yeah, well, come with me. I’ll take care of that, just go back to your homerooms.” Urges Luna as she walks back and gestures for the students to follow.
  1475. >Anon’s screaming at Twilight rages on. Trixie’s attention is distracted by Luna giving orders.
  1476. >The students obediently follow her back to the crowd while one or two of the look back to the field one last time. Trixie is the last to leave the area that allows one to clearly see what is happening on the field. What she notices is something that she’d have to see twice to believe.
  1477. >Flash, quickly stepping forward towards Anon, launches his right hand at the boy, clenching a fist. Trixie can’t believe how quickly Anon went down.
  1478. >No way of telling whether or not anyone else saw it, but Trixie herself is unsure if she wants to confirm if she herself saw this happen. After the way Anon betrayed her trust on Friday, the only thing that she wishes happened is that her fist was the one to hit his face instead of that of Flash Sentry. Even though it might not have hit as hard, it would have felt good to express some emotions.
  1479. >Luna herds Trixie and the others back over to the rest of the students. While this happens, Trixie can’t stop thinking about how badly Anon was trying to defend himself and his image in the eyes of his fellow peers. Everyone is basically putting their own words into his mouth behind his back, creating common ideas that Anon has no control over the nature of.
  1480. >Everyone’s eventually herded back into the group way after the alarms have stopped. The groups eventually go back into the school and to their corresponding 5th period class that ends in about 5 minutes anyway. Luna doesn’t stay around Trixie for long, saying that she has to go round up the kids who were out there in the field and have them pay a visit to the main office.
  1481. >As her 5th period class ends, Trixie does not have any plans to go to her 6th period class. Instead, she is going to try to take the information she just learned and put it to good use. The bell rings and Trixie races over to the main hallway, hiding within the crowd of students as she notices the group of guys enter the office.
  1482. >She needs to find a spot where she won’t be seen.
  1483. >Luckily enough for Trixie, none of the students or school leaders can see her right around the corner of the closed door. She stands out there in that hall with curious ears, listening in on the discussion occurring within the main office.
  1484. >Out of the corner of her eye, Trixie spots a stray desk right outside of one of the classrooms. She stares at it for a few seconds before walking over to discover that the classroom is empty.
  1485. >No one’s going to miss this desk.
  1486. >Trixie quietly slides it over to right outside the door to the main office and sits in it, pretending to be waiting to be called in next to the office just in case anyone gets suspicious.
  1487. >From inside of the office, Trixie can hear the guys each taking turns to speak, seeming to tell a story each time the next one gets his chance to voice his say. It’s already clear that they are explaining what had happened from on the field from their points of view. A very quiet and cautious Trixie listens intently, also curious as to what actually happened.
  1488. >But the voices inside are too muffled for Trixie to understand half of the words that are being said. The main word that she recognizes throughout the so-far calm altercation is “Anon”.
  1489. >More and more minutes go by without anything derailing into anything that sounds out of hand. Trixie can’t even really tell who is speaking at each current moment. She just assumes that whenever she doesn’t hear a garbled “Anon” in someone’s rant, then it must be Anon’s turn.
  1490. >Trixie tries to think of a plan regarding what to do next. Tomorrow is an optional day, hilariously enough. And it’s a safe bet that Anon’s not going to be willing to step foot through those front doors again after everything he’s been through.
  1491. >But maybe there’s still time to get Anon to forgive her and direct his attention away from an already absent Sunset Shimmer. It’s shouldn’t be too hard for Trixie to swoop in and try to win Anon over, but this may be her last chance.
  1492. >After another minute or two, some distant classroom doors can be heard opening as students pour out of them. This soon happens with all of the classroom doors throughout the hallway leading to the classrooms that were being used today. The twenty minute period is over.
  1493. >Trixie coolly remains in her seat, knowing that no one is going to think twice about her sitting in that random desk outside of the Principal’s office if she doesn’t act suspicious about it. And she seems to be correct.
  1494. >The rest of the students of Canterlot High casually walk by, not even seeming to pay any mind to Trixie. They’re probably too focused on their summer plans, or maybe even coming in tomorrow just for the heck of it. There could be many things distracting them from paying mind to things that look out of place.
  1495. >Nobody questions Trixie’s positions, even those who happen to notice her sitting there. Her location is not going to be revealed to Celestia or Luna.
  1496. >Once the chatter of the crowds in the hallway dies down, Trixie can hear the voices in the office once more. It’s still hard to make out exactly what they are saying, however. But Trixie isn’t going to give up that easily. There is no Sunset Shimmer standing in her way this time. So Trixie at least doesn’t have to worry about making her last impression on Anon stand out too much, unless Rarity shows up.
  1497. >Minutes later, a change in the volume of the voices can be noticed. This might also be an indication that Anon is speaking now.
  1498. >Once the voices of the guys would get louder to a certain point, Trixie can hear Celestia’s voice cutting them off and scolding them. This happens multiple times as the minutes go on; there really must be some interesting stuff going on in there. Trixie can’t decide if she should run away from the room once the door opens… or rush into it.
  1499. >Just as Trixie pre-prepares a quick disappearance into the halls, she hears Twilight begin to speak from inside of the office.
  1500. >There’s something unfamiliar about Twilight’s voice, however. It sounds a lot less confident than how it usually is. If only Trixie could understand every word that she was saying in there, she could probably figure out what it might be that’s making Twilight uneasy. But it can only sound worse as Principal Celestia is heard conversing with the girl.
  1501. >Some sort of back-and-forth is taking place here, and it isn’t likely that it’s going to end well for at least one of the sides. There’s one word that Trixie does recognize, and that word is “Valedictorian”.
  1502. >It immediately dawns upon her that the very thing that Twilight had been working on might be in question now for some reason. Trixie remember how much becoming the school’s Valedictorian meant to Twilight. There’s no imagining how she would react if that was stripped away from her.
  1503. >After a short pause, a blunt rustling sound can be heard, followed by what sounds like a frantic Principal Celestia. Everything sounds a lot more physical now. And just as quickly as it started, the noises cease. The only thing that comes after is one of the male voice sounding, and getting closer to the door.
  1504. >Trixie prepares to sprint.
  1505. >”I’m going home and eating my pizza, man.” Norman declares right as he exits the office.
  1506. >And of course, Trixie couldn’t disappear fast enough. Norman notices her right away, but doesn’t seem to care enough to even acknowledge her existence. In fact, the guy picks up his pace as he struts past her. Trixie comes up with an idea as she begins to follow him.
  1507. >The two round a corner in the direction opposite of that towards the stadium.
  1508. >”No. Go away, Trixie.” Norman orders right as he notices the girl.
  1509. >”Trixie knows about Brothens.”
  1510. >Norman stops dead in his tracks.
  1511. >”Yeah, that’s right. Trixie just so happened to get wind of your little plan to escape town. And Trixie also knows that there will be three seats available after the Dazzling trade over their tickets, two of which to be taken by you and Anon.”
  1512. >Nothing can be said as Norman turns around to face Trixie. It doesn’t take long for him to figure out where she’s going with this.
  1513. >”Well, you know…” Norman responds with an annoyed expression. “Flash and the other guys at my table learned about this way before you probably did. They already know. So it’s not like you can threaten me that you’re going to blow my plan out of the water by telling them or anything.”
  1514. >”Yes, that’s how Trixie found out in the first place.”
  1515. >”Well you’re not bribing me. Because the reality of the situation is… there really isn’t anything you can do anyway. As long as the Dazzlings agree to swap tickets, we are going on that flight. Like… what makes you think that you can stop that from happening anyway? Huh? You don’t control the airports. You don’t control the weather. And you don’t control the Dazzling either. I’ve seen how they sit far away from everyone else except for the band kids. There’s no way they have trust for a girl like you, let alone trust for Twilight or Sunset after that Battle of the Bands.”
  1516. >”Trixie isn’t trying to stop you from going on your little flight.”
  1517. >”Then what do you want? Because I’m really tired of this and I just want to go home at this point.” Norman urges. “Well?”
  1518. >This really is getting old.
  1519. >”Just think about it, Norman. There’s three of those Dazzlings and two of you. Which means that there will be one empty seat for someone to claim. It’s simple math; it isn’t hard. You can piece this together yourself, you know.”
  1520. >”If you want me to give you that seat, then no deal.”
  1521. >”Oh? Then for whom will the seat be?” Trixie quizzes him. “Because the rest of the students in the band class already have their tickets.”
  1522. >”And?”
  1523. >”Twilight and her little circle of friends are off the table for you, and your own little circle of friends isn’t trustworthy either. These are facts.”
  1524. >”Yeah, so? I’ll just leave it empty. Or just let a stranger take the seat.”
  1525. >”Somebody has to fill that seat. Otherwise, don’t you think that Twilight will find a way to get Sunset into that seat at the last minute? You know how smart she is, Norman. And when she has an opportunity, she will take it. It’s not like Sunset can simply pose as that ‘stranger’ that you lend the seat to. It’s not like Twilight can’t figure out a way to have it arranged. And it’s not like you can tell the airport staff to specifically deny the free seat to Sunset. Think about it, Norman.”
  1526. >”Trixie, you have 10 seconds to explain to me why giving the seat to you would be any better. You’re pretty much in the same boat as Twilight and Sunset in terms of how trustworthy you are.”
  1527. >”Trixie hasn’t even done anything recently! She’s turned over a new leaf.” She insists. “Now you have the remaining 5 seconds to think of a better idea.”
  1528. >Before Norman has time to tell Trixie to take a hike, Flash and his groupies come racing around the corner. They already seem rushed.
  1529. >”Trixie!” Thunderbass pants. “Did you see where Anon went?”
  1530. >”He left the office?” Trixie blurts out without thinking.
  1531. >The five guys give Trixie a suspicious look.
  1532. >”Were… you eavesdropping on us?” Flash asks.
  1533. >Trixie tries to think of a lie that isn’t out of reach from the corner she just backed herself into. But there’s nothing that can turn this around.
  1534. >”Alright, fine! Trixie was listening in, but she doesn’t know where Anon went!” Trixie avoids an awkward pause.
  1535. >”You guys need to just stop, alright?” Norman intervenes. “Let the guy go! Just go home! Watch TV! Eat pizza! Play video games! Jerk off! Browse the internet! Have fun and enjoy life! Something other than what you’re doing right now.”
  1536. >”No can do, friendo.” Flash smugly declines as he leads the group down the hall. “Not when I have an ace up my sleeve.”
  1537. >”And just what is that supposed to mean?” Norman drills, following them closely. “What on earth are you thinking this time? Just let it go, man! He’s going to Brothens and you can’t follow him! End of story!”
  1538. >”See? Just give Trixie the seat and they can’t do anything!” Trixie reminds Norman, also starting to follow.
  1539. >”Beat it, Trixie! I’m not giving you the seat!”
  1540. >And just like that, Norman disappears around another corner in pursuit of Flash. Trixie stands there in place for a few seconds, wondering what Flash was referring to when he said he had an ‘ace up his sleeve’. She feels as though he stole that kind of wording from her.
  1541. >But she soon decides to lurch forward and catch up with the rest of them before she won’t be able to find them. But right as she is rounding the corner where they disappeared, someone appears right in front of Trixie. This results in a loud, high-pitched squeal.
  1542. >”Trixie? What are you doing out here?” Fluttershy gasps while catching her breath.
  1543. >At the same time, Rarity walks up right behind her.
  1544. >”Trixie… uh, just came back from the Principal’s office.” Trixie half-lies. “She was asking to leave early.”
  1545. >”Oh, what a coincidence. Rarity and I were just called there.” Reveals Fluttershy.
  1546. >”Fluttershy, there’s no time to lose!” Rarity suddenly rushes Fluttershy while grabbing her by the arm. “Twilight needs our help.”
  1547. >If this means what Trixie thinks it means, then Twilight must still be alone in the Principal’s office.
  1548. >Without another word, Fluttershy follows Rarity in the direction of the office while Trixie stays in place once again. A few seconds pass before the two go around the corner and Trixie can start to creep after them. Whatever is happening with Twilight in the office, Trixie is eager to know.
  1549. >Trixie goes back to her previous hiding place at the desk in the hall soon after Fluttershy and Rarity make it into the main office. She tries to find a way to hear inside of the room better, but everything is still too muffled to be accurately deciphered into full sentences.
  1550. >Meanwhile, Norman follows Flash into the empty cafeteria, where the staff is pretty much cleaning all of the supplies and materials up for the day… and the year. All of Flash’s friends except for Thunderbass have split up around the school in search for Anon, who is currently at an unknown location.
  1551. >”Flash, this is the last time I’m going to tell you this. It’s just not worth it, okay? Let the whole thing go and move on already.” Norman almost begs.
  1552. >”Anon hasn’t learned his lesson yet. He’s still running around thinking he’s all cool and whatever, bragging about how he’s never been seduced by a girl.”
  1553. >”Again: WHO… CARES?”
  1554. >”I care!”
  1555. >”Well why do you care, Flash? Why is it that this tiny little thing in life is getting you all worked up and bent of teaching Anon a ‘lesson’? What is making any of this so important?” Norman then turns to Thunderbass. “And why do you care enough to step in on this and help him? Don’t you guys have anything meaningful to do with your time?”
  1556. >”This is meaningful to us. Right Thunder?” Flash responds.
  1557. >Thunderbass nods sharply before going to check near the kitchens.
  1558. >”Dude…” Norman groans. “This is stupid! This whole manhunt for Anon to corner him and do... whatever ideas you have of doing next. All of this... The whole thing is just stupid.”
  1559. >”I really though that you’d at least understand a little bit, Norman.”
  1560. >”Understand what? By that do you mean think the same way you do and start tripping over a guy rejecting your ex?”
  1561. >”It’s not that, man! You did that too, remember?”
  1562. >”Then for pete’s sake, what on earth is making this time so different? Is it something about Anon?”
  1563. >”Kinda!”
  1564. >”Well what’s wrong with him?”
  1565. >”I’ll tell you what’s wrong with him! The problem is the reason why he rejected her. I’m sure by now that everyone knows that he’s really interested in her. There’s no denying that at this point.”
  1566. >”Where are you even getting this idea?!”
  1567. >”And he only rejected her because of how shocking it would be to everyone else because he did something no one would ever dream of doing.” Flash continues while ignoring Norman. “He’s trying to look cooler than everyone else in school just because he said no to one of the hottest girls. But the worst part is… it kind of worked.”
  1568. >”You’re perpetuating this the wrong way, dude!”
  1569. >”No, you are! Namely because you’re HELPING HIM! That’s not cool, bro!”
  1570. >”I’m only defending him because you’ve taken this whole thing too far ever since a long time ago! I’m not helping him ‘try to be cool’. He just doesn’t go on dates! Sure it might not seem like that anymore, but that’s because you’ve pushed the guy over the edge.”
  1571. >”That’s bull, man.”
  1572. >”Stop denying in, Flash. Just because another guy doesn’t do what you would have done doesn’t give you the right to harass the guy like this.”
  1573. >Flash scoffs.
  1574. >”Maybe according to you.”
  1575. >”And what he did was wrong… according to YOU!”
  1576. >”And everyone else around here. You’re pretty much alone in this.”
  1577. >”Just because I have the unpopular opinion doesn’t mean I’m wrong!” States Norman with a snapping tone. “We’re not on the internet!”
  1578. >”Excuse me, gentlemen.” One of the cafeteria workers intervenes as she walks towards the two. “I’m going to have to ask you to take this somewhere else. You’re being loud and disruptive.”
  1579. >Flash limply backs away from the staff member.
  1580. >”Alright… alright. I get it.” He chuckles with the same smug grin wiped across his face. “So uh… what now, Norman? You gonna text Anon and try to give him yet another vague warning that couldn’t possible help him in the right way in time. Is that right?”
  1581. >”Sir, please watch your tone.” The cafeteria worker tells him.
  1582. >”Well go ahead and try.” Flash continues, reaching into his pocket. “Let me show you the ace up my sleeve.”
  1583. >Flash Sentry pulls out a cell phone from his pocket, but Norman can instantly recognize that this phone does not belong to Flash. Holding the device in the air, Flash tauntingly wiggles it around, almost making it slip through his fingers and fall to the floor. The screen has somehow remained on the entire time in his pocket.
  1584. >It’s sickening how careless he is with Anon’s phone.
  1585. >”I guess you already know who this belongs to.” Says Flash. “And don’t worry. The reason we’re looking for Anon is so we can give him the phone back.”
  1586. >A hinting smile remains on Flash’s face.
  1587. >”If that’s all you’re going to do, then why did you set his screensaver timeout thingy to not do anything?” Norman points out, hoping to hint to the cafeteria worker that Flash’s intent is malicious.
  1588. >And the cafeteria workers probably can’t be bothered to find a student to return his phone to him; they’re too occupied with their cleaning.
  1589. >”That’s the way he’s always kept his phone and you know it!” Flash promptly lies before turning to walk away. “He does that almost as often as he sends Sunset all those love texts!”
  1590. >Norman’s jaw drops.
  1591. >”I’m… I’m speechless, dude…”
  1592. >”Good. So don’t talk, then.”
  1593. >And with that, Flash and Thunderbass walk out of the room chuckling to one another. The staff workers simply shrug the whole thing off and return to their duties.
  1594. >With no other option, Norman sets out on his own to try and find Anon.
  1595. >…
  1596. >Meanwhile right outside of the front office, Trixie waits in the stray desk still, listening to the soft voices of Fluttershy and Rarity talking to Celestia and Luna. She swears that she can hear Twilight speaking too, but she’s not sure.
  1597. >The two girls had left their belongings outside the door for some reason. Everything seems to be stuffed into Rarity’s purse so it’s all in one piece.
  1598. >Once again, Trixie hadn’t gone too noticed when the students were all walking around between their classes. They definitely were walking a lot faster when it was about to be their last class of the day. Trixie continues to wait, not even completely sure of what she’s going to accomplish from any of this. She might as well just leave and call it a school year.
  1599. >And then the front doors open.
  1600. >Out of nowhere, Sunset Shimmer walks into the school. She approaches the main office, looking into the tiny window on the door at first, and then turning her head towards Trixie. The two eye eachother down before Sunset turns the knob on the door to the main office and enters the room.
  1601. >Trixie simply looks as though she’s been told to wait outside of the room until Celestia gives her the okay to come back in. Sunset questions nothing, focusing her concern towards her friend instead.
  1602. >”Where’s Twilight? I came as fast as I could.” Sunset declares before Celestia speaks to her.
  1603. >”And phones or electronic devices need to be left outside. Especially those with cameras.” Orders Principal Celestia. “I don’t want records of another incident, just in case anything else happens.”
  1604. >After a pause, Sunset nods her head.
  1605. >”Um, okay.” She agrees, turning towards the purse that rests on the floor. “Hey, Rarity… do you mind if I put my phone in your purse?”
  1606. >”Go right ahead, darling. Fluttershy’s is in there as well.” Rarity’s voice answers. “Oh, and while you’re at it, could you give the rest of the girls a quick text to meet us in here after the last class is over?”
  1607. >”Alrighty.” Responds Sunset as she whips out her phone and momentarily starts typing with her thumbs.
  1608. >Sunset finishes typing her message before setting her phone down on top of Rarity’s purse, leaving the screen on. She hurries through the door and lets it close behind her. Right as the door is almost finished closing, a new text message appears on the screen… from a contact named “Anon”.
  1609. >Trixie immediately sees the opportunity, getting ready to pounce out of the desk right as the door closes. She has to wait for this to happen so she isn’t seen grabbing the phone, which is seconds away from automatically turning the screen off.
  1610. >The door closes and Trixie slips out of the desk as quietly as she can, scoops up the phone and swipes her finger around on the screen right before it completely fades to black.
  1611. >She doesn’t need to worry about the password, now. Trixie eagerly opens up the newest text message from “Anon” and reads what it says. What the girl finds is surprising, to say the least.
  1612. >[Hey Sunset? You there? There’s something I want to kind of confess before we don’t really get much of a chance to see eachother again.]
  1613. >This… this can’t be. There’s just no way.
  1614. >Trixie types on the keypad, starting the conversation with a friendly hello.
  1615. [Yeah I’m here Anon. What’s up?]
  1616. >[So um listen. I kind of want to tell you that…]
  1617. >The confession is broken into multiple messages.
  1618. >[When you gave me those flowers and showed your feelings for me…]
  1619. >Trixie is already afraid of what she might read next.
  1620. >[I just want to say that you made me feel the same way about you, Sunset.]
  1621. >Widening her eyes, Trixie gradually rises out of the desk, ready to throw the phone against a wall at any second. But her self-control convinces her to want to see where this whole thing goes; this is Anon apparently opening himself up for crying out loud.
  1622. >Trixie retreats around the same corner from before, only to find herself in complete solitude from any potential witnesses.
  1623. >Perfect.
  1624. [Do you really mean that, Anon?]
  1625. >[I do, Sunset. I really, truly do. I know I’ve never said that out loud to you in real life in front of other people. But that’s because I didn’t want anyone else to know. Especially not Trixie or Twilight.]
  1626. >Trixie feels a sharp shock rush through her when se sees her name mentioned. But she keeps on the charade, actually struggling to avoid speaking in third person and revealing that it’s actually her by typing her name. Deleting and retyping causes the messages to take longer to type.
  1627. --On the other end.--
  1628. >”You guys think she’s talking with Twilight right now?” Flash asks while holding the phone in one hand while the other mans the steering wheel.
  1629. >”What makes you think that?” Brawly Beats asks.
  1630. >”She’s taking longer than usual to respond. I can’t help but feel like she might be on to us and is trying to see what Twilight thinks about this.”
  1631. >”Maybe you shouldn’t push so hard on the telling her part. Add a lot more stuff on telling her to promise not to tell anyone. Make it realistic… in Anon terms, of course.” Suggests Thunderbass. “And then like… compare her to other girls and explain why she’s better than them. It’ll make her feel too good about herself to second guess things.”
  1632. >”Got it.” Affirms Flash right as the automated GPS voice interrupts him.
  1633. >[In 500 feet… turn right.]
  1634. --Back on Trixie’s end.--
  1635. >Another message from Anon comes in.
  1636. >[Hey, um… you’re not going to tell any of those people that I said this, right? I’m just really self-conscious or something. It’s nothing on your end.]
  1637. >Trixie starts typing again, deleting half of her messages and retyping them. She’s hungry for answers.
  1638. [Are you sure that it isn’t anything on my end? You can tell me! <3]
  1639. >[You’re not the reason why I don’t want people finding out, Sunset. You’re literally the sweetest girl I’ve ever met. You’re smart, you’re funny, you look absolutely perfect, and you were the most heartwarming person when you told me that you loved me. You weren’t pushy like Trixie or awkward like Twilight. You grew flowers and gave them to me. You approached me in the most beautiful way possible, and it worked.]
  1640. >The message is separated in two.
  1641. >Before Trixie can read the second half, the final bell rings. She automatically knows what this means.
  1642. >Remembering everything about the phone having a password, Trixie keeps at least something on the screen active as she frantically looks around for somewhere to hide. She has to be careful not to be spotted by the rest of the main six. They would certainly recognize Sunset’s phone.
  1643. >Trixie retreats to the girls bathroom before anyone noticing what she has in her hands. She walks in, and instead of going to one of the stalls, stays on the far end of the sinks. There’s no need to go into the stalls, since all of the girls who would surely recognize Sunset’s phone are headed straight for the main office.
  1644. >So Trixie casually stands there up against the corner between the sink’s rim and the wall. A couple of girls come in to stare at themselves in the mirror for about 20 seconds each and then leave. They’d fix their hair, probably do something involving makeup. But they don’t really seem to pay any mind to Trixie.
  1645. >All that needs to be done is wait. Trixie stands there in the corner, sliding her index finger back and forth on the screen until the noice outside of the bathroom gets quieter and quieter until it ceases completely.
  1646. >Trixie can only imagine how uneasy Anon must feel on the other end of the line.
  1647. >Whatever, this only further affects how Anon feels about Sunset, and not at all doing anything to his views on Trixie.
  1648. >[The action of you revealing your feelings for me is what made me fall in love with you. I fell in love with you because you’re in love with me, and I’m still in love with you because… well… you’re you.]
  1649. >Endless rage rises within Trixie like a forest fire. She reads the part mentioning her over and over again, not wanting to believe her eyes. Hoping that her eyes deceive her.
  1650. >Sunset is Anon’s number one choice, far above whatever Trixie could ever hope to be. And it’s because Sunset was kind to him, and refrained from pushing towards what she wanted. She did what Trixie didn’t do, and didn’t do what Trixie did.
  1651. >And now Trixie is watching the outcome eat away at her hopes of joining Anon in Brothens. Because of her choice of actions, Trixie will never be present for Anon when he finally relaxes himself and becomes open to new ideas. She will never slowly but peacefully convince him to give dating a chance while they sip lemonade under the summer sun. None of this will ever happen, and it’s all because Anon loves Sunset more.
  1652. >He’s probably even going to let her onto that flight with him, isn’t he?
  1653. >…
  1654. >Not if The Great and Powerful Trixie has anything to say about it. Or rather: not if ‘Sunset’ has anything to say about it.
  1655. [OMG that was so sweet, Anon! I love you so much!!! <3] Trixie channels her discomfort into makeshift excitement and compassion.
  1656. >[I’m so glad I could finally open up to you like this, Sunset. I wish I could have told you about how much I loved you, but Flash and the others made me so insecure, I just didn’t know what to do.]
  1657. [OMG I totally knew it! I knew you really felt this way for me! Don’t worry about what Flash thinks, all that matters is that I love you and that’s it. Maybe we can date at some point, I’m totally up for it.]
  1658. >[Oh wait, hang on. Flash is here right beside me now. I can’t say anything else while he’s here watching.]
  1659. [Wait, it’s okay. Let them judge, it’s okay. I’ll defend you.]
  1660. >[But what about me being the heartbreaker to them and all that? What would I tell them?]
  1661. [You don’t need that, Anon. Look, I know that you wanted to do… something to prove to them that you’re right and they’re wrong. But just prove the battle itself wrong and let it go. There’s nothing wrong with getting into a relationship that the others know about, I’m sure we can make something work out.]
  1662. >Trixie was going for the soft spots at first to give Anon the nice and solid impression that it’s actually Sunset talking to him. But now she’s drifting into the overly-insistent territory, setting up the bad light to shine upon Anon’s image of Sunset.
  1663. [It’ll be alright. I knew you’d come around eventually. Sure, it was probably more logical for me to just accept it the first time when you said no, but I just can’t help myself.]
  1664. >[What do you mean?]
  1665. >Bingo.
  1666. [I just had to do this, okay? I don’t know what came over me, but I just can’t help but feel like this needs to happen. And I was honestly prepared to keep asking you out over and over again. I know that sounds silly, but I guess love just does crazy things, huh?]
  1667. >[Love made me do crazy things too, Sunset. I guess that I’m really tsundere when it comes to you. But I guess you and Twilight’s craziness was something I was no match for. lol]
  1668. [Haha I guess. So are you going to at least make this a thing with Flash so we can put all of this behind us? I mean, it’s pretty clear to me now at least that you have feelings for me. The guy’s been wanting closure about it for ages now. So has Twilight.]
  1669. >[But Sunset. They must never ever ever ever know.]
  1670. >Trixie presses harder.
  1671. [Anon, I don’t want this tension between you and them to last any longer. Just confess it all to them already. Like, there’s really no backing out of this, now. Just let it happen.]
  1672. >[But Sunny!]
  1673. [lol just tell them <3 it’s okay! If you don’t I can just do it for you. Would you like it better that way?]
  1674. >[ugh.]
  1675. [Trust me. It’s for your own good. And mine too. And everyone’s, really. One day, we’re going to look back on all of this and laugh at how silly we were.]
  1676. >Trixie decides to bring up the notion of trust once more so it rings in Anon’s head to fuel his doubt.
  1677. [Come on, Anon. You trust me, right? :)]
  1678. >…
  1679. >That did it.
  1680. >Anon is officially not responding.
  1681. >Minutes and minutes pass by. Still without a response from Anon. All Trixie has to do is somewhat break the false character without revealing that it’s not Sunset, and shatter Anon’s trust for the girl once and for all. Anon Y. Mous is going to hate Sunset Shimmer by the time Trixie Lulamoon is done here.
  1682. >Trixie goes in for the kill.
  1683. [Anon. Are you there?]
  1684. >Repeat the message of ‘desperation’.
  1685. [Anon, please answer me.]
  1686. >And for the finishing touch, stage the breakdown that will haunt Anon’s mind forever. Trixie types as fast and accurately as she can while she spills the false truth.
  1687. [Alright you know what? Fine. Go ahead and type your pathetic little paragraphs again. But that won’t change the fact that you have feeling for at least SOMEONE in this world. And that someone is going to be me, I swear it. I don’t care if you really know what’s going on at this point, it’s not going to save you. Twilight’s an unstoppable matchmaker like no one’s ever seen, and she knows what you’re feeling for me.]
  1688. >The rant needs to be split into another message.
  1689. [I know what you’re feeling for me. Twilight knows, Flash knows, everyone knows. You can’t run forever, Anon. Nobody rejects me and gets away with it. It’s already out in the open on your end now, so guess what? I’m telling my side of the truth too! We all have been in on this. Everyone is helping me and not you. You’re alone, loverboy. Stubborn and alone. But not for long.]
  1690. >And for the icing on the cake…
  1691. [I’m going to make you love me. Sooner or later.]
  1692. >It’s an abstract kind of role-play.
  1693. >Trixie bounces up and down in a fit of victory. After which, she closes the messaging app.
  1694. >Anon’s number is memorized down the the last digit and entered into Trixie’s phone.
  1695. >The screen of Sunset’s phone fades to black, sealing the fate and ending the ambush. As this happens, Trixie moves the desk in the hallway back to where it originally was and hurries out of the building before the main six exit the main office.
  1696. >There’s no doubt that Anon will block Sunset’s number any moment now. But that’s not the important part in Trixie’s view.
  1697. >Trixie no longer cares about what is going on in the main office. That now means nothing in the face of the mass ground that Trixie has gained, and the potential ground she can further gain.
  1698. >She now knows that Anon can cave in. This gives her the green light to convince Anon to let her onto the flight with him, since Norman proved to be too stubborn. But having learned Anon’s number, Trixie can’t just text him right now. There must be some buffer time in between. She’ll swoop in with her own phone later tonight, so it doesn’t look suspicious.
  1699. >The plan is in place.
  1700. >…
  1701. --In the Principal’s Office.--
  1702. >”Yes. I solemnly swear that everything I just described was the full extent of everything I’ve done, Principal Celestia.” Rarity concludes after a fairly long talk with Celestia. “The incident with the lipstick being the most recent.”
  1703. >The principal nods her head.
  1704. >”Excellent. Thank you very much for being honest with me like I asked you to. Unfortunately, that’s not going to get you off the hook, however.” Says Celestia.
  1705. >”I understand. as a civil human being, I am prepared to come to terms with whatever consequences I face.”
  1706. >”Good. With that said, I shall expand to details regarding that in due time. But it’s getting late. So in the meantime, is there anything else anyone would like to say?”
  1707. >The main six have just spent about two hours talking with Celestia and Luna about things that have happened. Fluttershy, Twilight and Rarity have all told their parts of the story, confessing all of the things they have done to Anon. Even the part Anon is planning to go to Brothens just to get away from them is revealed. Everything was gradually brought out in the open during those two hours. Everything that’s happened.
  1708. >”I… I have a… f-few words…” Twilight’s exasperated voice answers.
  1709. >Twilight has definitely calmed down a lot, but she’s still visually troubled. She sits in the chair, broken just about as much as her chances at becoming the school Valedictorian. This was something she never imagined she could lose her grip on, but her expectations were proven incorrect. And now she’s tired of trying to make one little thing happen in the world. She wears the face of a girl who let her beliefs about others get the best of her, but has nothing left to hide or to lose.
  1710. >”Ah reckon you do.” Applejack joins in. “Just what in the hay did y’all do all of that stuff to Anon for? Weren’t we tryin’ to help him?”
  1711. >All eyes turn towards Twilight.
  1712. >”Well… you see…” Twilight starts off, slumping in the chair next to Vice Principal Luna. “That’s kind of what I wanted you to think.”
  1713. >Applejack raises an eyebrow at the statement.
  1714. >”What do you mean ‘wanted us to think’?!” Rainbow Dash fusses. “How long has this been going on?”
  1715. >”I didn’t want to have to get you girls involved into something like this. At least not too too involved. But things got out of hand… and that’s why I have something to say.”
  1716. >Sunset softly places her hands on her knees as she sits in the chair. She keeps her gaze fixed on Twilight as the girl begins to explain everything.
  1717. >Over the next five minutes or so, Twilight Sparkle goes through pretty much every event during the past week and a half. She explains the situation at the graduation ceremony, the backlashes of each time Anon rejected another girl, the mentality and motives of Flash Sentry, the fact that she allowed Trixie to befriend her so they could secretly team up against Anon… The list goes on and on.
  1718. >Twilight also connects how Fluttershy and Rarity were involved, referring to what they had already confessed to Principal Celestia a few minutes ago. Twilight basically spills the entire can of beans, not leaving out a single detail or concept.
  1719. >It turns out that Rainbow, Pinkie and Applejack were never involved with the attempts to get back at Anon, and only wanted to help him.
  1720. >Twilight never told them that she was advocating a good portion of this. In return of her confession, she get’s looks of absolute shock from some of the other girls.
  1721. >”And lastly, I want to apologize to everyone here. I apologize for not giving Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie or Applejack the real truth of what was going on. You three are my friends, but I just didn’t want to make you caught up in this. At least not emotionally or something, so I didn’t tell you what was really going on. I don’t like pulling people into drama. But as I just explained, it was all to help Anon in the long run. But you wouldn’t have understood why. I’m so sorry I made this so so far.”
  1722. >”Wow…” Pinkie Pie gasps in awe. “Here I was thinking that we were just stopping the bigger guys from picking on Anon… but you were doing waaaaaay more than I thought.”
  1723. >”So that’s why you never told us?” Asks Dash.
  1724. >”It is. I’m so sorry.”
  1725. >Rainbow Dash silently sits in her chair for a few moments, much like everyone else in the room.
  1726. >”Alright, well if no one else has any further questions, then I suppose we can call it a night. You girls may come in tomorrow if you’d like, and if not, then that’s fine as well. There will be an eventual point when this issue will be further and properly discussed at a less inconvenient time. However… I’ll be lenient. I’m going to allow you to have the summer to cool down and think things over. But the next time there’s school, I am going to call you all in and we’re going to have a long hard talk about what has been going on. Have I made myself clear?”
  1727. >”Yes, Principal Celestia.” The mane seven all say in unison.
  1728. >About a minute later, everyone is let out of the office and free to go home after the long day. Twilight is gently held by the arms by her caring friends, escorted with them so they can help her regain her composure.
  1729. >Little had any of them realized, it had been raining for quite some time, now. They were all so focused, none of them had taken notice.
  1730. >Sunset strides over to the passenger seat of the car in which she rode to school with Rainbow Dash and Applejack. The tears in her eyes can easily be seen glistening along with the rain, and the mind in her head can easily be felt racing.
  1731. >”Sunset…” Rainbow sighs. “Look, I know that you probably wanted him more than anything else in the world, but sometimes… it’s better to just let things go.”
  1732. >Without answering, Sunset lets a few sobs escape her lungs. Up close to her chest she holds her phone, the screen glowing against her turquoise shirt. The girl doesn’t show the screen to her friends, not wanting to make things seem worse than they already are. But on the screen is a notification:
  1733. >[Unable to send message: You have been blocked by this number.]
  1734. >”Sunset…” Rainbow Dash tries to console Sunset. “It’s probably a good idea to think about moving on. This whole lesson that Twilight’s been pushing isn’t working.”
  1735. >”That’s not it.” Twilight tells her.
  1736. >Rainbow Dash turns to Twilight, giving her a questioning look. With this, Twilight takes a deep breath before continuing.
  1737. >”The truth is… I’ve never actually told Sunset about any of this. Not until now, at least.”
  1738. >Everyone stops in their tracks and turns to Twilight, except for Sunset, who stands there with her phone in her hands.
  1739. >”You what?!” Dash exclaims.
  1740. >”But…” Applejack starts off while watching Sunset stand motionless. “If she never even knew y’all were doing this… then why did she go through all of that trouble just to be all lovey and whatnot towards Anon?”
  1741. >Twilight stares at the rain battered ground and watches the countless drops hit against the asphalt. Saying not a word.
  1742. >But everyone catches on immediately.
  1743. >Sunset Shimmer continues to stand in the rain, holding the phone to her chest and feeling every emotion except for the willingness to surrender.
  1744. >…
  1745. >The night before Wednesday.
  1746. >And so… Trixie Lulamoon lies on her bed, staring at the screen of her phone.
  1747. >She had been more than certain that enough time had passed for her to finally text Anon from her own number and get him to let her fly with him.
  1748. >The night air outside is silent except for the gentle rain hitting the rooftops.
  1749. >She had opened up Anon’s number and started typing a message. Trixie’s first priority was to make whatever she said first as convincing as possible. Her number wasn’t blocked yet, since Anon didn’t know what the number is. But it was pretty clear that he would block the number once he knew it belongs to Trixie.
  1750. >This is why she needed to make her first message count, preparing it ahead of time. But it was of no use, and Anon cut off all communication with Trixie.
  1751. >She had imagined him accepting her apology, agreeing to hear her out for the first time. She wanted to actually talk to him on the other end, calling him and listening to his voice. Something to verify that what she had done earlier today wasn’t for nothing.
  1752. >But it was all a waste.
  1753. >And now, Trixie lies on her bed with tears filling up her eyes. It’s all fallen away from her now… her only chance. And it’s all over now.
  1754. >Anon is never going to be hers, despite the best of her measly efforts. She literally sabotaged Sunset’s phone when he finally caved in, and it still did nothing.
  1755. >Trixie’s last resort of a plan failed, and there’s no turning back.
  1756. >Realizations such as these haunt Trixie’s mind as she places her phone back down and lies on her side. She does her best to keep her sobs quiet; it’s better that no one hears her.
  1757. >It’s over.
  1758. ~
  1759. ~
  1760. >You sleep in on Wednesday morning.
  1761. >It is impossible to describe how much the tension has receded now that school’s over. Your life has just been released from its chains, but not only the ones that were connected to waking up early every morning.
  1762. >Sunset and her little ring of drama is a thing of the past.
  1763. >You’ve been so sick of all these things happening over the past week and a half. If your life were a movie, you’d skip this part and just go ahead and watch the rest.
  1764. >Down the stairs you go, speeding into the kitchen to fix yourself a plate of waffles and a huge bowl of cereal. Shovel the whole meal down in a matter of minutes, anticipating how you’re going to tackle your final days in this town. If Brothens is anything like how people describe it, then you’re practically fighting for a ticket to heaven.
  1765. >As far as your relationship with your peers is concerned, there is no more Sunset Shimmer, no more Twilight Sparkle, no more Flash Sentry, no more anyone except for Mary, Norman and the Dazzlings, whom you have to contact if you want to get out of this town.
  1766. >Before you know it, you are back in your room, texting Sweet “Mary” Leaf’s number. There’s no time for you to lose. You even see a message from Norman, but you’ll look at that after you send the first message to Mary.
  1767. [Mary? This is Anon. Norman gave me your number last night.]
  1768. >The response comes in a lot sooner than you’d expect. You don’t even have time to look at what Norman said to you for very long, but you manage to read it for a couple of seconds.
  1769. >[Hey Anon, you know where the mall is, right?]
  1770. >Mary’s message:
  1771. >[OMG hi! I’ve needed to talk to you so badly! Adagio’s been on my back all day today about finding a way to contact you.]
  1772. >Leave Norman’s message alone for the moment, since it doesn’t to seem too urgent. It’s about time the only numbers in your contact lists are those of people you know you can trust.
  1773. [Really? Adagio?] You respond to Mary’s message, making sure that she didn’t mistype.
  1774. >[Yep. She told me that she really needs to talk with you and Norman as soon as possible. She’s really eager about the idea that you two have.]
  1775. >Well this sure was unexpected.
  1776. [Is there anywhere I can meet her and the other two?]
  1777. >[Oh right. Did Norman already text you about the mall?]
  1778. >It doesn’t take long to put this together.
  1779. [He did. So are you saying that we should meet at the mall? Because I do know where that is.]
  1780. >[Definitely. I’m going to be there too. Just tell Norman whenever you’re going over to there. The Dazzlings are apparently hanging out over there all day today anyway, so just look for them whenever you get there. I guess I’ll go over there now anyway, since I don’t mind.]
  1781. [Awesome. I’ll tell Norman I’m going over there, now.] You cheerfully reply, heading over to the bathroom to sneak a shower in before leaving.
  1782. >Before you shower, you shoot Norman a quick text that you’re going to be at the mall in about a half an hour. You then haphazardly get ready for the day, which is already halfway over anyway.
  1783. >Everything about this is not only relieving, but also exciting to a great extent. Days ago, you felt trapped like a bug under a shoe. Surrounded by people who wanted to change the direction of your life to their preferences. And it was working too.
  1784. >But that’s over, now. This scrambled mess that your life has become shall have order brought to it. No more running back and forth, texting one person while questioning the motives of another. You’re done going through that.
  1785. >You step out of your shower and glare into the mirror with an ambitious grin. The hairs on your head can be seen beginning to grow back once again. Usually, you would shave them off, keeping yourself bald and far from being an individual. But not today.
  1786. >Race out of your house after re-dressing, hop into your car and start driving in the direction of the mall.
  1787. >It’s time to go on a glorious vacation… escaping the drama and everything that comes with it. You were right to reject Sunset. You were right to be stubborn and hold your ground under social pressure. And you’re going to reward yourself with a permanent change in your life.
  1788. >You’re going somewhere where you’ll get more action in your life.
  1789. >Brothens.
  1790. >Find a parking space in the mall’s parking lot and head inside. Start looking for the Dazzlings immediately, starting your search in the clothing stores.
  1791. >Rows and rows of merchandise are passed in the midst of your search. The music that is playing gets slightly louder with each time you pass by one of the overhead speakers. It’s a bit hard to see past the racks of clothing, but at least they’re not too tall for you to see over most of them.
  1792. >The Dazzlings are nowhere to be found at first, so you decide to text Mary and ask her if there’s a certain place to meet up.
  1793. [I’m here. Are you with Norman or any of the Dazzlings? Wherever you are I can be over there in a couple of minutes.]
  1794. >[Go to the food court. That’s where Norman and I usually hang out, so he’s probably there.]
  1795. >Not wasting any time, you make your way to the escalator and impatiently wait to spot the entrance to the larger corridor that connects all of the department stores. You spot it, get off the escalator and quickly walk out of the store, passing by a bunch of summer sale posters as you go through the store’s exit.
  1796. >Weave around families and couple while searching for the food court. The same music from inside the department store is still playing, but has been shrouded in an airy echo that spreads throughout the corridors with high ceilings.
  1797. >The food court eventually comes up on your right and you promptly enter it.
  1798. >Right away, you spot Adagio’s hair from across the room, using it as something to keep your eye on as you make your way over.
  1799. >Aria and Sonata are eventually seen sitting across from her, who soon notice you walking towards them.
  1800. >”Hi, Anon!” Loudly chimes Sonata with the usual wide smile on her face.
  1801. >Adagio turns around to face you while Aria slumps down in her chair and crosses her arms.
  1802. >”There you are!” Adagio gasps as she slowly rises from her chair. “Come sit with us.”
  1803. “Alright. It’s uh… nice seeing you again.”
  1804. >Without responding, Adagio lowers her eyelids and gestures for you to sit at her table so she can talk with you. She moves one seat back, leaving the one she just got up from for you at the four-chair table.
  1805. >”Hey, dude.” Norman’s voice surprises you from behind.
  1806. “Oh hey, Norman. And Mary.” You greet him, and Mary who is right behind him.
  1807. >This is the first time you’ve seen the two of them in the same place in a while. There’s something rather bizarre about this, on the ground that it remains consistent with you being in a safer environment. This was the same case in the cafeteria at Canterlot High, which hilariously enough is what this food court reminds you of.
  1808. >The events of your life are almost beginning to rhyme with one another,
  1809. >Norman and Mary walk up to a table right next to that of the Dazzlings and face the chairs towards the rest of the group.
  1810. >”For starters, I want to say that I have taken the liberty of looking up cruise ships that stop near Brothens.” Adagio tells you. “There’s apparently a couple of them that stop there for a few hours at a time. But unfortunately, none of them start off anywhere near Canterlot.”
  1811. >”So I was right, then.” Sonata joins in. “There’s no boar that can take us to Brothens and that’s that!”
  1812. >”I’m not done yet, Sonata. Just because there aren’t any boats that go to Brothens doesn’t mean that there aren’t any planes that can take us somewhere where such boats are available.”
  1813. >”Well I’m not going on a boring old boat!” Reluctantly declares Sonata.
  1814. >”You will if I say so!” Adagio tells her with a stern tone.
  1815. “Sorry but… I’m just a little bit confused about all this.” You interject. “What’s everyone’s stance in all this?”
  1816. >Adagio lets out a deep sigh as she turns to you again.
  1817. >”Okay, so here’s the deal. I heard about you and Norman wanting to join us in the trip to Brothens, but couldn’t get in because there aren’t any seats left. There’s really nothing anyone can do about that. The number of seats is what it is.” Adagio explains. “But you see, I like your idea of switching tickets with us so the girls and I can go on a more… mellow route to our vacation spot. And this makes sense too, since we’re not exactly members of the band who actually play anything yet. They simply took us under their wing.”
  1818. >”Nuh-uh! I played that flute thingy really good! Remember?” Sonata reminds Adagio.
  1819. >Adagio pinches the ridge between her eyes.
  1820. >”Yes, yes, and it was really nice Sonata.” She assures her before continuing. “Anyway… I’m more than okay with this swapping of the tickets. As long as the girls and I make it to Brothens at some point. Preferably not too long after the rest of the group makes it there. So I’ve decided to let you fellows buy three plane tickets to one of the cities or towns that host naval cruises to Brothens, since plant tickets to those cities would be much cheaper than plane tickets to a place like Brothens. And then on Friday, we can swap the tickets at the last minute and let you two onto the direct trip to Brothens.”
  1821. >”I’m liking this idea!” Norman agrees with her.
  1822. >”But the problem is, Sonata here doesn’t want to fly to some other city or take any boat or ship ride to Brothens. She wants to keep her ticket and take the direct flight to Brothens like the rest of the band.”
  1823. “I see…” You let them know that you’re on the same page. “Well what’s Aria’s stance on this.”
  1824. >”Oh. She doesn’t care which way this goes.” Informs Adagio as she looks over to Aria, who still has her arms crossed.
  1825. >”As long as I get out of this freaking town…” Aria mutters.
  1826. >You can’t help but empathize with her.
  1827. >To be honest, you really didn’t expect Sonata to be the one to not wan to go the long way to Brothens. This sure has been surprising.
  1828. >But whatever, you’ll work with this.
  1829. “Well, why don’t you want to go for a ride on a cruise ship, Sonata?” You ask.
  1830. >”It’s just that I want to keep having fun with the band kids!” Sonata complains. “They’re really cool and I like super long plane rides. Besides, we’ve already got the tickets to that place, and they cost a lot of money!”
  1831. >”Sonata, we’re not going to lose our money that we paid. It wasn’t even our money, it was the school that funded this trip.”
  1832. >With a couple of stray blinks, Sonata pauses for a second before going on.
  1833. >”Well… yeah. But I’d feel really bad if we took the school’s money and used it for something that they didn’t want.”
  1834. >You listen to the two speak, letting the part of the table that’s covered by your arms become warmer from your body heat.
  1835. >”I’m pretty sure the money isn’t going to waste if we’re having someone else have the seats instead of us.” Adagio tries to persuade Sonata. “And besides, it’s not like you’re never going to see any of the other band kids again. We’re all going to meet up with them in Brothens.”
  1836. >”But I wanna have fun with them on the plaaaaaane!” Sonata shuts her eyes and whines. “It’ll be cool! I wanna play awesome solos on Sweet Leaf’s flute thingy all the way there so I can show you how much I practiced!”
  1837. >”I’m not sure the flight attendants are going to want music playing out loud on the flight, Sonata.” Mary tells her. “And you can call me Mary now that the school year’s over.”
  1838. “Wait, huh?” You turn to her. “What do you mean? Is your real name Mary or Sweet Leaf?”
  1839. >”I only go be Sweet Leaf when it’s during school. And I go be Mary once it’s summer. It’s a long story. I’ll explain it all on the plane ride or something when we have all the time in the world to tell stories.”
  1840. >”See? If I don’t go on the plane to Brothens, I’m gonna miss Swee- I mean Mary’s story!” Sonata further tries to convince Adagio. “I at least gotta be there for that! I gotta I gotta I gotta!”
  1841. >”Uh, I can just retell it to you on the beach.” Mary tells her.
  1842. >”But it’s not the same! And a cruise ship is boring because there’s nothing to do on there.” Complains Sonata.
  1843. >”What are you talking about? There are plenty of things to do on a cruise ship. It’s only boring in you make it boring. I’m sure that they have game rooms and mini pools or something. We’ll find something to do top pass the time, I promise, Sonata. And the first half of he ride is going to be by plane anyway.”
  1844. >”But the boat part still isn’t up in the air!”
  1845. >”Oh my gosh, shut up, Sonata!” Gripes Aria. “Just freaking pretend that it’s up in the air.”
  1846. >”That’s not helping, Aria.” Adagio scolds. “And that’s not the point. I have found multiple places that have ferries traveling to Brothens. Places where we can fly to first.”
  1847. >”Well where is the place where the boats are going to be sailing from? Is it far or anything?” Asks Norman. “You did pick a town somewhere, right?”
  1848. >”Liberty City.” Adagio recalls. “That’s the name, if I’m not mistaken.”
  1849. >Mary and Norman give Adagio a funny look. They then look at eachother for a couple of seconds.
  1850. >”You mean, that super poor place on the far western coast?” Mary asks. “They have shipyards?”
  1851. >”Believe it or not, yes. And tickets to there, any kind, are very cheap. So it isn’t hard to buy three tickets to there while staying within our budget.”
  1852. “Is it the only place?” You ask Adagio.
  1853. >”No. But nowhere else is within our budget. We haven’t exactly been a group of girls to have a lot of money with us, Anon.”
  1854. >Oh… right.
  1855. >”Unless one of you has enough money to chip in and get us to somewhere that’s less… you know.” Adagio adds.
  1856. >Think of yourself first. You’re basically just a guy pushing his way through high school, not really feeling like getting a summer job because you’re too lazy. You have some money, but it’s mostly for buying quick things at convenience stores; nowhere near enough to afford a plane ticket, even to a poor city.
  1857. >Now look at Norman and Mary.
  1858. >From what you know, they’re pretty much two stoners who most likely focus the majority of whatever money they have on affording more weed. Chill people, but not exactly the “money type”.
  1859. >You partially hope that you’re wrong about this.
  1860. >”Well I don’t really have much to go on.” Norman admits to the others. “I have like… 15 bucks on me right now. And I don’t need anymore weed at the moment. Are these plane tickets expensive?”
  1861. “Wait! I got an idea!” You suddenly blurt out.
  1862. >The group turns to look at you.
  1863. “Alright. So I’ve been thinking… if all three of the Dazzlings swap their seats for Norman and I, that would leave one seat open, right?”
  1864. >”Actually, yeah.” Norman agrees. “I’ve… thought about that before.”
  1865. >The rest of the group listens in on your plan.
  1866. “So this can only mean that someone could go ahead and take the spot as they please, since it would be pretty much up for grabs. And I can be fairly sure that Twilight knows about me wanting to go to Brothens with the rest of you guys.”
  1867. >”Trixie already knows.” Confirms Norman. “And if she knows, then Twilight surely knows too. And it’s not like they can’t find out when the band class is going on the flight.
  1868. “Right. So with that said, it might be a better idea to only buy two tickets to another place, and leave one of the Dazzlings on the flight.” You brief. “This is perfect, since it would cost less, and Sonata wants to stay on the flight to Brothens anyway.”
  1869. >”Let’s do that!” Sonata excitedly interjects.
  1870. >”I have to admit. That idea really couldn’t go wrong.” Adagio provides her input. “And another thing on the plus side, I can get ever more peace and quiet.”
  1871. >”Oh stop it, Addie! You know I’m fun.”
  1872. >”Yes… yes you are.” Adagio assures her with a sigh throughout her words. “But… I suppose I like boat rides, that’s all.”
  1873. >”Oh, please.” Says Aria. “We all know that Sonata is annoying. There’s no point in sugarcoating things”
  1874. >”Aria, stop it. This is our plan and we’re sticking with it.”
  1875. >”Yeah!” Sonata tells her. “You’re just jealous that Anon thought of a better plan than you ever could and it works perfectly for every one here. I get to show the rest of the band how much better I’ve gotten at playing Sweetie’s flute thingy and have fun, Anon gets to run away from his problems, and you and Adagio get your boring little boat ride from… where again?”
  1876. >”There’s another city that’s slightly further away, but not quite as bad as a place as Liberty City. I saw it as having shipyards on the map.” Adagio reveals.
  1877. “City name?”
  1878. >”Kara-Kara.”
  1879. >Norman widens his eyes as he hears Adagio reveal the name.
  1880. >”Uh… isn’t that place worse than Liberty City?” He brings up. “Like, I’ve heard about all of the black markets they have there. It’s where my dealer gets most of his weed from, and it’s apparently a rough city.”
  1881. >”I’ve done research on it, Norman. The only part of the city that has connections with the black market is the area north of downtown. The south side is nothing but middle class neighborhoods and shopping centers, where the shipyard that hosts the ride to Brothens is. The airport is on that end, too. I saw it all in an aerial satellite view.”
  1882. >”Oh, cool. So we’re only going to the good side of the city.” Conveys Aria.
  1883. >”So we’re going there. Case closed.” Concludes Adagio. “So uh, Mary, can you go ahead and tell the conductor that Aria and I are going to be swapping our tickets with Anon and Norman a flight to Kara-Kara?”
  1884. >”Alright, I’ll do that. But there’s no telling if he’s going to allow this.” Mary explains. “The conductor has been really flexible about things before, but I’m still not entirely sure if he’ll be okay with this. But I know it’s still worth a try, now that we know what we’re going to do.”
  1885. “That’s fine. I still really appreciate you all doing this.”
  1886. >”Don’t worry about it, Anon.” Norman assures you. “There really wasn’t a better way to handle this anyway. This is the kind of problem that you’re supposed to just avoid.”
  1887. >”I hate to admit it, but Norman’s right.” Adagio agrees. “Twilight and Sunset, they… they have a lot more to them than you know. You’ve heard about how they have magical powers, right?”
  1888. “Yeah.” You meekly answer as the memories of Twilight appearing at your bedroom window resurface.
  1889. >”Well I’ve felt it. She and Sunset, along with their friends, have powers beyond anything that Aria, Sonata and I could manage to keep up with. And that’s when we did have powers.”
  1890. >”If I were Anon, I would worry most about Twilight.” Norman points out. “Seeing how she freaked out after losing her top student thingy, her whole life is probably turned upside down at this point. Right now, she seems like the type of girl who has nothing to lose. And her friends are sure to stick with her throughout all of this, since they’ve pretty much done things for her before.”
  1891. “I’d rather worry about Sunset. She is the one who started and probably planned all of this.” You say. “Though, Id rather not even have to talk about who I should worry about the most.”
  1892. >”You just want to get out of this place, don’t you?”
  1893. “Honestly, yes. Like I’ve said I don’t know how many times before, I don’t want any part in this. I don’t want to deal with it, I don’t want to put up with it, and I don’t even want to think about it. I just want to go to Brothens and see where I can take my life from there.”
  1894. >”That’s definitely for the best. You can’t exactly fight seven girls who possess magical powers from another dimension, three of which who can fly. And it’s also summer, so it’s not like Principal Celestia has any jurisdiction in this if it takes place off of school grounds.” Adagio tells you. “Running away and keeping your distance is a smart move.”
  1895. >The others nod in agreement before Adagio continues to instruct to you her plan.
  1896. >”So here’s the deal. You meet us at the airport on Friday morning. We’re going to be there at 7 am, okay?”
  1897. “Got it. And I can just Google the directions to the airport.” You verify.
  1898. >”Great. And we’ll give you the tickets to the plane once we meet up in the main lobby of the airport. Just look for all of the instruments that the band will be holding.”
  1899. >”We’ll be watching for you.” Says Mary. “Are you going to be riding in with Norman or something?”
  1900. “I guess I could do that.”
  1901. >The plan of your escape is finally coming together.
  1902. >…
  1903. >After a few more minutes of speaking to one another, the meeting ends and everyone goes their separate ways to either go shopping or to go back home. Not really being too comfortable outside of the house, you decide that you’d rather stay in the relative safety of your room.
  1904. >You had been told to be ready to have some information ready for when you arrive at the airport.
  1905. >The drive back home is uneventful, and almost thoughtless. In terms of the plans that you have and the plans that you’re certain others must have, there’s really nothing left to consider.
  1906. >All of the right numbers have been blocked, and there’s only one more day after today that you have to last. It’s pretty simple once you get down to it.
  1907. >You make it home and lie down on your bed once more, rethinking all of the times you had stood up for yourself when someone else tried to overtake you. If there’s anything that you’ll never forget, it’s when Trixie made you feel on the inside that you don’t even want to carry the same name anymore. It’s just the way that she associated the act of being a shy and bashful doormat of a person with your own name.
  1908. >Anon.
  1909. >This is almost the most embarrassing thing you can think about. This is your own name, and no one should make you question whether you respect it or not.
  1910. >But then you reminisce the times when you stood in front of that mirror, maniacally laughing at that reflection that resembled the person that you used to be.
  1911. >Something has changed you, and there’s pretty much no denying that. But what does matter is how far you’re willing to take this… or how far you’re willing to go to keep yourself the way you used to be. Your desires are clear.
  1912. >No longer do you want to be the Anon that you and your former peers have come to know. No more do you want to be that degrading image that you’ve suddenly fought the will of others to free yourself from.
  1913. >The very second you stepped out of line in the eyes of everyone’s social standards, they did everything they could to keep you from stepping any further.
  1914. >These people, peers, wanted you to stay the same Anon that they believe is supposed to exist. They expect, and encourage guy who says yes to that popular girl who asks him out. That’s the way the masses want it to go every time; and they discourage anything that differs.
  1915. >Not only do you want to negate this, but you also want to keep everything about this subject out of your mind. Even the thoughts themselves feel as though they are keeping all of the good and enjoyable things out of your life. This entire week and a half has been nothing but stressful issues to put up with. It has seemed to drag on for what surely feels like years. And you want this to end now.
  1916. >This whole ordeal has lasted too long; you want freedom.
  1917. >Because surprisingly enough… this has been boring just as much as it has been tense. These dramatic social issues are laughably ridiculous. Literally nothing actually interesting is happening in your life as the clock continues to tick your time away. More and more is lost as you sink further and further into some casserole of drama that you want absolutely no part of.
  1918. >Where’s your comeback? Is this the life that “Anon” is supposed to live? Why can’t things be better than this?
  1919. >There is a whole world out there to experience, and you’re stuck here with the usual teenager soap opera tier arguments that ultimately lead to petty fights and all those things that you’d normally laugh at.
  1920. >Where’s the passion in life? Where’s the fun?
  1921. >This isn’t the story that you want to call your life. But then again, this isn’t the story that Twilight, Sunset or Flash wanted either.
  1922. >It was never a fact that you said yes to Sunset any of the times she had asked you out. There was never a time when you awkwardly scheduled a first date with her, worrying about whether or not something would go wrong. There was never a time when you almost said the wrong words, rearranged it in your mind and ended up saying something worse and dropping spaghetti right in front of your then newfound crush. There was never a time when you feared that your had just blown any chance you had with Sunset Shimmer just by saying one thing wrong.
  1923. >There was never a first date you two went on, where you had no idea how to act or what to say to her. There was never a time when you wondered what it was that Sunset liked so much about you, and then brushed it off as you being a lucky guy that she actually asked YOU out on a date and not Flash or someone.
  1924. >There were never any awkward conversations that you two had together that would somehow make you two somehow like each other even more.
  1925. >You have never asked what few friends you have for advice on how to continue to impress Sunset, having been asked out completely by surprise and not knowing how to tackle the situation. There was never a time when an either proud or secretly jealous Flash Sentry, who would seemingly wish you good luck on your next date with Sunset, approached you.
  1926. >This isn’t the story that has been taking place in this portion of your life; you have prevented that from occurring, and the other kids don’t seem to sit too well with that.
  1927. >And amazingly enough, Sunset is still perfectly willing to persist in trying to topple your defenses and get you make the story that SHE wants happen. She wants to change your ways to something she likes whether you like it or not. The proof in this can be seen in her continuously trying to find new ways to make you fall in love with her.
  1928. >And she really did reveal her true colors in the end, thinking that she had you in the palm of her hand anyway. Believing that her plan actually worked. Thinking that you actually caved in to her.
  1929. >You still can’t believe that you were right to be so paranoid. It’s a shame that you doubted yourself for even a second. But whatever, the truth is out now, and the numbers are blocked. This whole battle in and of itself was such a silly little thing to fight. There better be something in the near future to make up for this.
  1930. >As soon as these thought go to a pause for the moment, you take a glance at your clock and peer out of your bedroom window.
  1931. >Oh look. It’s already nighttime.
  1932. >You hadn’t even been paying attention to whatever time it was when you started another one of your sessions of sitting on the edge of your bed and doing nothing but think.
  1933. >The very next thing you do is go to bed, after making sure to seal your window shut. If you were just a little bit more feeble-minded, then maybe you’d be more inclined to worry about the dangers of your potential ‘sleep paralysis’. But all of this is starting to feel more and more distant to you by the second as you watch your life slip away from you every day you’re not in Brothens.
  1934. >Fall asleep without worrying about a single thing in a matter or minutes.
  1935. >…
  1936. ~
  1937. >It’s a few minutes before 11 PM on Wednesday night.
  1938. >Sitting on the edge of her own bed, Sunset Shimmer scrolls through the text messages with Anon’s number. She reads everything over again and again, making her heart sink and flutter at the same time.
  1939. >It’s those messages… those ones in which he admits the very thing she’s wanted to hear this entire time. Finally spilled out in the open, only to be pulled away at the last second by that little message that tells someone that a number has blocked him or her. This is one of the most tantalizing things Sunset Shimmer has ever experienced for as long as she remembers.
  1940. >His feelings are there right in front of her, but she can’t do anything about it. She can’t talk to Anon. She can’t hold his hand. She can’t even look at the messages without feeling a passionate explosion inside of here with each word that meets her eyes.
  1941. >He loves her… and she can’t tell him that it’s okay to do so. She has no way of making him know that the messages sent from her phone were not from her. Anon’s not going to listen to anyone anymore. Sunset knew she felt something in him, and she knew that he felt something too.
  1942. >But whoever did this has completely destroyed what could have been; and this isn’t something that Sunset can just allow to remain part of reality. She was so close, and her chances were torn to the ground the very second Anon opened up.
  1943. >Not only this, but Sunset is almost completely sure who is behind this disaster.
  1944. >Trixie.
  1945. >She was the one who was sitting ion that desk when Sunset put her phone down on top of Rarity’s purse. She is the one who had disappeared into thin air after Sunset had left the main office. Nothing else had happened after Trixie’s disappearance, aside Sunset finding out that her number had been blocked by Anon.
  1946. >Sunset’s not sure if Twilight had been behind this in any way, though she did promise that she was going to help her at least try to appeal to Anon a little bit more. But what Twilight had actually done is something that had been far beyond Sunset’s knowledge this entire time. If only she had known sooner, would she have been able to help Anon instead, possibly building a friendship with that boy.
  1947. >But Sunset definitely isn’t going to give this up any time soon.
  1948. >She knows that she must find the boy who loves her. She must tell him in person what happened, and that it’s okay to feel the way he feels. Sunset Shimmer is willing to do whatever it takes to make things right.
  1949. >Anon is out there somewhere, about to go places and experience the world. And Sunset must follow him at all costs.
  1950. >…
  1951. >Right as you wake up, a sharp aching pain assaults the right side of your head. It started out as something small, but later grew into something that was strong enough to hold you down in your bed without touching anything except for the muscles around your scalp.
  1952. >This is the last day you have to stay here, and you experience a massive migraine.
  1953. >Talk about a grand finale to the eventless portion of your life.
  1954. >But you do manage to go about your morning routine just like almost every other day, and eventually make it downstairs.
  1955. >During the course of the morning, nothing much happens. Your parents had already been up, having waited for you to come down the stairs. The fact that they do this sometimes has always irked you more than you’re able to explain. It’s simply how they wait there so passively; ready to deliver orders to you while somehow knowing exactly where you’re going to be at a certain time.
  1956. >This sure does feel familiar.
  1957. >But you do keep in mind that they have been doing this where they indirectly monitor you and then redirect whatever your doing for quite some time. Since long before you even started High School, and some years before that as well.
  1958. >Part of you wants to blame them for what’s been recently happening, but not only would they brush it off as a phase, they would tell you that it’s your fault since you’re responsible for your own actions.
  1959. >But you can’t say that you’re responsible for your own suspicions.
  1960. >You have to be smart and draw the line at some point.
  1961. >Surprisingly enough, they ask you about how your school year was. Weaving your way around awkward details, you somewhat explain to them what has been going on.
  1962. >Here’s what their response is:
  1963. >You’re apparently slowly developing a crush with a girl that you’re not telling them the name of, and that they think you’re going to marry her at some point in your life if you stick around her for long enough.
  1964. >Also, your statement to them that you plan to never get married is silly in their opinion, as they’re “more than sure” that you’ll change your mind when “the right girl” comes along.
  1965. >This is why you never want to ask for their opinions on these kinds of things, as they make it only worse.
  1966. >For as long as you can remember, you have absolutely hated when they get like this. Telling you what your future holds based on what they want to happen despite anything you say against it. It riles you on the inside, but luckily not enough for it to show on the outside.
  1967. >But this conversation isn’t even the reason why they were waiting for you to come down.
  1968. >Based on the parts that you actually listen to, they have already signed you up for a summer program that’s pretty much like summer school, but the purpose of it is to make you more able to achieve academic success. And they believe that it’s necessary for you to attend this, now that the school year’s over.
  1969. >The program starts Monday.
  1970. >They signed you up without even asking or telling you first. They’ve done this with tons of things before, and the negative feeling from this have built up over the years, making every single conversation more tense each day. They may rarely be around, but the few times when they are in your presence might have consisted of instances that may be the roots of a lot of your second guessing of things.
  1971. >And this time around, the act of signing you up for something is far too inconvenient for you to accept. They want you to stay here and attend the program.
  1972. >Yes, stay here. You are Anon, after all. Stay here in town with your soon-to-be girlfriend because that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do. It’s just the way things are done around here and you can’t change that.
  1973. >But you’re planning on not being ‘around here’ for very long.
  1974. >The time of retribution for all of the wasted years is at its dawn. And you’re not stopping at anything.
  1975. >Whatever, you’re close enough to the age where you can legally leave home anyway. Running away now would only count as a… three-week head start. It looks like you’re celebrating your 18th birthday in Brothens.
  1976. >The migraine does everything but let up as you spend the rest of the afternoon in your room surfing the Internet.
  1977. >You do spend some time texting Norman and Mary, who pretty much respond assuring you that the plan is bound to work. Mary hasn’t heard back from the conductor yet, but she tells you that he will be getting back to you soon.
  1978. >Between you and Norman, it is decided that you are going to meet him at the park and he’ll drive you to the airport. And there’s really nothing else to it; that’s the plan.
  1979. >Nothing even happens for the rest of the day after this, you just sit in the chair with your head giving you a hard time in multiple ways. Just imagine spending every summer day like this. The plane trip cannot come soon enough.
  1980. >You go to bed early after the painfully boring day, hoping that it’s not going to define the rest of your summer. It really better not do so.
  1981. >Nobody had come near your house all day, and there doesn’t seem to be anything happening all night either. No visions or sleep paralysis, nothing. It’s almost as though you’re finally free.
  1982. >Almost.
  1983. >But you know for a fact that you’ll never actually be free until you’re on that flight and far, far away from Sunset and her little group of sociopaths.
  1984. >…
  1985. >Man… that Sunset. How is it that she’s so bent on trying to get you to change your ways? What is it about you that’s so special to her. She was literally driven to plant a bunch of flowers in her garden just to give them to you. And why did she start feeling this way so suddenly, especially after an apparent obsession with Norman that you’ve been told about.
  1986. >She really did think that the fact that she went through all of that trouble would make you just have to say yes, didn’t she? She though that she had you backed into a corner with that whole act she was putting up. But you weren’t going down that easily.
  1987. >But enough of these paranoid thoughts… you’re honestly grown so sick of them. Sure, they were actually plotting against you, but that doesn’t mean that feeling this amount of paranoia is anything close to normal.
  1988. >You seriously need to calm down and get ahold of yourself. It’s getting to the point where not even you are siding with your own way of thinking.
  1989. >And the only way to find yourself a state of serenity is to get out of this place and distance yourself from the things that make you think the way you have been thinking for the past two weeks or so at this point.
  1990. >Finally, you try to drift off to sleep, having set your alarm to wake you up at 6. But your eyes just refuse to close, just like how your mind refuses to open.
  1991. >The last thing you want tomorrow morning is to be drowsy when you need to focus on your escape. By some miracle, you actually managed to slither past the odds and find yourself a way to get onto that flight to Brothens. If anything, you should consider yourself lucky.
  1992. >Things must be set in motion.
  1993. >You decide to stay up all night and do any packing that you might need to do. Start going through all of your belongings and decide what you feel like packing. This process takes a lot longer than you had previously imagined, given that there are countless loose items scattered across your rooms and hidden away in drawers and on shelves and such.
  1994. >The fateful night rolls on with you trying not to make too much noise where you’d wake up your parents. If there’s anything that you really don’t want, it’s them finding out your plan, only to foil it and force you to stay here.
  1995. >…
  1996. >The morning slowly comes, gradually lighting up the sky over the minutes. This is your green light that indicates that it is time to go. You take a look at everything you have packed.
  1997. >Your laptop, a bunch of clothes, a few knick-knacks that you decided that you might need in Brothens for some reason. But most importantly, you have gathered all of the money that you have to use in the foreign country.
  1998. >It all fits into one bag, and you leave your room to once again find your parents absent. Like how they usually are. But there’s no need to worry this time. They really shouldn’t be awake to be watching you.
  1999. >After everything that’s happened at school, you hadn’t thought at all about how you had always suspected that your parents had watched you whilst hiding in the shadows, out of your view. You rarely saw them around, but you were always under the impression that they were keeping track of everything you had been doing.
  2000. >The events with Twilight and Sunset had rather distracted you from worrying about this, giving you something much more closer in proximity to worry about.
  2001. >It’s not surprising that they already had the amounts of cameras needed to monitor the entire property. You remember when Twilight was at your bedroom window, probably in view of one of the cameras somehow. But you forgot to at least ask if your parents had checked the footage from that night.
  2002. >However, you no longer care. You plan to leave all of this paranoia behind you and just go relax on the beaches for the summer. Escape the thoughts and make interesting things happen in your life for a change.
  2003. >You make it to the first floor and head towards the front door.
  2004. >The cool morning air hits your face before you realize it. Something about being inside a minute or so had caused you to be absent minded. It’s just that the next thing you know, you’ve stepped outside. For some reason, you don’t even remember turning the knob.
  2005. >The air is quiet, but your mind is broken. Only now do you realize how badly you need the distance from all of these people. Only at this very instant do you remember walking through the door. You hadn’t been thinking about it at the time until you had gotten some fresh air into your lungs.
  2006. >Holding your phone in your hand, you send one text to Norman that you’re on your way to the park. Run over, not being able to help looking up to the brightening sky every few seconds. You’re trying so hard to make the thoughts pass, and the view of the wispy magenta clouds in the sky is helping to an extent.
  2007. >But you want the plane. Only then can you be sure that you’re free.
  2008. >”Anon, wait.” A familiar voice sounds behind you.
  2009. >You slam on the brakes, only to look in the rear view mirror to find Twilight’s reflection staring at you from the back seat of your car.
  2010. >”Please hear me out.”
  2011.  
  2012. >Without a single word, you immediately jerk yourself around, only to feel as though you’re completely still. It soon becomes apparent that you’re not awake. The best thing to do is to try and stay calm.
  2013.  
  2014. >”Anon, please.” Twilight continues. “I know what you’re planning on doing. But I just want to talk.”
  2015.  
  2016. “Let me wake up or I’m forcing myself up. You better hope you get away from my window before I reach out of it.”
  2017.  
  2018. >”Please just hear me out. Please…”
  2019.  
  2020. >The inability to move becomes slightly stronger, numbing your senses into the abyss. Though, you still try to force yourself up; try to feel your bedsheets around you to feel if your at least slightly moving or not. Then, try to intensify those movements. But you soon find that you can’t feel anything around you at all except for the car seat.
  2021.  
  2022. >”Anon…”
  2023.  
  2024. "NO!"
  2025.  
  2026. >Squirming around will be of no use. Your entire body feels like it’s completely still in the realm it’s physically it. But you can easily move around in the car, locked into the dream. You’re completely numb to the bed.
  2027.  
  2028. >”Don’t go to Brothens, Anon.” Twilight urges you. “This isn’t the answer.”
  2029.  
  2030. “Get… out of my head.”
  2031.  
  2032. >”Anon…”
  2033.  
  2034. “Don’t call me that!”
  2035.  
  2036. >The subconscious outburst was inevitable since you’re asleep. All of the thoughts that usually stay on the inside of your head are being spoken out loud in the car… in a way. And you have a feeling that Twilight knows this.
  2037.  
  2038. “I’m never going to let you overtake me, Twilight! Don’t call me Anon! You and those other girls have ruined who I used to be!”
  2039.  
  2040. >”You can’t possibly mean that-”
  2041.  
  2042. “I DO possibly mean it and I do definitely mean it! You’re not going to make a fool and a loser out of me! I know your plans and I’m not gong to let you win.”
  2043.  
  2044. >”I’m afraid that you’re horribly mistaken, Anon.” Twilight softly assures you as you notice your seatbelt unravel and retract on its own. “You’re being overly defensive about all this.”
  2045.  
  2046. “I’m not being overly defensive! You’re the one invading my personal thoughts!”
  2047.  
  2048. >She slightly tilts her head, almost smirking.
  2049.  
  2050. >”Yes, I am. Because I know that they do not match what you say in real life. I could tell in the tone of your voice and the way your eyes would dart around the place. You were lying, Anon. But I’m here to tell you that it’s okay.”
  2051.  
  2052. “No! It’s not okay! I came out on top and I want it to stay that way!”
  2053.  
  2054. >”Sunset saw your messages to her. I saw them too.”
  2055.  
  2056. >The dream conversation becomes completely concise and straightforward. Your mind is nowhere near alert enough to be able to allow you to lie about things. That’s the worst part about dreams, everything you think is the first line. Your thoughts become exterior, never to be hidden by silence that resides outside of your head.
  2057.  
  2058. >Trying to lie in a dream is like trying to lie to your own thoughts. It’s like you trying to stop yourself from knowing a fact. Strictly speaking… you’re under a sort of natural truth serum.
  2059.  
  2060. >No wonder lucid dreaming takes so much effort.
  2061.  
  2062. >You finally realize something: Twilight’s doing this to get the truth out of you and prevent any further lies to her. All you can possibly think of, or even say at all, are things that you remember actually happening. This might be an advantage for you.
  2063.  
  2064. >”Flash sent those. He stole my phone on Tuesday and pretended to be me.”
  2065.  
  2066. >Twilight perks up and stares at you through the mirror. She gives you some sort of sensation that you said something that she didn’t expect. The girl then answers you.
  2067.  
  2068. >”I… I didn’t know about this.” She stutters with what sounds to you like an echo. “That doesn’t sound like him.”
  2069.  
  2070. “Look, just get out of my dream, okay? Just go.”
  2071.  
  2072. >”But there’s something I need to tell you about too.”
  2073.  
  2074. “I don’t care what it is! Get out of my dream! You’re invading my thoughts, and I don’t want you knowing that I’m actually really starting to like Sunset because of what you and her are doing! I don’t want you to win!”
  2075.  
  2076. >As soon as you finish speaking the thought to her, remorse begins to fill you to the rim. Twilight sits in silence, staring at you as she analyzes your own reaction to what you just said. The worst part: any damage control that you would have normally thought of while awake simply slips away from your inventory of responses.
  2077.  
  2078. >”Anon… that means I have good news for you.” Twilight continues still, right as you desperately try to break free of the dream.
  2079.  
  2080. >She must have done something to make you say that. She does know magic really well after all. Right?
  2081.  
  2082. “No…” You insist as you struggle on. “I… don’t want to hear it.”
  2083.  
  2084. >”Anon. You just ope-”
  2085.  
  2086. >Just at the instant, you violently start squirming around until you finally start to feel your bed around you.
  2087. “It’s not true!” You gently groan.
  2088. >Shoot out of your bed in one rushed movement. The first place you go is your window to look for Twilight if she’s still there. But she’s nowhere to be found as you push the thin curtains aside, having disappeared before you could confront her. But you’re more than sure that she was there.
  2089. >Twilight cannot be seen anywhere in the pale dark blue morning sky, despite the area being only barely lit by the soon-to-rise sun.
  2090. >You mind slowly fades awake once more, no longer just letting any thought pass through your your conscience unfiltered. That notion that you had felt something for Sunset fades away until it is completely out of your mind, drowned out by your forced constant reminder that you should have never trusted her.
  2091. >Hopefully not something like back to being hidden.
  2092. >Don’t let yourself think like that, Anon. You need to make your brain keep its guard up and alert. Get ahold of yourself and remember how you’ve been throughout this entire thing.
  2093. >You’ve stood your ground, and pretty much told everyone who opposed this to back off. You’re NOT in love with Sunset Shimmer, and that is the way things are going to stay. There is no need to try to convince yourself that you feel nothing; you actually do feel nothing.
  2094. >Your good old mentality comes back as your brain wakes up and you get ready as quickly as you can. It’s nearly 6:30 in the morning, and you want to get to the airport as quickly as possible.
  2095. >As you head down the stairs, you can’t help but notice the dim glow of a light coming from the front room. The lamp is clearly on, and nobody is ever up this early. It’s s good thing that you were creeping as quietly as you could, otherwise, you might have been heard by someone in the front room where the front door is.
  2096. >And there is definitely someone there.
  2097. >Just over the top of the lounge chair, you make out the top of your father’s head. It’s barely visible, but also clear as day that at least someone’s sitting there in complete silence.
  2098. >Given that he’s just sitting there at such an unusual time, and the fact that your parents have constantly watched over you, you can automatically figure out that he’s been expecting you to come down the stairs and try to leave through the front door.
  2099. >Without taking a single chance you make a turn away from the front area and decide to make a break for the back door of the house.
  2100. >”Anon?” Your father’s voice pierces the air.
  2101. >The sudden voice prompts you to dash into the kitchen, where you slam your hip into the wooden table jutting into your path. The pain is sharp and easily distracting, but you being so startled is what keeps you moving enough to make it to the door of the downstairs bathroom.
  2102. >For only a split second, you catch a short glimpse of your mother standing in front of the back door. She spots you immediately and calls out to you, saying something about wanting to talk.
  2103. >The bathroom door slams with inside standing right in front of the sink. You turn the lock just before the doorknob is grabbed by one of your parents. They try to intrude, urging you to unlock the door and let them in.
  2104. >Everything is in the open now; they obviously knew what you were doing somehow.
  2105. >Next thing you know, they’re giving you the entire motivational pep-talk about staying with your family and that you’re thinking of a huge mistake. They use every possible thing they can think of pressure you into coming out. They dish out the speech about how much they love you, the threat that they can call the police if you run away.
  2106. >Instead of listening, you flush the toilet and run the water in the sink to drown out any noise you might make in the bathroom. Your parents, thinking that they’re one step ahead of you in this, insist that they know that you’re not actually using the bathroom and that you’re not going to fool them.
  2107. >They saw the large duffle bag in which you packed your belongings.
  2108. >The bathroom window can be opened fairly easily without making much noise. Detaching the screen is going to be your biggest concern. To further ensure that your parents don’t hear the screen come off, you turn on the ventilation fan. It’s always been notorious for being among the loudest things in the house.
  2109. >The cold morning air rushes into the room.
  2110. >After the mechanisms are tampered with on the edge of the frame, the screen to the window pops off and falls to the ground outside. The last barrier between you and the freedom has been dropped, and you throw your luggage out through the window.
  2111. >”Wait here, honey!” Your father’s voice can barely be heard through the door.
  2112. >He must have heard you removing the screen from the window and throwing your duffle bag outside.
  2113. >But you’re not going to give up this easily. Despite the window being large enough for to crawl through, there’s no way you’ll make it outside before your father is standing right there to grab you. Planning as you act, you take one of the paper dixie cups from the cabinet and hold it under the running water for a half of a second.
  2114. >You take a second or two to open the bathroom door just as you notice your father walk up to where your duffle bag landed outside of the window. Use the cup to splash some water onto your mother’s face so she’s distracted for long enough for you to dash towards the front door. The back door to the backyard is open, so it’s apparent that your father used that exit to make it to the window.
  2115. >Unlock and open the front door a split second before rushing through it and sprinting past your front lawn.
  2116. >It’s a good thing that you had a good taste of what it feels like to run away from someone for a few minutes earlier this week. As you head towards the park, your weary mind finally tries to come to terms with what just happened.
  2117. >What on earth did you just do back there, Anon? They’re your parents!
  2118. >You ignore the realization as much as you can while fighting off the incoming guilt. They’re sure to call the police after what just took place back there, there’s no doubt about it. If anything, you need to make yourself hidden from plain sight before anyone has a chance to come looking for you.
  2119. >To be honest, you’re beginning to feel extremely sick about what you’re doing right now. You really would turn back and try to work out an alternative if you weren’t already in this too deep.
  2120. >But it’s too late to reverse this, now. Either succeed now or fail forever.
  2121. >It’ll be pain to go through with this at this point, but there’s no way in hell you’re going to give up now with a ticket to heaven in your reach.
  2122. >Running out of breath about a house or two away from the park, you slow to a stop and nearly collapse from the exhaustion. You can’t remember the last time your heart was beating so fast, but at least you can be sure it’s never going to beat like this for Sunset.
  2123. >That’s exactly what Twilight would want, and you’re not going to give that to her.
  2124. >A part of you wants to go back to your house for a split second, possibly to explain to your parents what happened. But you then remember how they never listened to what you were telling them before, and how they definitely won’t hear you out now that you’ve just made an attempt to take off right under their noses. They probably wouldn’t even have listened this morning if you hadn’t tried to run away.
  2125. >Perhaps they’ll understand what was going on at some point. But the present issue is that you need to find a way to get out of this town.
  2126. >A vibration from your phone in your left pocket cuts off your concentration. You turn the screen on to discover two things.
  2127. >A new text from Norman and the time being 6:52 AM.
  2128. >You’re supposed to be at the airport at 7.
  2129. >[Anon. I gotta get to the airport right now if I’m going to be on time for the plane. So I’m going to drive over now. I don’t know if you’re getting these, but I’m going to go now.] Reads the newest message from Norman. [Just take your car and drive to the airport. I’ll meet you there.]
  2130. >At this moment, you realize that there are three new messages from Norman, all missed. The first one from him was from 45 minutes ago, stating that he was at the park. The second one from 30 minutes ago, asking if you were near the park yet (presumably right before you woke up from your sleep paralysis). The last one is from two minutes ago, despite reaching your phone just now. Norman’s messages have developed a bad habit of reaching you late.
  2131. >Why didn’t you remember to check your phone while rushing to make it to the airport in time? Though it’s not like it makes much of a difference, since you were heading to meet Norman as soon as you could anyway. You place the blame on Twilight once more, cursing her name as you suspect that she struck again to help foil your plan.
  2132. >You also clearly hadn’t been paying attention while dealing with your parents. As you put your phone back into your left pocket, you feel your right pocket to find that your wallet is there. All of the other things you had packed were pretty much just clothes and other expendable items. In a place like Brothens, you could apparently make do without them.
  2133. >There’s some money in your wallet and a few useful tools on your phone. Chargers usually don’t cost very much, and would probably be even less if what you’ve heard about Brothens is true.
  2134. >Not wasting a second, you push yourself to continue running toward the park. Moving forward becomes increasingly difficult with each step; you become more out of breath the further you go.
  2135. >Just like you had realized before, you’re just a couple of houses away from the park.
  2136. >As you approach the entrance you spot a car driving towards you that you recognize in seconds.
  2137. >It’s Norman’s car.
  2138. >A gust of wind blows against your direction of travel as you wave him down.
  2139. >You stumble up to the entrance to the park as Norman’s car pulls up to it. Right as you’re noticed, the window on the driver’s side rolls down. Norman puts his arm outside of the window and calls out to you. The sound of his voice being right there in front of you as the car doors unlock is the most relieving thing you’ve ever heard in your life.
  2140. “Sorry I’m late.” You apologize in between heavy gasps, holding onto your knees.
  2141. >”Whoa, dude. You’re so lucky I caught you on the way out of the park. Where’s your stuff?” Greets Norman as you hastily climb into the back seat car.
  2142. “Left it behind in a rush. There’s no time to explain anything else, let’s just go.”
  2143. >”I hear that.”
  2144. >Collapse onto the back seat after buckling in.
  2145. >After the stressful rushed moments have passed, you are finally reconquered by the usual early morning fatigue. The energy drains out of as Norman drives you out of the neighborhood. The fact that he caught you right as he was leaving the park is simply dumb luck. Both Twilight’s mental invasion and the surprise resistance from your parents is what held you back. But despite all of those things that have happened, you managed to overcome the obstacles and catch your ride to the airport.
  2146. >You stay low in your seat during the entire drive to the airport, hoping to not be seen by any possible passing by cops.
  2147. >…
  2148. >It’s around 7:16 AM by the time you make it to the airport. In a rushed fashion, Norman parks and gets out with you following him closely behind. The two of you race over to the security checkpoints, where the rest of the band can easily be seen gathering.
  2149. >You look around to make sure Twilight isn’t nearby.
  2150. >”Hey, Norman!” Wiz Kid calls out from the group gathered at the security checkpoint. “What took you guys so long? We’re about to go in!”
  2151. >Man, you haven’t seen this kid in what feels like forever. His sudden presence is somewhat assuring that your fate of going to Brothens with the band is finally sealed. You might still be riddled with fatigue, but another huge weight flutters off of your shoulders.
  2152. >”It’s a long story.” Norman answers as Mary walks up to you. “So you guys didn’t go through yet?”
  2153. >”The flight was delayed a few minutes. We just got called right before you guys showed up.” Wiz Kid explains. “You’re really lucky to have come when you did.”
  2154. >”Adagio and Aria are this way.” Mary tells you as she gestures for you to follow her. “They already did the transferring thingy, and all you have to do it show your school ID to the conductor and the airport people. Then you’re in the clear.”
  2155. “Awesome.” You say in a monotone voice, ready to fall asleep at any given minute.
  2156. >You’re not used to being up before 9 am outside of school.
  2157. >Mary leads you over to a booth where you immediately recognize all three of the Dazzlings at the front of a line. You pull out your wallet and retrieve your school photo ID for the staff behind the counter to see.
  2158. >”Oh… and there he is right now.” Adagio points you out to the staff member.
  2159. >The band’s conductor stands right behind the three girls with his hands locked behind his back. The tall man has a briefcase by his side and is dressed in a white dress shirt with black khaki pants. He doesn’t wave back as you wave at him, simply nodding and half smiling instead.
  2160. >The conductor is probably just trying to stay professional about everything.
  2161. >”Okay… lets see here…” The middle-aged staff member mumbles after you hand her the card. “You’re Anon Y. Mous, correct?”
  2162. “Yes. I am.” You blurt out, feeling some sort of frustration as you think of the name.
  2163. >There’s still a part of you that desires to leave the name behind, but it’s really out of your hands at this moment in time.
  2164. >The band conductor walks up to the window as well and waits for the staff member to give back your school ID card. He picks it up next and examines the picture along with the student ID number. After this, he reaches into his briefcase to pull out a form of some sort.
  2165. >”Okay then, Mr. Mous. Just fill out this form and you’re all set to participate in the field trip.” He instructs you in a surprisingly high voice.
  2166. >The paper is handed to you for you to examine it. It’s a form that verifies that you were given permission to go on this trip and that the school is not responsible for anything that happens to you and pretty much all that jazz that these papers normally say.
  2167. >The conductor hands you a pen and you begin to fill out the spaces as the band members are sent past security one at a time.
  2168. >”ANON!” A far too familiar voice calls out from the distance.
  2169. >Glance over your shoulder to easily spot Sunset Shimmer standing near the entrance to the airport. The girl as flailing her arms around like a maniac and calling your name over and over again.
  2170. >She appears to be completely alone.
  2171. >”Please wait!” Sunset continuously begs. “None of it was me… I swear!”
  2172. >You focus on filling out the form; completely ignore Sunset Shimmer behind you.
  2173. >”Do you know this girl?” The conductor politely asks you with a strong hint of judgment in his voice.
  2174. “She doesn’t want me to leave town because she wants to go out with me. But I said no and she just won’t take no for an answer.” You explain everything in its raw truth, not caring enough to filter a single thing.
  2175. >The cries for forgiveness continue behind you, not at all being accompanied by the voices of anyone else. You keep your head turned away from her, trying your hardest to focus on signing your paper. Her cries become increasingly desperate, making it harder for you to want to finish the form.
  2176. >But that’s just the guilt talking.
  2177. >”She seems really… eager to get you to stay.” The conductor tells you.
  2178. “Eh. She’s just dramatic at times. Her current boyfriend should be here any minute now to pick her up and help her get over it.” You lie through your teeth, surprisingly having difficulty not sounding upset.
  2179. >”Twilight was the one who was behind everything. She’s the one who wanted those rumors about you o be spread. She’s the one who didn’t want you to be single and wanted to ship you with me! She never told me about any of it until Tuesday!” Sunset tells you, lowering her voice down to a whimpering tone that’s still loud enough for everyone else to hear. “I… I had no idea what was really going on…”
  2180. >…
  2181. >She’s lying.
  2182. >”I tried to tell her to apologize to you and explain everything, but she said that you wouldn’t listen to her! And those last few messages from my phone weren’t me! Trixie stole my phone on Tuesday and impersonated me so you wouldn’t have a reason to trust me anymore. And then she tried to convince you to let her onto the flight, but you blocked her number. Twilight told me all about it after Trixie went crying to her.”
  2183. >…
  2184. >She’s… probably lying. Right?
  2185. >This is the first time you’re hearing any of this.
  2186. >”I would have told you right away what they were doing if I knew about it! I’m so sorry, Anon. I never meant to drive you away like this. I promise I’ll get Twilight to apologize too if you stay. I don’t know about Flash or Trixie, but Twilight did say that she’d apologize if you gave her the chance.”
  2187. >…
  2188. >You don’t know what to believe anymo-
  2189. >NO.
  2190. >No more of this not being sure of what’s true and what’s a lie. No more of this childish suspicion. This seriously needs to stop, Anon. It has gotten so old to the point where you just can’t take anymore.
  2191. >You are just… so done with all of this. This young green boy wants off of this emotional rollercoaster.
  2192. >No more Drama. No more Lying. No more ruses and Schemes. No more Secrets. No more Wondering. No more. There will be no slipping back into this casserole of petty High School drama stuff again. You are done with it.
  2193. >Done with it.
  2194. >All you ever want to be sure about from now on is that you’re going to Brothens with a bunch of awesome people and you are going to have an amazing summer whether anyone else likes it or not. And as for everything else, you just don’t care anymore.
  2195. >Take a look back at Sunset as you finish putting your signature on the bottom line.
  2196. >Don’t let those gleaming tear-filled eyes get to you. Even if she doesn’t mean you any harm, allowing her to have her way would be bad news for you regarding Twilight’s stance, as well as that of Flash.
  2197. >Refraining from leaving will only make the problems for both you and Sunset continue. In order to stop the drama, you need to cut off the roots that caused it to begin with. This flight is for the best.
  2198. >You just… hope that she can get over it one day. And that she understands that this doesn’t mean that you hate her or anything. Something inside of you is absolutely sure that she’s telling the truth. There’s pretty much no way in your mind that she can make this up.
  2199. >”So we all set, then?” The conductor asks you. “I mean, it’s pretty much your call.”
  2200. “Oh, no, no. All set.” You verify as Sunset falls silent in the background.
  2201. >”Well in that case.” The staff member joins in. “Here’s your ticket, sir.”
  2202. >You grab the ticket as the conductor gestures for you and Mary to follow him over to where the rest of the band is already past the security checkpoint. The airport staff member then hands Aria her ticket to Kara-Kara, as Adagio’s ticket had already been swapped to get Norman onto the plane to Brothens.
  2203. >Take one more look back at Sunset across the waiting room. She’s not even speaking anymore; just staring at you with some tears still in her eyes. Though, it doesn’t look like that it’s in a way where she’s waiting for something to happen.
  2204. >She’s just getting one last good look at you. Before you just might not be in her presence again, and that possibility isn’t exactly unlikely at this point.
  2205. >But right before you follow the others onward to security, you pace over to Sunset Shimmer, who looks shocked to see that you’re actually taking the time to say one last thing to her. It’s only fair that you make things right, since you didn’t let Twilight do so earlier.
  2206. “Hey, uh, before I go.” You tell her. “I… uh… think I should make something clear.”
  2207. >The intercom sounds as the conductor looks at the security checkpoint and back over at you, impatiently waiting for you to say your sudden goodbye.
  2208. >[“Attention Travelers. The 7:40 AM flight 420 to Brothens will stop boarding in T-minus 15 minutes.]
  2209. >”I… don’t know what you mean.” Replies Sunset.
  2210. “Listen, uh… I probably have to get out of here soon, like really soon, but I just want you to know that I… I think I believe you. About what you just said.”
  2211. >Sunset’s eyes glimmer with hope the very second she hears you say this.
  2212. >”R-really?”
  2213. “Yes. Now, look. I just want to make it clear that things have been crazy for me in the past two weeks or so. And I, uh… I couldn’t really decide for myself who was trustable and who was actually doing things. I did know that Twilight was plotting against me. I really did think that it was just paranoia at first, but then I turned out to be right.”
  2214. >”But you still don’t think that those last few text messages were actually from me, do you?”
  2215. “It’s okay, Sunset. I believe you. I just didn’t before because… you’re such good friends with Twilight and everything that… I didn’t think that you wouldn’t be in on this. And for that, I think I actually owe you an apology.”
  2216. >”Come on, Mr. Mous. We need to go.” Urges the conductor.
  2217. “Coming!” You reply to him before returning your attention to Sunset. “Just uh… I really gotta go, but…”
  2218. >”It’s okay, Anon. You have fun in Brothens. I understand.”
  2219. >”Anon! Come on, dude! Let’s go!” Norman’s voice startles your thoughts. “You both apologized already and the plane’s leaving in like… two seconds after we get through security. We can’t miss it, man.”
  2220. >The pressure from the others gets you to shyly wave to Sunset and spin around. You walk over towards the group, which is pretty much finished going through airline security. You, Norman and the conductor are left.
  2221. >You feel like you would have given Sunset one last hug in the others hadn’t urged you to move along so fast. You’d want to comfort her somehow.
  2222. >The intercom sounds again.
  2223. >[Attention Travelers. The 8:00 AM flight 69 to Kara-Kara will now begin boarding. The 8:20 AM flight to Zenith will begin boarding in T-minus 10 minutes.]
  2224. >Adagio and Aria begin to gather their luggage.
  2225. >”Will you text me?” Sunset asks as you place your phone onto the conveyer belt.
  2226. >You technically can’t even walk back to her at this point. The TSA is already fondling you in front of the walk-through metal detector.
  2227. “I will. I promise.” You tell her.
  2228. >You’re the last one to make it through security. It’s a good thing you didn’t bring any of your luggage, as the connecting tunnel is detached from the plane right after you get on board. Sending luggage through that conveyer belt would have costed you at least another minute.
  2229. >The last thing you remember about Sunset is waving goodbye to her a second time. You never even hugged her or anything. All you did was just kind of wave and then leave.
  2230. >This shouldn’t be upsetting you so much.
  2231. >But your mood is instantly changed once you see the inside of the plane.
  2232. >This plane is unlike anything you could have possibly expected.
  2233. >There are three rows of seats for the passengers to sit in, the middle one being the largest one. On the back of each seat is mini TV screen. The seats themselves are padded and well-rounded, even looking remarkably comfy without you even having to feel them.
  2234. >Futuristic looking, the interior of the plane takes on a long, almost double-tubed shape. The entire place itself appears absolutely clean and overall pristine beyond anything you’d expect from an airline. Even the students who are already in their seats are still looking around at their jaw-dropping surroundings.
  2235. >It still doesn’t take you long to find your assigned seat from what it says on your ticket. The seat ordering is very organized and easy to maneuver and navigate through.
  2236. >”Hi, Anon!” Sonata calls out to you, giving away the position of your assigned seat.
  2237. >Sonata is sitting on the edge of the row, with Norman in the middle of the row.
  2238. >”Looks like you get the window seat, Norman got Adagio’s and still have the seat that I wanted.” Sonata continues.
  2239. “Are you sure neither of you don’t want the window seat or something?”
  2240. >”It’s cool, dude.” Norman answers. “Sonata already explained it all to me. Adagio chose the middle seat because she likes to have Sonata and Aria on either side of her. Sonata wanted the outer seat so she can talk to everyone. And Aria wanted the window seat so she could just sleep and ignore everyone. But since they’re on another flight now, you and I get their corresponding seats. And I really don’t mind keeping the assigned tickets.”
  2241. >Just sleep and ignore everyone. That’s literally the only phrase you caught from all of this, and there’s nothing else you’d like to do more than that at this moment.
  2242. >You have more commonalities with Aria than you’d like to admit. You just hope that she doesn’t end up liking you too.
  2243. >Watch as the rest of the passengers board the plane, noticing a majority of the travelers being largely school students. As this occurs, you can distinctly recognize a particular group that you’ve seen before.
  2244. >One could recognize those uniforms from anywhere if they had been near Canterlot for long enough.
  2245. >These students obviously attend Crystal Prep.
  2246. >To be honest, you’re not too surprised at al that these students can afford to be on this flight. It has always been the case that the school has been highly prestigious for a long time, resulting in a lot of available funds to be used by the school.
  2247. >But you only catch a quick glance of them on the plane along with the other passengers.
  2248. >Too tired to really even take much more notice notice of the presence of the Crystal Prep students, your metabolism begins to drift you off to sleep. The soft surface of the airplane seat envelops you in unbelievable comfort, feeling like it’s gently grabbing ahold of you. It makes the battle to stay awake pretty much impossible.
  2249. >Good thing you weren’t fighting that battle to begin with.
  2250. >…
  2251. >Adagio and Aria take their luggage and hurry over to the security checkpoint. They put their belongings on the conveyer belt and endure the TSA for a minute or two.
  2252. >Right before they make it through the walk through metal detector, the lights begin to flash and the doorway shaped detector begins to beep frantically. Adagio had been going through it when this happened, so the security staff tells her to step back while Aria waits on the other side.
  2253. >”Miss, I’m gon’ have to ask you to remove the metal belt and headband, please.” The female TSA worker instructs. “And please remove anything else you have on you that’s made of metal.”
  2254. >She then takes another look at Adagio’s belt and headband.
  2255. >”Actually… items like those are not permitted on the aircraft.” She continues. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to confiscate these.”
  2256. >”Wait… what?!” Adagio complains. “But they’re the things I normally wear all the time. I can’t just leave them back here!”
  2257. >”I’m sorry, but these items are not permitted on the aircraft. They’re metallic with pointed sharp edges that can be used as a weapon.”
  2258. >”This is ridiculous! They’re just fashionable items!”
  2259. >” Miss, please don’t argue with me. Any level-headed person can be able to tell that they’re more than just ‘fashionable items’ to a terrorist.” The TSA worker tells Adagio. “Oh, and them boots need to go too.”
  2260. >”But I’m not a terrorist! I just want to go to Kara-Kara.”
  2261. >”Mhm~…” The TSA worker responds in a sassy tone. “And what would a girl your age be doin’ goin’ to a black market city like Kara-Kara anyway? Do you and your friend live there?”
  2262. >”No, we’re just on vacation.” Aria jumps in. “Can I at least go on the plane now?”
  2263. >”Yeah, you can go.” The TSA lady tells Aria before turning back to Adagio. “Alright, listen. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a terrorist or not. It’s just standard procedure to prohibit dangerous items on the aircraft. They’re not allowed, okay?”
  2264. >Adagio, wait.” Sunset’s voice sounds from behind. “Can I ask something of you?”
  2265. >”What are YOU still doing here?” Adagio snaps at her.
  2266. >…
  2267. >Over the next sizable amount of time, you drift in and out of sleep. Sitting next to you, Norman obviously decides not to do anything to wake you up. At some point, the plane takes off, presumably a half hour after it was supposed to since it had been delayed.
  2268. >You can feel it in your ears as the pressure builds up, disturbing you for a few seconds before you swallow and relax yourself once more.
  2269. >People around you talk, mostly about how excited they are to go to Brothens. As you drift in and out, the conversations all begin to run together. You’d care if you weren’t so far from being awake.
  2270. >In fact, you don’t even wake up at all until somewhere around 11 AM. Only then does Norman speak to you.
  2271. >”Hey, dude. Did you just wake up too?” He greets you.
  2272. “Wh-whaaah?”
  2273. >”It’s getting close to lunchtime. You want to order something for breakfast or…”
  2274. “Are… are we out of Canterlot?” You meekly ask, completely forgetting about feeling the plane take off. “Are we… in the air?”
  2275. >”We are, dude. We made it.”
  2276. >This is what wakes you up.
  2277. >If you had been sitting upright, there’s not a doubt in your mind that you would have fallen back into you seat in relief after hearing something like this. The long sigh escapes your lungs as the tension lifts, clearly audible to many people on the flight, who look in your direction.
  2278. >The muscles in your body loosen as your mouth curves into a smile. It has finally begun… the time of your freedom.
  2279. >For too long, the story of your summer experience had been threatened by those who wanted to control you and tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. But on this day, you have defeated those people and at the same time made your summer infinitely better.
  2280. >”I know, man. It’s finally the summer! Woo!” Norman cheers just like how he had two weeks ago on the bus right after you had rejected Sunset for the first time. “I got up like 20 minutes ago or something. And I’m ordering a huge thing of waffles. You want any?”
  2281. >You consider having some breakfast, but would rather see what would be in Brothens after you get off of the plane.
  2282. “Are we like splitting a large platter of waffles or something?” You ask. “I think I’d rather wait until we get to Brothens before I start eating anything. Though, I didn’t really anything before coming here.”
  2283. >”Dude, you might even need to eat here a second time.”
  2284. >This response initially confuses you for the first few seconds of your tired brain processing what he might have meant.
  2285. >”You’re not seriously going to wait until after the flight to eat, are you? That’s probably not a good idea.”
  2286. “Why not? How long is this flight?”
  2287. >”21 hours, dude.”
  2288. >After hearing this, you fall silent. Norman stares at you as though he’s waiting for you to react with a gasp of delight. He tilts his head slightly and waits for you to say something back.
  2289. >Meanwhile, you finally realize how long you’re going to be on this plane. The amount of time it will take to get to Brothens brings to light exactly how far away the city itself is from Canterlot. This only causes you to feel even more relief as you sit there in the soft padded seat.
  2290. “T-that’s…” You stutter with an involuntary smile creeping onto your face. “I had no idea.”
  2291. >”Look, dude. You want waffles or not? Because I’m getting some like… right now.”
  2292. “Uh… yeah. I could totally go for some waffles.” You answer, now aware of how long you’re going to be sitting here.
  2293. >With that, Norman presses the button for the flight attendant. As he does this, you pull out your phone and take a look at the screen. The first place you pull up is your text messages, revealing all of the contacts you have on your phone.
  2294. >You sift through the blocked contacts, finding Sunset’s number and unblocking it. Sitting next to you, Norman notices this take place.
  2295. >”Is… that Sunset’s number?” He asks.
  2296. “Yeah.”
  2297. >”I thought you didn’t want anything to do with her.”
  2298. >The other kids on the plane begin to look over to you, having heard of your former dilemma as they had waited for you and Norman to arrive at the airport. Even the few kids from Crystal prep seem to be interested in what you have to say. But the difference is… these people seem rather more interested to learn what has been going on this whole time, and had never taken part of it at any point.
  2299. >”Based on what I heard, she’s been following you around and stirring up drama because you said no when she asked you out.” Norman reflects. “And she even tried to stop you one last time at the airport but then gave up, right?”
  2300. “That’s… not exactly what happened at the airport.” You answer, already preparing to tell the tale in your own bias and perspective. “She apologized to me, Norman.”
  2301. >You honestly couldn’t be more relieved when the flight attendant arrives and interrupts the conversation. The other kids on hr plane look very interested in what Norman was asking you, but automatically turn their heads away once the flight attendant is in earshot.
  2302. >”Hello, sir. How may I assist you today?” The flight attendant warmly greets.
  2303. >”Wait… did one of you just press the button thingy?” Sonata asks with a confused expression.
  2304. >”I did. Anon and I are getting some waffles…” Norman tells her before turning back tot he flight attendant. “May we have one large platter please?”
  2305. >”Absolutely! Would you like anything else? Something to drink?” Offers the flight attendant.
  2306. >As Norman continues to make his order for breakfast, you think of a way to concisely explain everything that’s happened to the fellow students on the plane.
  2307. >Being able to tell the story however you want it to be, you take another look back at your phone, which shows no new messages from anyone. If Sunset hadn’t explained what she had at the airport, then you probably would have depicted her as being in the wrong along with Twilight and the others.
  2308. >”Alight, then! Expect your waffles to arrive in about 20 minutes from now.” Announces the flight attendant, keeping her voice bright and cheerful.
  2309. “Thanks.” You comfortably sink back into your seat.
  2310. >Norman looks back over to you right as the flight attendant walks away to assist another passenger.
  2311. >”So Anon.” He begins. “What did Sunset apologize about? Like, what did she say?”
  2312. >It’s starting to discomfort you bringing her up in conversation after the scene at the airport. There was some sort of closure that Sunset had brought to you, and you’d rather have that as the final instance that you have regarding the drama that everyone else had started up.
  2313. “She told me that she had nothing to do with what Flash and Twilight were doing. And that she didn’t want me to be chased away because of that.”
  2314. >”Aww, that’s so sweet!” Sonata chimes.
  2315. >She locks her fingers together before she receives a look from Norman and gasps shortly.
  2316. >”Oh! Right… sorry…”
  2317. “It’s fine. I honestly felt bad for her when she came up to me.” You continue on. “Like… she’s not going to see me again until next school year. I really don’t blame her if she needed to clear her name with me first. Especially after being made to look like she did things that she never had.”
  2318. >”I hope you don’t mind me asking this, but…” Mary joins in. “Did she ask you out again?”
  2319. >Turning to face the row of seats behind you, you glance back at her and find her sitting diagonal from you in her seat next to the aisle. Next to her is Lemon Zest sitting in the middle seat and Vinyl Scratch is sitting right behind you in her seat next to the window. Mary is the only one in her row paying attention to the conversation, as the other two are too distracted by the music they’re listening to through their headphones.
  2320. >The other students listen intently for your response.
  2321. “No… she didn’t. She just wanted to make everything clear with me and that’s it.” You explain, now beginning to believe that Sunset’s feelings for you may finally be fading away.
  2322. >”So, does that mean that she doesn’t like you anymore?” Norman asks you.
  2323. >Upon hearing this, you realize how much things might have changed over the past two weeks. Sunset had still gone out of her way to meet you at the airport and at least get your trust back, even if it didn’t mean that you were going to stay.
  2324. >But there’s one thing she didn’t do. No matter how many times shoe could have proclaimed her feeling for you, she did not dare to ask you to be with her. And you think that you know why as well.
  2325. >You’ve proven to her that the only answer you’re willing to give her is the one that turns her away. In a way, you’ve conditioned her into knowing that asking you out on a date would be pointless, as it would not get her the date she would be asking for. Instead, she would just face another rejection, each one less painful than the previous one.
  2326. >But a fear of numbness is not the reason why Sunset hasn’t asked you out anymore.
  2327. “I uh… I guess it does.” You answer the question. “If anything, it’s all finally behind me now. Isn’t it?”
  2328. >”It’s going to be about ten thousand miles behind you once this flight is done!” Proclaims Norman. “And all you have to do is chill with all of us in Brothens.”
  2329. >Ten thousand miles.
  2330. “Man, that’s a freaking relief.”
  2331. >”I’ve been waiting to go to Brothens too. Man, I’d live there if I could.” Mary says to you. “You’re going to LOVE it there once we get there. I promise.”
  2332. >All the while you were waiting so desperately for the flight on which you sit, you had wanted all of this to finally happen. For Sunset to let go of whatever on Earth it was she had developed for you and move on.
  2333. >You wanted it so bad, and wouldn’t desire for it to come soon enough. But now…
  2334. >There is something inside of here that you’re starting to fear that you killed off. Even though it probably benefits you that it’s fading away now, some form of remorse overtakes you again.
  2335. >”Don’t worry about Sunset, Anon. She’ll forget all about you by the time we get back in a couple of months from now. That’s about the amount of time she took to forget about me, and the story really should be the same for you. She’ll learn to move on.”
  2336. >Having lost your willingness to speak as much, you give him a sharp smile and nod.
  2337. >It’s the fact that you took one of Sunset’s strongest emotions, if not her absolute strongest, and you permanently scarred it. With the result being Sunset respecting your wishes and never again trying to push into a relationship.
  2338. >This is what you wanted, and it’s still what you want, but you can’t help but feel a little guilty for coming out on top in all this. But perhaps it’s because you’re still tired.
  2339. >”We just kind of want to make sure that you didn’t let Twilight or anyone get to you, that’s all.” Mary brings up. “You see… the rest of the band and I finally got caught up with everything, what with that episode that happened with you pulling the fire alarm and everything.”
  2340. >”And we decided to kind of help you… stay you. You know?” Norman adds. “You know, whenever it’s still necessary. We like how you have been holding onto what you’ve been like since the beginning and not letting anyone tell you how to do you.”
  2341. >You blink at him, taking a couple of seconds to comprehend what he is saying to you.
  2342. “You guys really mean that?”
  2343. >”Are you kidding? Why wouldn’t we lend a hand to someone who needs a way out of all that drama and whatnot? Believe it or not, we’ve actually been trying to come up with a plan to help you for a while.” Reveals Mary. “Ever since we got Trixie to leave you alone by playing music, we’ve realized that there were people who are trying to get the best of you. And uh… we just sort of wanted to help you out, dude.”
  2344. >You look down at the floor, taking drawn out breaths as you soak all of this in. A couple of seconds later, you feel Norman place his hand on your shoulder, somewhat assuring you that Mary is speaking the truth.
  2345. “Were… were you guys planning this the whole time?”
  2346. >”Well not this in particular. Just trying to think of a way to help you without getting too mixed up in all of the confusion with everyone else in the school.” Norman clarifies.
  2347. >”We just don’t want people messing with your jive, you know what I mean?” Mary says to you.
  2348. “Y-yeah… I just…”
  2349. >”Hey, don’t sweat it, man. You’re cool as long as you’re with us. Twilight, Trixie and Flash are going to forget all about what happened with Sunset by the time summer is over. Sunset’s going to forget all about it by the time you get back and will probably have a crush on another guy by then anyway.” Norman assures you. “Heck, you’ll be in pretty much the same position as me. One of the guys she used to be crazy over.”
  2350. “I guess that’s the best way to look at it.”
  2351. >”And you’ve gone through a lot more than I have too. When she liked me, it was pretty much just her trying to get me to go out with her. She never even asked me when she wanted me, she just kind of kept telling me to go on a date with her.”
  2352. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what she would have learned from.” You answer. “But I really do think she wasn’t involved with any of it this time.”
  2353. >”But all of her friends were. And they were trying to use their influence to get you to cave in. You did the right thing by coming with us, Anon. Sunset’s going to be fine.”
  2354. >”Besides, it’s not like you can text people while on a flight anyway.” Mary brings up. “We’re too far up in the air for your phone to receive texts… I think.”
  2355. >You’re fairly certain that Sunset must have left the airport once Adagio and Aria had boarded their flight. Theirs was literally the one that took off right after the flight to Brothens. You decide to send her a text and try to find out a little bit more about what’s going on inside of her head, just to cease the wondering for a little bit.
  2356. >Pull your phone out and begin to type a text message in the once again available messaging box.
  2357. “Well, it wouldn’t hurt to try.” You mutter under your breath.
  2358. >…
  2359. >Sunset’s thumbs swiftly go across the keypad of her phone as she tries to send a message. Though, it is to no avail, as her screen is still showing her number being blocked by Anon.
  2360. >Every couple of minutes, she slips her phone back into her pocket and leans back to close her eyes. There’s a few thoughts in her head that assures her that Anon is already on his plane, so it’s no wonder that either of you can reach eachother through mobile phone contact.
  2361. >Everything she said at the airport rings on in her head like the resonance from a bell. Every word of it… she meant. Sunset was lucky enough to have found Anon right before he left for Brothens. That in and of itself felt like nothing short of a blessing.
  2362. >Part of Sunset is certain that she hadn’t said enough… and another part feels like she said too much. Something wrong… to be misinterpreted.
  2363. >And that could be why he hasn’t unblocked her number. Surely he would have thought to do so right before he boarded his flight; he promised to text. But if this is true, then why hasn’t he done anything yet?
  2364. >Sunset already wants to say a million and one more words to Anon to let him know that everything will be alright. That her friends simply didn’t approach any of this from the right direction. That she wasn’t involved with what they did, and that he could still at least be compatible with her.
  2365. >This girl doesn’t to lose what’s holding her world together… that slim little sliver of hope that Anon could still want anything to do with her. This sliver might not have meant anywhere near as much if Sunset hadn’t fallen so deeply in love with the boy.
  2366. >She needs to find some clarity.
  2367. >”You alright, Sunset?” Aria asks from the seat next to her.
  2368. >Sunset perks up and looks over to Aria.
  2369. >”Yeah. I’m… fine. Just thinking about some things.” She answers. “H-how long did Adagio say this flight is again?”
  2370. >”About another hour and a half until we get to Kara-Kara.”
  2371. >…
  2372. >There’s something in your mind that tells you that Sunset should at least be getting the indication that the number isn’t blocked anymore. You’ve unblocked the number on your end, so you’re able to type into the message box and attempt to send messages.
  2373. >Though, nothing goes through.
  2374. >It’s probably just because of the two phones not being able to connect in such a way since you’re on a flight at the moment. You’ve never had any idea how this type of stuff works.
  2375. >After a while, the flight attendant comes back to where you, Norman and Sonata are sitting. The first thing that you notice is the tempting scent of your arriving meal. You lift your head up to discover the full platter of waffles on the tray. Even Sonata appears to be amazed… and sudden;y hungry as well.
  2376. >You take another look down at your phone, where your newest messages to Sunset are still pending.
  2377. [Hey Sunset. It’s me, Anon. Actually me this time. You want to start chatting or something over the summer? I know hat you wanted me to stay there in Canterlot, but i’m sure you understand why I needed to get away from it all. If there was a way for me to get you and only you on this flight to Brothens as well, I probably would have done it.]
  2378. >Despite the alluring aroma that emits from the delicious breakfast, you type a few last words to hopefully reach Sunset at some point. You just now realize that the reception in Brothens might not connect to Canterlot at all, which worries you more than you’d like to admit.
  2379. [I really don’t think we got off on the right foot, and I’m sorry I didn’t let myself have enough insight. So, with that said, maybe you and I could kind of talk about things. Maybe you could even come fly over here to Brothens when you get the chance. Well, if you want to, that is.]
  2380. >Though, you’re already sure that she’d be more than willing to. It’s actually kind of sad that she never got a chance to join you this time around, since the third seat to Kara-Kara was taken.
  2381. >”Anon, what are you typing all that for?” Norman says as the platter is placed directly in front of him.
  2382. >The smell of the waffles drizzled in syrup beckons your head to turn, and your eyes to focus on the center of the tall tower of waffles. The platter itself is absolutely glorious. High stacked with a slight tilt for the syrup to pour off one side, but still not stopping the entire rim of the tower to experience the drizzle of sweet goodness. At the bottom are bushels of strawberries and cheesy scrambled eggs, along with countless strips of bacon.
  2383. >You didn’t imagine a high school being able to afford THIS kind of flight. Crystal Prep, maybe. But not Canterlot High. It’s hard to imagine who was able to pull some strings.
  2384. >”Aren’t you hungry?” Sonata asks, now eyes the piece of the waffle pile that she must want.
  2385. >Turn back to the phone, where your pending messages do not change their status. There’s admittedly so much more that you wanted to say to patch things up and make everything right. But the thoughts have been lost to the beacon of pampering that is the deluxe breakfast inches from your seat.
  2386. “Sorry, uh, I just wanted to make sure Sunset’s at least doing all right. Gotta feel bad for her, you know?”
  2387. >”Messages can’t be sent from airplanes because of the altitude.” Norman explains. “Don’t worry about Sunset, man. Just forget about her. You’re not actually starting to like her, are you?”
  2388. “Well… as a person, maybe. I just feel bad about what happened.”
  2389. >”Well being here on this plane going to the best city on the planet is nothing close to being about ‘feeling bad’ about this. On your end, the whole point is to forget about those things that made you feel bad before and enjoy yourself.”
  2390. >”Exactly!” Sonata agrees. “Forget about Sunset. What’s done is done. Let’s eat these waffles already!”
  2391. >”Oh… did you want some?” Norman hesitantly asks.
  2392. >”C-can I?” Sonata bashfully asks with a smile in between the faint blush in her cheeks.
  2393. >”Well it’s not like the entire thing is for me. Look at this thing!” Norman points to the monstrously huge pile of waffles with waterfalls of syrup tumbling down the sides.
  2394. >You brain is invaded with thoughts about the waffles, overshadowing anything regarding Sunset. All of the good things that the flight has to offer is right here in front of you, while Sunset is probably driving back home. Proximity is having a stranger influence on you than you previously thought.
  2395. >The bacon is what pulls your desire in. The one that is actually present, that is. There’s literally nothing else that your brain can think about.
  2396. >Whatever, you’ll contact Sunset once you make it to your hotel room, or wherever the band class is staying before they go touring across the continent.
  2397. “I want about three of the waffles.” You announce, struggling to keep other thoughts in your mind.
  2398. >”Ah, good. I was starting to get worried there.” Norman tells you.
  2399. >Tilt your head down a little bit and give him a questioning look. Meanwhile, Sonata stealthily grabs a fork and begins shoveling chunks of syrup-drenched waffle away from the platter without Norman being aware of it. You can only image how she’d be around a platter of tacos.
  2400. “Worried about what?”
  2401. >”About her getting to you after you tried so hard not to like her.” Norman says to you. “I mean, It would suck to see you fall head over heels for Sunset after everything you just went through. Especially after my experiences with her.”
  2402. >The food is eventually on your plate and you receive your silverware.
  2403. >”And even if it isn’t her fault that this stuff happened, she let her friends do what they did. You said no to her and that’s the thing you need to remember. Don’t let your guilt or whatever get in the way of you having fun.”
  2404. >”Exactly. You got away from it all like you wanted.” Sonata concludes with a muffled tone from her mouth being full. “Oh, and all the waffles I wanted are on my plate now. You guys can have the rest.”
  2405. “Well don’t worry.” You declare. “I’m still exactly the way I was before any of this started. I’m going to eat these waffles, chill out and have an awesome summer with you guys. I’m not going to let a girl get in the way of that.”
  2406. >”Roger that.” Norman says right as you slip a forkful of waffle into your mouth.
  2407. >The taste is absolutely amazing. Nothing short of being the perfect introduction to the great life you’re about to live during the summer. Anything that didn’t involve how the rest of this breakfast is going to be drains from your head. There’s no more Sunset, no more Twilight, no more Flash or Trixie. Just you in your cushiony seat, eating these warm, sweet waffles. Surrounded by what you have previously declared the best possible people you could hang out with.
  2408. >The sound of the music emitting from Lemon Zest’s and Vinyl Scratch’s headphones soothes you as a surprisingly comforting background noise. Everyone around you is relaxed, not even paying any mind to the things that have nothing to do with what they enjoy the most. You can hear it in everything they do.
  2409. >The distant talking all around you, the low hum of the plane’s engine, the music from the headphones, the sound of the forks against the plates of delicious breakfast food…
  2410. >If this is what Sunset and her friends was keeping you from, then you’d rather be proud of the path you chose. Do not feel a single ounce of regret. If you want to talk to her about anything, you can do it later. All you have to do is make sure that she’s not too upset anyway.
  2411. >She’ll be fine.
  2412. >Don’t regret, just forget.
  2413. >These are the only words you can think of while you inhale the hypnotically delicious food, anticipating everything else this vacation has to offer. Your phone stays in your pocket for the rest of the hours to come, not even being thought of once.
  2414. >Brothens is still about 18 hours away.
  2415. >…
  2416. >The breakfast you ate was phenomenal. Something beyond you could have asked for even on the luckiest of Saturday mornings.
  2417. >After this, you lean back in your seat as the talking around you grows a little bit louder as the afternoon comes on. It is around 1 pm now, the time when most of the people your age normally get up anyway, and they surround you on this deluxe flight to Brothens.
  2418. >”Hey, Anon!” You hear Mary call out from behind you. “Catch!”
  2419. >You perk your head up, almost having drifted asleep from the sugary breakfast. Upon turning around, your eyes are met with a brightly colored beach ball heading straight for you. Your reflexes aren’t fast enough to prevent it from hitting you right in the face, though the impact is soft and harmless.
  2420. “Hey!” You playfully exclaim.
  2421. >”Dude, you’re supposed to catch it!” Norman tells you.
  2422. >The beach ball bounces back to the row behind you, where Lemon Zest picks it up from the floor below. She still has her headphones on, listening to her rock music on full blast as she plays this apparent game.
  2423. >”Over here!” A student across the middle row call out. “Zesty! Over here!”
  2424. >She can’t hear him, nodding her head as she scouts around for someone who is open. As this happens, the object of what everyone is doing becomes apparent to you. Excitement begins to fill you up without your permission, as you had planned to go to sleep right after eating so you could wait out this plane trip.
  2425. >But that was before you realized that this trip would be more than just a boring commute to the best place on earth.
  2426. >Everyone’s excitement for being in Brothens is causing them to even make the trip over to there fun. What matters is both the journey and the destination.
  2427. >”Interception!” Sonata blares as she swipes the beach ball out of an oblivious Lemon Zest’s hand.
  2428. >The ball goes flying to the other side of the plane corridor, where a bunch of Crystal prep students catch it.
  2429. >Almost everyone in the whole section of the plane laughs along with the ball being carelessly tossed around between the rows of seats. Every time the ball gets near you, you want to get involved and toss it around along with everyone else.
  2430. >But you never reach your arms out for some reason. At least not until it’s too late to get ahold of the ball. It is bounced back to the other kids on the plane before you get a chance to do anything with it. The only part of you it has touched so far is your face.
  2431. >That doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop trying, however.
  2432. >You spend the next 20 minutes or so trying as hard as you can to hit the ball with your hands whenever it would get near you. The thing is, you can’t remember the last time you’ve had this much fun. You feel as though you’re around 12 years old again, playing with the neighborhood friends that you never had a chance to obtain.
  2433. >More and more hours of fun pass, with a ton of interesting things happen.
  2434. >At around 2:30 pm, the flight crew puts on a movie on each of the little TV screens that the passengers could watch. They can either choose to watch the movie that is being premiered on the flight, or they can change their own personal screen to something entirely different.
  2435. >Naturally, you choose to watch the movie, which is the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The rest of the movies in the series are supposed to play right after it. To go with the movie, you order one large sized lemonade. Norman does the same, cheering right as the drinks arrive and the movie starts.
  2436. >You never expected the flight to be so enjoyable.
  2437. >Time goes by as you watch the movies. Before you know it, it’s around 5:00 pm. And then 6:45. And then 7:30. Of course, you get hungry shortly after the ending of the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which is sometime during the late evening.
  2438. >Still full from the huge breakfast that you previously ate, you decide to just go all out and have the best possible dessert you could ask for. The button for the flight attendant is pressed and you are met with someone is less than thirty seconds.
  2439. >After hearing all of the dessert choices, you decide to go with the platter called “Death By Chocolate Ice Cream”. Mostly because the name sounds extremely promising… and delicious.
  2440. >With a watery mouth you wait, eager to discover what is going to come out of that curtain once it is time for your meal to be delivered. And when it does come, you are completely certain that your eyes must deceive you. Such a massive mountain of chocolate ice cream stands tall from the platter, coated in thick chocolate syrup and chocolate ships. On other places on the platter are even more items made out of chocolate, even including Oreos. They weren’t lying when they came up with the name for this dessert.
  2441. >”Whoa, dude.” Norman gasps as he watches you begin to work away at the platter.
  2442. “I know, man. You want to get one too? This is even better than it looks.” You tell him with a mouthful of everything that is made of chocolate.
  2443. >”No thanks, man. I heard once that if you eat too much chocolate before sleeping, you get nightmares. And I’ve been up since like 3 am, so I’m due for sleep.”
  2444. >You giggle at the thought of this being an actual thing.
  2445. “Are you sure that’s not a myth or something?” You’re automatically skeptical.
  2446. >”It’s true, man. I’ve heard people complain about that sort of thing before. If you sleep after eating that, you’re gonna get nightmares, I swear.”
  2447. “Pfft! No I won’t!” You scoff, shoveling more ice cream into your mouth.
  2448. “Dude…” Norman says with a little laugh. “You’re going to get sooooo many nightmares.”
  2449. “Oh, please. I’ve already gotten used to having nightmares when Twilight invaded my mind. What’s the worst a little bit of chocolate is going to do?”
  2450. >”That’s more than a little bit, bro.” Norman points out the platter once more. “If anything, you’re going to at least get a stomach ache.”
  2451. “Well if I do get a stomach ache, I’ll just sleep through it. That’s all.”
  2452. >”You won’t if the pain keeps you awake, dude.”
  2453. “Then I can’t get any nightmares if I don’t sleep, right?” You point out. “See? Both of the things cancel out by conflicting eachother. And I’ll be fine anyway. It’s not like I’m going to sleep any time soon. I usually stay up late at night anyway. I’ll be fine.”
  2454. >”Good point, dude. But eating all that might make you sleepy, though.”
  2455. “Alright. Well… if you see me start to doze off, just kinda do stuff to keep me from falling all the way asleep. Like… play some music through someone’s headphones and put it over my head so I don’t fall asleep. I could use a little bit of music for digestion anyway.”
  2456. >”Uh… music helps you digest food?”
  2457. “I learned it from a line in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’. I don’t know, just do something to keep me awake, alright? Though, I’m not going to get nightmares anyway.”
  2458. >You have been eating more and more of the dessert as the conversation goes on. You eventually make it to the last few spoonfuls, starting to feel full. No matter what, you are going to enjoy this vacation to its fullest extent. And that includes eating ALL of the ice cream.
  2459. >”We’ll see, dude.”
  2460. >”Ooh! Ooh! Do you want to listen to some of the CD’s I have, Anon?” Sonata joins in. “I have some classics that I think you’d like!”
  2461. “Uh, sure. But I guess only when I’m about to fall asleep.” You tell her. “Just… I’ll let you know if I’m feeling drowsy or whatever.”
  2462. >”Okay!” The girl happily replies before turning to Mary to ask her if she has her flute with her.
  2463. >You can already see that Sonata’s going to try to play solos on that thing again, and judging by how things went last time, Mary’s going to let her do so. So you can expect the high pitched noises keep you awake if you do end up falling asleep.
  2464. >But it’s not like you should be afraid of falling asleep. Twilight’s clearly too far away to affect your dreams now. The last time she did anything, she had to be literally right outside of your bedroom window. And there’s no telling how far away from her you must be at this present moment. Which, of course, makes you feel even more comfortable.
  2465. >Some more time passes, and Brothens is apparently still over 8 hours away. This has already been the longest flight you have been on; it’s hard to believe how much time there still is left.
  2466. >You have finished the entire chocolate ice cream platter, and order a glass of plain 2 percent milk to wash everything down. It’s a good thing you still had a little room left.
  2467. >But there’s one thing you have to confess to yourself: you are getting surprisingly tired. And it does all but let up as the hours drag on. Your eyelids feel heavier and heavier.
  2468. >Having put earplugs in, Norman sleeps in the seat right next to yours as Sonata puts on her headphones and pulls out a red CD album. Looking closer, you realize that you have seen this CD cover before. It’s the “Beatles 1” album that consists of the band’s songs that had reached number 1 on the charts.
  2469. >As you struggle not to drift to sleep, you no longer notice the sounds of the plane that were once around you. Eventually, you find yourself in silence. Unaware of when you might be dreaming, or when you’re awake.
  2470. >With nothing else interesting to do, and with your stamina ultimately dying down for the day, your mind begins to wander back into the entire situation involving Sunset Shimmer and her friends. It’s blatantly obvious that you had made the right choice by escaping to Brothens. But still, a few experimental thoughts come into light in your mind, even though you’ve already reached a resolution.
  2471. >You can’t help but wonder what things would have been like if you had done the thing that would have prevented all of this in the first place. Oh, how such a tiny difference could change the impact on one’s life… solely based on how others would react. You’re just curious to know how things would have turned out, is all.
  2472. >It still wouldn’t be the case that you would have made it onto this flight, but you probably wouldn’t have had a valid reason to do so anyway.
  2473. >Sleep eventually takes you completely, knocking out all conscious thought.
  2474. >…
  2475. ~
  2476. >…
  2477. >All you see around you now is such a familiar setting. You find the hallways of Canterlot High surrounding you once more.
  2478. >The students of the school walk around, talking to eachother. And of course, the first thing you think about is making it to your next class. Nothing extraordinary going on to make this regular school day any different from the last.
  2479. >But throughout the sequence of you going to and from your classes, you can hear a song playing from an unknown origin. It seems to be coming from everywhere as more and more days of school go by. This feels almost like a time-lapse.
  2480. >You recognize the song after a few weeks of going through the same daily schedule.
  2481. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dvjz2PaljIA (Love Me Do).
  2482. >It doesn’t take long for you to connect the song with your thoughts.
  2483. >As you undergo your usual routine of walking through the hallways, you pass by Sunset shimmer in the halls. You and her have never really talked to eachother, or even really met during the course of you being in this school. But despite this, she still sneaks a smile over to you.
  2484. >You’ve never really taken notice of any of these signs until now. Time and time again, they would happen, and she would smile at you, but you would never think anything of it.
  2485. >Why haven’t you often noticed this?
  2486. >The first song ends, and a second one begins to play right after it.
  2487. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3yLsCuF14o (From Me To You).
  2488. >Since you’re asleep, you have no idea where this music is coming from, or what may be causing it. You honestly don’t question anything at all in this dream, nothing other than just go along with whatever happens.
  2489. >Over the days, you notice Sunset begin to act strangely nice towards you. She would typically hold doors open for you, say hi to you whenever passing you by and more things. She’s just generally nice to you.
  2490. >You begin to get the feeling that she’s getting ready to eventually do something, but your ignorant mind is unable to predict whatever it could possibly be.
  2491. >The thing is, you’ve never remembered yourself being so naïve in this situation.
  2492. >Weeks and more weeks go by… and the end of the school year is now right around the corner. Right as this comes to your attention, you see yourself standing in the hallway right in front of Sunset.
  2493. >The fact alone that she’s standing there, sincerely speaking to you one-on-one for the first time feels admittedly chilling. You never knew how to react to this girl, always putting your ego in front of everything in the inside that you could have possibly felt for her.
  2494. >Sunset briefly hugs you before everything goes to a blur.
  2495. >It is now when the song changes again to another.
  2496. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptMeqNy1LH0 (She Loves You).
  2497. >At this moment, you’re sitting on the bus on a Friday afternoon. There’s a feeling in your stomach that easily indicates which Friday afternoon.
  2498. >Norman and Flash continue to cheer on and on about how it’s the weekend… and something else as well.
  2499. >You listen to their words as the song goes on, but immediately pick up on what the main source of their excitement is after looking down at what you’re holding in your hands. It’s the very same bouquet of lilies that you’ve grown to know so well now.
  2500. >They’re back to their vibrant, lively colors that you remember. The flowers stand straight up on their stems, proudly reaching up to the sky from your gentle grasp.
  2501. >Flash and Norman continuously congratulate you on your date with Sunset Shimmer, especially since a guy like you had virtually no chance at getting noticed by a girl like her.
  2502. >The main thing you feel is fear, having no knowledge of what to do about this stroke of insanely good luck that you just received. You’ve never talked to a girl like her before, let alone held a decent conversation with her. You’ve always been horrible about grooming yourself aside shaving your head whenever necessary. Acting normal in public has always been a bit of an issue for you, resulting in you being prone to embarrass yourself sooner or later. It has always felt like some sort of a curse.
  2503. >And how are all of these problems supposed to go away when you’re nervous? How are you even supposed to stop them from intensifying?
  2504. >Why did you allow yourself to get into this inevitable setup for public humiliation?
  2505. >However, Flash calms you down and assures you that he could easily take you under his win and give you all of the tips necessary for dating. You have honestly always seen this guy as an undesirable person. But that might have been only because he had always been astronomically more popular than you when it came to girls.
  2506. >With your current situation, your anxiety forces you to look past your masked jealousy and take the guy’s advice.
  2507. >The weekend comes, and he invites you over to his house. You have to go to the movies with Sunset at around 6 pm, and Flash spends the entire six hours between 11 am and 5pm helping you overcome your nervousness and get ready to woo Sunset to the best of your ability.
  2508. >You seriously cannot think this guy enough for helping you out with this chance that you’re probably never going to get again. He has devoted his entire Saturday to helping you act around a girl the same way he knows how to. And at this point, any denial about you liking Sunset has disappeared by now, given that you have the chance to spend an evening with her.
  2509. >It had always been in you, but you’ve never admitted it until now. And it’s evident since you said yes to her. Besides, there’s no reason to resist it anymore. Because she loves you.
  2510. >The date eventually comes… and Flash’s advice turns out to be even more helpful that you had expected. You actually don’t screw everything over, sitting there at the dining table with Sunset and casually watching the movie with her. You said all of the right things at the right times, as if you were the main protagonist in a movie. But that doesn’t mean that you weren’t nervous the entire time. But there was one thing that kept your determination up at the highest point it could go.
  2511. >The fact that Sunset loves you.
  2512. >The song changes again.
  2513. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW9Df97L9IE (I Want To Hold Your Hand).
  2514. >It’s Sunday, the day after the movie.
  2515. >Sunset tells you how much she enjoyed being there with you at the movies, and couldn’t even tell that you were nervous. You assure her that you were shaking in your boots the entire time, but she places her hand on your shoulder, silencing you and telling you that the night couldn’t be any more perfect.
  2516. >At this moment, you feel an uncontrollable urge to say something, something that had been building up inside of you even since the start of the movie. You find yourself turning to her and asking her if she wanted to be your girlfriend.
  2517. >The smile on her face as you said this was something that told you what she was going to say before she even opened her mouth.
  2518. >Sunday ends with you and Sunset holding hands while strolling through the park, as the sky grows dark.
  2519. >Many more days go by. Twilight and the rest of her friends get word of Sunset’s new boyfriends, and how he’s so much more sweet and great to be around than anyone else she’s ever dated. One or two of Twilight’s friends throughout the final week and a half of school occasionally approaches you. They don’t do anything to try to manipulate you or make you feel as though you’ve made a mistake.
  2520. >All they do is congratulate you and support you dating Sunset Shimmer. There are so many more students in school who know who you are now, and they want to get to know you more now that you’re rumored to be dating the popular girl.
  2521. >But that “rumor” is confirmed when you and Sunset walk into the hallways together on the final day of school, hand in hand to openly show everyone that you’re together. You and Sunset end up being the center of everyone’s attention for the rest of the day, and well into the first days of the summer.
  2522. >It’s even the case that you end up making friends with Twilight and the rest of the mane six, getting to know them a lot more as well in the coming weeks. They’re so much more friendly and supportive towards you than you could have possibly imagined.
  2523. >The Song changes once more.
  2524. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX0EvRARQIE (Can’t Buy Me Love).
  2525. >The summer goes on with you and Sunset hanging out with eachother more and more often. As this occurs, a lot of new developments happen between you and the fiery-haired girl… including your first kiss.
  2526. >Of course, you can’t help but feel that you could somehow mess all of this up with just the slightest stroke of bad luck. You are so lucky to have this girl, and keeping her will clearly be a lot harder than you had expected.
  2527. >Being the type of girl she is, Sunset would probably have high standards. This inclines you to show how worthy you are of keeping her by buying her tons of things during the first few weeks of the summer.
  2528. >It’s not like you had much money to begin with, but finding a summer job does prove helpful… for the most part.
  2529. >You end up changing your entire schedule around and pretty much eliminating any hint of free time that you ever had in order to keep Sunset Shimmer happy. The more time that goes on, the more you want her to stay.
  2530. >And yes, there are times when you question why you allowed yourself to get into a relationship with this girl. Your wallet has been taking the heaviest blow, surrendering your hard earned money to Sunset.
  2531. >But in your mind, it was completely worth it.
  2532. >However, the ultimate moment of relief finally finds you in your life as Sunset walks up to you one day in July and tells you something that you’ll never forget. She ells you that you don’t need to go through the trouble of buying things to make her happy, as physical items cannot compare to the amount of love she feels for you.
  2533. >The entire premise sounds extremely cliché to you, and you’d actually expect it to be right out of a movie or something. But the difference is that you’re lucky enough to actually experiencing all of this in your life. With that in mind, this premise that Sunset brings forth cannot possibly make more sense.
  2534. >After the heartfelt conversation you have with Sunset, you and her both vow that you do not need to buy eachother things to show affection, but rather just show it through your kindness towards eachother. Generosity does not need to require money, as long as you’re doing the right thing to be nice to someone.
  2535. >More weeks go by. During these weeks, you and Sunset spend the majority of your time generally doing nice things for eachother, including going on many more dates. You go with her to a variety of fun places like restaurants and theme parks. The summertime has plenty of those to offer.
  2536. >This is the greatest decision you have ever made in your entire life, incorporating the most enjoyment-filled summer you ever had. The bond with Sunset is strengthened to an immeasurable amount.
  2537. >Almost every day, you and your loving girlfriend will spend time together. You whisper sweet nothings into eachother’s ears, hold eachother close in the warm summer air as the breeze gently brushes past the two of you and live a relaxed life day by day. The best part is, you wallet eventually fills back up, since you still have a summer job.
  2538. >August eventually rolls around the corner, and school is about to start up once more. As you spend more and more time with Sunset while balancing your job at the same time, another song begins to play.
  2539. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2_A2XkXKfA (A Hard Day’s Night).
  2540. >12th grade really proves to have a monstrous impact on your daily schedule. You still have you job, making a pretty decent amount of money on the sideline. But the amount of free time you have for Sunset is beginning to shrink more and more.
  2541. >You’d quit, but you still need money for quite a few things, such as more gas for your car due to you driving around at least three times more often. It’s a bit of an obstacle that Sunset lives quite a ways away from you, but you manage to cope. You and Sunset would take turns handling the bill when you would go out somewhere, so that part hasn’t really been too much of a problem.
  2542. >But you still need to keep your job nonetheless. Life with school isn’t making things any easier, but you do it for Sunset... the two of you get nothing but closer.
  2543. >The stress can be ignored as long as you focus on what is making it all worthwhile. Sunset seems to be really proud of you for taking charge in the way you have. The fast paced life begins to get easier and easier as you grow used to it. Not only this, but Sunset’s friends continuously show their support for you for being so responsible.
  2544. >If you asked one of them for help with things, they would chip in and lend you a hand, as your friends. There was never a time before this when you had so many friends. In return, you would help the mane six back with things they needed, building a stronger friendship with them as well.
  2545. >Adapting to this jam-packed life wasn’t easy at first, but you’re slowly becoming a man out of it. Taking so many responsibilities in the wake of remembering the reason why you’re putting yourself through all of this.
  2546. >Sunset Shimmer.
  2547. >She loves to see you make your own success in your life, you can tell by the fact that she always urges you to make the right decisions. At the same time, she tells you that you don’t have to worry about the job if you don’t want to. And that the fact that you and her love eachother is all that matters. Sunset even tells you that she’d prefer to spend more time with you anyway in opposition to being at your job all the time or at school when you two don’t even have any classes together.
  2548. >But you find a reason to spend more time with Sunset anyway… you get fired from your job. The reason was because you always showed up to work late, as you barely had any time to get over to the place where you worked. You could have been on time more often if you spent less time with Sunset, but it’s clear what your priorities were.
  2549. >Whatever, you still have a pretty decent amount of money and you don’t have to drive around as much now that you are unemployed. But the major plus is: you get to spend a lot more time with Sunset, which is exactly what she wanted.
  2550. >The next song starts playing.
  2551. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWTC5nFgwUQ (I feel Fine).
  2552. >Over time, the weather starts to get colder and colder as the autumn months go by. But that doesn’t matter at all to you and Sunset. The two of you stay together, bundling up whenever it was too cold to walk around outside for long.
  2553. >The two of you are the celebrity couple of the school, pretty much adored by everyone solely based on how well your relationship is working out. You have never been happier in your entire life. Sunset Shimmer made a responsible man out of you, and now you get to devote so much time to her. The two of you lovebirds pretty much boast your partnership to everyone else in the school, but not in too much of a bad way.
  2554. >If there was anyone in school that didn’t know that you two were together, you’re more than certain that Sunset would have told them by now. She always says to you that she loves getting intimate with you, and you often say it back. She even says that she doesn’t ever want to spend a day away from you again, after learning how much of a great boyfriend you can be. This girl wants all the affection you can give her and then some.
  2555. >The fact that you and her are together has become one of the popular school trends. YouXSunset has become a meme in a way, to put it in Internet terms. Whenever someone would talk about one of you, the other one would inevitably come up in conversation.
  2556. >Everyone would make inferences about how you two would get married and then grow up to be over 100 years old and still married. They would joke about crazy things they picture you two doing together, some of which resulting in numerous children.
  2557. >And these things that they said were not hidden from you or Sunset, but the two of you happily laugh along with it. It’s not like the two of you were opposed to having a future together. Everyone can poke banter at it for as long as they want, because you love it.
  2558. >In fact, you even encourage it. Giving them new ideas to play with from time to time.
  2559. >Another song begins to play.
  2560. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VadngOGKlP0 (Eight Days A Week).
  2561. >The Holidays come around, and your relationship with Sunset has gotten rather… comfy. The two of are perfectly content with being together, and now spend literally every day together… to put it lightly.
  2562. >Every chance you get, you go to see your one true lover, Sunset Shimmer. You hug her every time you see her, even if you were only gone for like two hours. Sunset is literally the only thing on your mind as the snowfall in Canterlot picks up in the next few weeks. Thoughts about her take up the entirety of your concerns. Though, you still manage to keep your grades up.
  2563. >You are the one to bring up her meeting your parents, and you meeting hers. There is not a single beat that you want to miss. Sunset wanted you to show as much love as you could for her, and you have done just that. She has not complained even once, and the two of you have rarely argued about anything. If you had, an agreement was reached in a matter of minutes when you two would explain what you meant.
  2564. >If you knew that being in a relationship was this easy, you would have gotten into one so much sooner. But it ‘s a good thing that you didn’t, because then you would have never gotten together with Sunset, whom you would have still believed was out of your league.
  2565. >Things happened for the better, and you’re going to embrace every single moment of this.
  2566. >As Christmas rolls around, you spend the day at Sunset’s house, feeling as though you’re part of her family. It was absolutely amazing, now getting to know her parents as you had her friends earlier in the school year.
  2567. >During the time between Christmas and New Year’s, you and Sunset spend every day cuddling together in front of the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate as the snow gently falls outside.
  2568. >The New Year begins, and a couple of weeks pass as January takes its harsh toll. The next song begins to play.
  2569. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFGnNs_xndo (Ticket To Ride).
  2570. >You’re not sure why, but Sunset seems a lot more distant towards you in the recent weeks. This is something that you had slightly noticed right after Halloween, but never gave it any thought and assumed that it was you worrying too much. You finally ask Sunset what’s wrong, and if there is anything going on that she’d like to vent about. You lend her an open ear, ready to help her with whatever it is that’s bothering her.
  2571. >Sunset stays silent about it, making you wish that you had brought this into light beforehand when she might have been more willing to voice her concern. Previously, you had simply spent more time with her whenever she seemed down, so your presence would cheer her up.
  2572. >She seemed fine with it, and told you not to worry. And that’s exactly what she’s telling you now. But she doesn’t seem anywhere near as happy as she was during the summer, and that is something that admittedly pains you to see. You hadn’t really noticed any of this until the Holidays were over.
  2573. >All you want is for her to be happy; why didn’t you pay attention before?
  2574. >In your mind, you have tons of suspicions as to why she’s growing distant, but you don’t want any of it to be true. You end up ignoring them, hoping that things would just get better.
  2575. >You continuously ask her what’s wrong, and eventually offer to do something special with her on Valentine’s day in a couple of weeks. But Sunset finally tells you that she just wants to have time to herself more often.
  2576. >Agreeing, you ask her if she still wants to do anything on Valentine ‘s Day. That’s when it happens.
  2577. >Sunset pulls out a plane ticket from her jacket pocket and explains what it’s for. She’s apparently moving to a place called Brothens.
  2578. >You ask her why on earth she wants to go to Brothens, and her response basically tells you that you’re pressuring her too much with all of the time you’re spending with her, and that she wants to have a lot more space in this relationship. She also concludes that she’s pursuing a path of study that allows her to travel to a different country and finish school there, since she has a bit of a rough patch with what happened at the Fall Formal in 11th grade.
  2579. >So she has basically chosen to leave to Brothens and enter college early there while you stay here in Canterlot. Sunset emphasizes that you had been smothering her with too much attention and took up all of the free time that she wanted to have.
  2580. >Not really having an option in this, you accept. Though, it’s really strange that Sunset wouldn’t speak up about this before since you were apparently the issue. Why did she have to be so confusing?
  2581. >The relationship stays afloat, however. It just exists as… a long distance relationship, now.
  2582. >An unnecessary one.
  2583. >A new song begins to play.
  2584. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xqLfz_LPm4 (Help).
  2585. >January turns into February. Still early February, but Sunset is no longer here in town to do something with you on Valentine’s Day. For some reason, you start to become deeply concerned about Sunset being at some distant beach on the holiday.
  2586. >Even Twilight and the rest of the mane six were surprised at Sunset moving away so abruptly.
  2587. >In terms of how your life is going, nothing is the same anymore. Schoolwork has gotten a lot harder, consuming almost all of your free time.
  2588. >But you reach out to anyone who is willing to lend a hand. Especially if it is a friend of Sunset’s who can talk her into coming back into town. The weather does not get any better, leaving you with a barrage of cold days without Sunset Shimmer in your presence to keep you company. She would message you on Skype and Facebook fairly often at first. But the conversations get shorter and shorter.
  2589. >You really do want to make things up to her on Valentine ’s Day, feeling absolutely horrible for making her feel so pressured back in the day. You would have let her be alone more if she wanted more space.
  2590. >It turns out that you were wrong before; being in a committed relationship is a lot easier said than done.
  2591. >But why would Sunset want to get away from you so badly? Especially when things were going so well, at least on your end. Maybe if you had listened more, she would have told you what the problem was. Why can’t you stop blaming yourself?
  2592. >Three days before Valentine ‘s Day.
  2593. >The worst day of your life.
  2594. >You wake up on the cold morning to fins a message from Sunset already there on your computer. You assume that she wanted to talk to you first this time for a change, but it wasn’t for the reason you wanted.
  2595. >She is breaking up with you.
  2596. >Whatever you did after reading the message, you do not remember. You’ve likely repressed it all.
  2597. >The next song starts to play.
  2598. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNnaxGFO18o (Yesterday).
  2599. >You just don’t know what went wrong.
  2600. >One minute she was there by your side, loving you more than anything else. And the next… she’s gone. There has to be something that you missed, something you overlooked. But the more you try to think about it… the more painful it becomes.
  2601. >It just… doesn’t make sense.
  2602. >Once Valentine ‘s Day comes, you spend it completely alone. Locked in your room while drowning in your confused tears.
  2603. >This relationship… it was… something extremely special to you. Sunset Shimmer had made a man out of you, and made you happier than you had ever been in your entire life. What could it have been that drove her away? She did say that you weren’t giving her enough space, but evidently far after it was too late. And isn’t she the one who said that she wanted you to show more love for her anyway? Why would she just suddenly turn around on you like this?
  2604. >You remember all of those posts you’ve read on the Internet… about how girls and women can be an absolute mystery to boys and men. How they play with their feelings so much to no end, only to dump them and not explain why.
  2605. >These things that other guys like you on the Internet had said don’t feel so far-fetched anymore. Now that you’ve had a chance to experience what they have experienced. And saw for yourself what would happen.
  2606. >The thing is… it just seemed so easy at first. You were… actually having a successful and intense relationship with Sunset Shimmer. And it was the best feeling in the world to you, having eliminated any insecurities about dating that you previously had. You were even planning on letting her take your virginity on your one-year anniversary.
  2607. >She was your soul mate, but you apparently weren’t hers.
  2608. >The next song starts playing as the cold weather finally disperses and spring arrives.
  2609. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnLyoNmOogQ (Day Tripper).
  2610. >You stayed friends with Flash Sentry and his buddies. They had been there the entire time you were undergoing depression. They never brought you any drama, only support and concern for your well-being.
  2611. >Sunset has ended up removing you as a contact of both Skype and Facebook, permanently sealing herself into her life in Brothens. Along with whoever is included in that life. Possibly a… new lover.
  2612. >The very idea sickens you, but not for long.
  2613. >After reading about how many other guys who got screwed over by a girl the same way you had, the pain is soon hushed. You slowly realize that you were actually right about relationships before. There’s no possible way you and Sunset were compatible at all! She was far out of your league after all.
  2614. >But the thing is… she probably knew this.
  2615. >You know that she’s not stupid, and yet she still grew her own lilies just to ask you out on a date.
  2616. >Perhaps she was confused or something, and really believed that the relationship between the two of you could work. Because there was clearly something that didn’t work out.
  2617. >But nothing could be worth the heartbreak that you felt.
  2618. >Whatever. You’re going to move on now. There’s no sense in dwelling in all of this sadness that Sunset has brought into your life. You’ve learned your lesson the hard way this time; the relationship is most likely bound to fail. You just wish that you had listened to yourself before.
  2619. >Meanwhile, Twilight and her friends partially shun you and partially feel bad for you in the aftermath of the shocking breakup. You still often converse with them, but never dare to date any of them, as you know what might happen.
  2620. >Another song starts playing.
  2621. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omovUmbbAgo (We Can Work It Out).
  2622. >12th grade ends, and you all graduate.
  2623. >There has been a lot of disagreement between everyone regarding your breakup with Sunset. There is a ton of drama that happens up to and during the graduation ceremony, and after it as well.
  2624. >It takes a lot of time to patch things up with the mane six, along with a lot of the other people in school. It’s surprising how everyone is making such a big deal out of the beak up. Half of the school blames you and the other half blames Sunset, among them being Norman.
  2625. >To be honest, you personally blame Sunset as well. But then there’s one night, a couple of nights after the graduation, when you see another notification appear on your computer screen. Another one follows it shortly after.
  2626. >They are from Skype and Facebook… and they’re from Sunset Shimmer.
  2627. >She’s re-adding you as a contact.
  2628. >Just before you decline the invites, you notice huge walls of text that she had written to you. She basically apologizes for everything that has happened, and that she was wrong to not tell you that things weren’t working out on her end.
  2629. >She explains that she didn’t see that you weren’t a good match for her and didn’t know what she was getting into.
  2630. >Sunset Shimmer basically apologizes for putting you through all of this and not telling you about her real feelings. You swear you had no idea any of this was taking place when you two were together.
  2631. >Sunset does not ask to get back together with you, as she has met a new guy in Brothens now. The two are apparently (actually) happy together, on both ends. But she wants to know if you and her can still at least be friends.
  2632. >After talking things over with the mane six, Twilight convinces you that your friendship with Sunset should not end just because the two of you made a mistake and tried to date eachother.
  2633. >This is the kind of thing that the TV shows and movies were talking about. This is it.
  2634. >Welcome to the world of relationship wisdom, buddy. You’re really growing up, now. The era of alcohol usually starts around the same time as this.
  2635. >The next song starts to play.
  2636. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G6H2tQCaOA (Paperback Writer).
  2637. >Time during the summer goes by. It sure is different without Sunset Shimmer being your girlfriend anymore, but the pain is long gone now. Besides, you’re still talking to her over the Internet, maintaining a steady friendship with her like how Twilight wanted.
  2638. >However, you have taken the liberty of writing numerous greentexts on 4chan about relationships to vent and rant about how untrustworthy girls are. Oh, you’ve learned now, haven’t you?
  2639. >Paste after paste, you write countless stories as the months go on. You begin to get really good at it after a few weeks. You eventually making your writing more concise, starting to produce poems like Shakespeare had.
  2640. >You never show Sunset the greentexts, as you don’t want to start anything up again.
  2641. >According to her Facebook posts and everything, her life is going perfectly at the moment. She has settles down in her dorm with her roommates in Brothens, while her relationship with her new boyfriends is going perfectly as well.
  2642. >Not being happy for her wasn’t really an option. Sunset Shimmer being happy is what always made you happy, so you don’t really have a choice.
  2643. >After a couple more weeks of writing greentext stories and poems, you begin to hang out with Flash Sentry again. It turns out that he didn’t even apply to go to college, nor did any of the members of his band. You hadn’t signed up for college either, not wanting to go to school any longer.
  2644. >Flash apparently recognized the stories you had written on 4chan as resembling the experiences he watched you have. The greentexts had apparently been posted by your fans outside of 4chan and on websites that Flash visits. Which is how he evidently got ahold of them.
  2645. >But he seems to be really moved by your way of writing things, namely the poems. After another week and a half, Flash brings up that he and his band are working on making their first album, and would like you to help them write songs. In return, he will teach you how to play guitar and you can join the band itself.
  2646. >You accept.
  2647. >Since there’s no more school to worry about anymore, you and Flash immediately get to it with the guitar lessons and writing sessions. The next couple of weeks consist of you getting to know the other two members of Flash’s band, Brawly Beats and Ringo. They turn out to be really cool guys with some admittedly good ideas for songs.
  2648. >Eventually, you drift away from writing stories and poems altogether and begin to focus more on songs. It is so much more fun to work on these, especially with a band surrounding you and incorporating the lyrics you help write into songs with melodies and rhythms.
  2649. >You also receive guitar lessons from Flash in the meantime. This lasts for about five weeks, and during that time, you begin to be able to play basic chords on a newly bought guitar that you purchased using the last of your spare money.
  2650. >Right after this, the album that Flash’s band had in mind begins to come into fruition. About seven songs are produced by mid-September, and Flash begins to look for a label that will be willing to professionally release the album.
  2651. >At the same time, you parents are expecting you to get another job, since you haven’t decided to go to college. You explain to them that you and Flash are in a band together, and you’ll make money through releasing albums.
  2652. >Being extremely skeptical, your parents insist that the dream of doing that is unrealistic and that it only happens in the movies. You rebut that if it only happened in the movies, then there would be no rock stars in real life.
  2653. >They take this as delusion and tell you to either get a “real” job… or move out.
  2654. >You tell flash about this, and he tells you that his parents told him pretty much the same thing.
  2655. >Basically, one thing leads to another. And in the end result, you and the rest of the band end up moving into an apartment together in Kara-Kara.
  2656. >That is when the next song plays.
  2657. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcX0vOVlEr8 (Yellow Submarine).
  2658. >The rent is split four ways, and each of you got temporary jobs that should hold you off for money until the band’s albums (however many on them it took) kicked off.
  2659. >The walls are all painted an uncomfortably bright yellow, there is no internet connection most of the time, the place is rather old and cramped even for a studio apartment, but the price was the only one that the four of you could afford.
  2660. >And so begins the great effort of Quiet Ride, the name of the band that came into play after you joined.
  2661. >Given that there was no label willing to release the newly completed album, Flash decides that the album shall be self-released by the band itself. With that, the album is released in late October right before Halloween.
  2662. >It’s reaches do not expand very far, typically only being considered in the city of Kara-Kara and some surrounding areas. The album sells a little bit, but not anywhere near as much as the band had previously hoped.
  2663. >But that doesn’t stop any of you. It’s back to the drawing board.
  2664. >Into the winter you and Flash write, also further improving your guitar skills while you’re at it. Jobs aren’t too hard to maintain, as long as it’s something you can handle. By Christmas time, the band has produced only three more songs.
  2665. >Quiet Ride has been slowing down in both its productivity and creativity, but it’s a good thing that it doesn’t get very cold in Kara-Kara during the winter. Just like how you’ve heard about it before.
  2666. >By the time January ends and Valentine ‘s Day is coming up, you begin to undergo a little bit more slight depression as you remember when Sunset broke up with you out of nowhere. Flash and the rest of the band stay by your side and help you cope, telling you that you can express your feelings through songwriting.
  2667. >This tactic is what plants the seeds that later grows into the band’s success.
  2668. >Over the next few weeks after Valentine’s Day, Quiet Ride writing sessions become more and more frequent, involving you practically ranting about relationships and all that stuff onto paper. Guitar practice has also led to the ability to play more advanced chords, mostly on Flash’s end since he’s been playing a lot longer than you have.
  2669. >By the end of April, Quiet Ride’s second album is nearing completion with a total of nine songs. The lyrics have more thought put into them, the chords have more effort put into them, and the band already has experience playing together as a group.
  2670. >You have an admittedly good time living with Flash’s band in that tiny yellow apartment. It’s honestly opened a lot of new doors for you.
  2671. >The album is finally completed in mid-May. Flash once again seeks a label from which to release the album professionally, with your assistance this time since you did most of the songwriting.
  2672. >A record deal is finally achieved after a week and a half of searching.
  2673. >Quiet Ride’s second album is released under a record label in the middle of June… and begins to gain serious momentum in July.
  2674. >That’s when you hear the next song playing.
  2675. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xajQUEPXRyg (Eleanor Rigby).
  2676. >As the rest of the summer goes by, Quiet Ride watches their second album hit a huge success that practically puts their first one to shame. You begin to hear songs from the album being played on the radio fairly often, right up there with all of the other popular songs of the season.
  2677. >Summer turns into autumn, and the band has now has a manager, a record label to release under and a lot of new motivation for new music.
  2678. >It doesn’t take long for you to figure out why the album was such a huge success. You knew exactly what the general feeling of the lyrics was word for word… and so did hundreds of thousands of other people out there who have struggled with relationship issues.
  2679. >The songs that you and the band wrote were a mass nod and tip of a hat to plenty of people out there. People who have been cheated on, people who have been dumped, people who HAVE dumped due to reasons similar to yours.
  2680. >People who have rejected, people who have been rejected, people who are too afraid to ask someone out because of fear of rejection.
  2681. >People who think exactly how you originally thought, and believe that giving relationships a try isn’t worth it because only confusing drama and breakups will happen eventually.
  2682. >People who think exactly how you do now and have been though the same drama, breakups and whatnot… and now no longer trust the aspect of having a relationship with another human being.
  2683. >This is your confirmation that your situation is far from uncommon, as there are thousands upon thousands of people out there who are just like you. People whom you’re not afraid to say that you are compatible with; people whom you can agree with.
  2684. >People.
  2685. >Quiet Ride’s album’s tragic and anti-relationship nature electrifies it listeners for months to come, reaching high in the charts with its appeal to those out there who are just fed up with relationships.
  2686. >After the second album’s success, your mentality makes a major shift. You have learned that you don’t need to have Sunset by your side to be happy, or really anyone else but the band you play with, for that matter. If anything, having a relationship was just holding you back.
  2687. >It’s not like you would have been able to do any of this if you stayed in Canterlot with Sunset as your girlfriend. You’re glad that she left to Brothens and then broke up with you. Sure the two of you can still be friends, but the relationship part is off of the table now.
  2688. >However, you do notice Sunset contacting you more and more often after she apparently realizes that you’re part of the now famous band Quiet Ride. She messages you about twice a week now, more than the previous once every couple of weeks.
  2689. >You can tell that it’s only because you’re starting to make it big in the music industry. She wouldn’t be doing this if the second album flopped.
  2690. >Sunset Shimmer asks you when you’re moving back to Canterlot, as she and her new fiancé had just moved back to the town from Brothens for the holidays. They are planning on staying in Canterlot, since the guy Sunset is engaged to is “running from some troublemakers”, as she put it.
  2691. >The answers you usually give her regarding her new developments are vague and rather passive. You’re finally becoming distant yourself, aren’t you?
  2692. >Though, you might have to ignore her most of the times anyway. You’ve been off of the Internet a lot more often due to your hard work with the band and keeping a job.
  2693. >And then… you finally have a reason to quit that said job.
  2694. >The next song plays.
  2695. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FlQCtg96SQ (Penny Lane).
  2696. >Money is the main thing that starts to pour into you and the rest of the band’s laps as winter draws near. Just as the weather in many parts of the world fades to winter, there are a lot of people out there who are in failing relationships or simply just want out. Mainly due to young people just starting college, desperately trying to hold onto their high school lovers only to grow apart with the distance.
  2697. >And guess which music this influences them to listen to?
  2698. >The band collectively rakes in its official first million dollars by the middle of January. But this is pretty much the overall revenue, as most of the money so far has been used for paying the bills and purchasing new equipment.
  2699. >Before you know it, Quiet Ride moves into a brand new studio apartment and sets the place up to be fit for recording brand new songs. Excited about the success of the previous album, the band immediately gets to work on their third album, with the notion of one-upping their past selves in mind.
  2700. >A few months go by, and it is eventually late spring.
  2701. >8 songs are produced, and they are even better made than the songs of the previous album. Unlike the last batch of songs, this batch of songs centers on partying and having fun on the beach in avoidance of petty drama. The main theme of the album is Brothens, poking banter about Sunset moving to Brothens and then leaving back to Canterlot with a man who is apparently involved with illegal activities. The reference is subtle, and only implied.
  2702. >Meanwhile, the topic of the lyrics is being on an ever-sunny beach while other places in the world are cold and rainy.
  2703. >The album is released in the middle of May, just in time to kick off in the beginning of summer itself. Due to the band’s past success, the name Quiet Ride is already fairly well known in a few places. This helps the newest album get more attention in less time than before, with the band’s already established fan base.
  2704. >Summer in Kara-Kara is absolutely amazing, especially on the beaches of the coastal city. Most of your new free time is spent relaxing on the beach with your bandmates in June.
  2705. >And you’re making even more money along the way as the band’s fan base largely expands.
  2706. >In early July, the band begins to tour in Brothens… and ends up moving there in late July. The money you all have earned at this point has made moving to an apartment in Brothens finally affordable. And you seem to be okay with this as well, since Sunset doesn’t live there anymore.
  2707. >The next song starts to play.
  2708. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9_vhYpR9xo (All you need is Love).
  2709. >After summer ends, the weather in Brothens stays really warm and summer-like. The climate in this place is exactly like how you’ve always heard. Spring and summer pretty much all year-round.
  2710. >Life in Brothens never slows down for the band.
  2711. >There’s always something fun to do in the city, and around the city as well. The four of you spend Halloween surfing… or at least trying to learn how to do so. Barbeques are held almost every night next to a neighboring dance party. Literally nothing is restricted to any of you, especially since you’re all pretty much old enough to drink alcohol anyway.
  2712. >Partying ensues during the majority of the times the band is not touring.
  2713. >Once again, the album itself makes it to high areas on the charts, selling all over the world this time. It can only be assumed that people in places where it’s becoming winter right now use the album as an escape to pretend that it still summer somewhere… and that somewhere just so happens to actually be Brothens. Where you currently reside.
  2714. >Like true rock stars, you and the rest of the band begin to explore the world of drugs while constantly in downtown Brothens late at night. By Christmas, each one of you has become slightly hooked on at least something. But only casually, as you all insisted to your manager.
  2715. >Most nights are filled with drugs, alcohol and partying. Needless to say, you end up losing your virginity before the New Year. Whatever, you’d rather Sunset not have it anyway. This life is so much better than living in Canterlot.
  2716. >This new January is literally the best January you’ve ever had. There’s absolutely no cold weather, no early evenings or late mornings and just more partying for the most part.
  2717. >Quiet Ride doesn’t end up touring until the rest of the northern hemisphere starts to get warmer again. By May, you have a tour bus at the ready and begin travelling… taking the fun of Brothens with you, of course.
  2718. >All summer long, the four of you travel the world, playing at concerts in numerous countries. And of course, gaining much more momentum. The years feel like they’re going by much faster at this point, but with a LOT more enjoyment.
  2719. >During the course of all of this, you begin jotting down some lyrics for yet another possible album, just because. No reason why Quiet Ride should fade away now, right? Flash and the others eventually collaborate as well, and the band’s fourth album is in the making by September. Meanwhile, the southern hemisphere is toured next.
  2720. >You haven’t heard a single word from Sunset Shimmer since March.
  2721. >A lot more time goes by, and the fourth album is released in February next year as a super album with 15 songs. The album’s creativity is all over the placed, having been influenced heavily by psychedelics.
  2722. >Overall, the album is a hit-and-miss. But a couple of the songs turn out to be really catchy and rake in tons of money for Quiet Ride. There seems to be a lot of both love and hate for the band all over the world now, mostly due to the large success mixed with the new careless attitudes you all have developed.
  2723. >The fourth album is nowhere near as highly rated as the third or second, but it’s still just as popular nonetheless. Such is life for rock stars who keep playing after they’ve already gave it their all and made it.
  2724. >It’s Christmas again before you know it.
  2725. >The next song plays.
  2726. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zPOT8Z3UlM (Hello Goodbye).
  2727. >Despite all of the fun you keep having in Brothens, you and the rest of the band begin to experience a lot of tension and disagreement between eachother. Namely between you and Flash, there is a lot of competition to see who is the better musician.
  2728. >After more months pass, Quiet Ride is building the foundation for its fifth album. In the creation of songs, you and Flash constantly try to one-up eachother by proving how many more creative ideas you had in terms of making songs. As it turns out, where each of you started has become your bread and butter. Flash with his talent in playing catchy and memorable chords on his guitar and you with writing deep and witty lyrics.
  2729. >Both of you are good at playing and songwriting, but your specialties are what you depend on to out-do the other.
  2730. >Not only this, but excessive drug use gets in the way of the band’s productivity as they intensify the fast-paced life in Brothens. After not too long, the band members enter rehab one by one, stepping out of the music game for a month or two each to kick their addictions.
  2731. >Your time in rehab was arguable the only one that was successful at first. But that doesn’t stop the standoff between you and Flash Sentry.
  2732. >Before you even have the slightest chance at realizing it, three more years have passed. During the midst of that mess of an era, the fifth and even a tiny sixth album were released. But neither of them were very successful at all. To be honest, they were both pretty bad as well, given that you all were trying too hard to outshine the rest of the band instead of work together on the songs.
  2733. >The tension is sufficed during one summer when the band Quiet Ride goes on one super-sized tour that showcases all of their best songs, also releasing an album with all of their best songs on one CD.
  2734. >Flash is the one who came up with the idea for the tour, and the band honestly has a peaceful renaissance during the times of travel. Apologies are made and everyone gets along for a while. You say hello and goodbye to so many people so fast, due to you not staying in one place for too long.
  2735. >You end up getting to see places all around the world, discovering new cities and cultures. The fact that there was a constant change of location and scenery is what cooled everyone down. By now, each of you are pretty much of millionaire status. But only barely.
  2736. >Touring the world also opens many, many doors for all four of you. You get to try new instruments, speak in new languages and even participate in tribal activities of foreign cultures. Brothens doesn’t see much of their signature band during most of the following winter. Neither does Kara-Kara.
  2737. >Once summer comes again, you and the rest of the band finally get rid of your drug addictions, finally beginning new chapters in your lives as rehabilitated men. All in all, this whole adventure that you went on was more than worth it.
  2738. >Touring continues more and more, and Quiet Ride starts to consider an eighth album as a comeback to the previous few years. Flash is excited about this, as he really wants to pull the band back together. You, however, haven’t been very enthusiastic about this.
  2739. >During one last leg of the tour, Quiet Ride ends up in Canterlot. It is there when you meet a familiar face.
  2740. >The next song begins to play.
  2741. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNyHymEhZmg (Lady Madonna).
  2742. >It was an early morning when you run into Sunset Shimmer.
  2743. >You almost don’t recognize her with the small children by her side. But her red and yellow hair is something that you almost can’t possibly miss. Noticing her first, you call out to her, waving hello as she turns around.
  2744. >She barely recognizes you at first. It’s been so many years.
  2745. >The two of you were still together the last time you saw eachother in person. The very thought of this almost maddens you to the point where tears nearly fill your eyes.
  2746. >Sunset introduces her five-year-old son Evan and her three-year-old daughter Katie to you as both of you catch up on eachother’s lives. It turns out that the man she married was on the run from some cartel or something, and he left her with her toddler son about three years ago when she was pregnant with Katie.
  2747. >You describe to Sunset about how your life has been while in the band with Flash. She tells you that it’s a bit interesting that two of her exes ended up forming a band together. The two of you laugh along with one another and finally make actual amends after all these years.
  2748. >Upon visiting Sunset’s apartment, you find the place a mess with kid’s toys scattered about. The place is really small and run-down, almost as small as your first apartment. The fridge doesn’t have much food inside of it and a lot of the appliances and electronics are cheap, outdated items. The surrounding neighborhood is on the poor side of town as well.
  2749. >You wonder if you would have had to live here if you hadn’t broken up with Sunset years ago. You certainly wouldn’t have become famous; if there’s anything at all you can be sure about.
  2750. >The next song begins to play.
  2751. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCazMqCJVMc (Hey Jude).
  2752. >You later learn that Sunset has been living the life of a single mother living on minimum wage for quite some time now. After telling Flash and the others about this, their heartstrings are instantly pulled by your story of Sunset Shimmer.
  2753. >Weeks go by instead of months and years for a change, and you visit Sunset as often as you can to help out. At this point, you have a lot of spare money to give her whenever she needs it, which is more often than you’d admit to just anyone. The rest of the band also helps chip in from time to time, but most of the money comes from you. There is not a single day when Sunset doesn’t thank you. Her gratitude for your kindness and generosity is seemingly endless.
  2754. >A lot of long conversations are held in between recording sessions, and it is finally agreed that Sunset can move back to Brothens with the band, who has been planning to move into their own houses anyway.
  2755. >The moment you tell Sunset that she is free to come live in a house with you instead of her shoebox apartment is something you’ll never forget. The woman leaps towards you, trapping you into a hug that you return with a loving grasp.
  2756. >You couldn’t possibly count the times she said “Thank You”. But you can be sure that her tears of happiness were numerous enough to drench your shoulder.
  2757. >And about a month later, a house in Brothens is picked out and you’re on flight with Sunset and her children. You arrive there in the middle of the afternoon, immediately making yourselves at home.
  2758. >Whenever you are around the kids, Evan asks you why the entire world can’t be like Brothens. Without too many big words, you explain to him that responsibility, hard work and discipline are the things that get one to places like Brothens. And that he shouldn’t just assume that the whole world is like that one neighborhood where he grew up. That not all fathers are like the one he barely had. That not all lives have to be lives of struggling and working so much for so little.
  2759. >You basically tell Evan that he can go out there into the world and make something out of himself no matter what. The boy seems really moved by this, and Sunset is very happy to hear about this.
  2760. >Of course, you and Sunset still remain single, as you wouldn’t want to open up any old wounds from years ago. You’re almost never home anyway, working with Flash and the other guys on the comeback album. The hours in the recording studio see new artistic heights that surpass anything Quiet Ride has done before.
  2761. >But it’s not like you don’t think about it. In fact, it even comes up in conversation between you and Sunset multiple times. As it turns out, you’re still a loner who’s busy with his music while Sunset’s just trying to get her life back together by maintaining a steady job and raising her children. The last thing you’d want is to be that “father” who’s never there for his kids because there’s always somewhere else he needs to be. You’d rather Sunset’s children be happy and have a father who’s always in the picture.
  2762. >Whoever Sunset ends up marrying, you just hope she makes the right choice this time. She did tell you that she’s going to stay in Brothens no matter what, but knows what kind of choices to make now.
  2763. >The next song starts playing.
  2764. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdBnNzQz67A (Get Back).
  2765. >Progress on the new album skyrockets, and you’re spending more time in the recording studios than ever before. You personally want this album to be the grand finale of the band. To put it bluntly, you’re getting tired of being in this group. It’s not like you don’t like these guys anymore, you just don’t like doing this whole music thing anymore.
  2766. >There are 12 brand new songs on the album, and it’s taking over a year to produce. This is the eighth album from Quiet Ride, so the band is pretty well known around the world at this point regarding their prestige.
  2767. >But as you finish up the last of the songs, you just can’t help but think about quitting the band at this point. The tension between band members has re-asserted itself during the tediously hard work on the album, and you are at it again with competing with Flash.
  2768. >You can already tell that this album is going to be an instant hit, to put it mildly. These new songs that are being put together have been good beyond anything anyone in the band has made before. The band is doing better than ever before, and this is proven when the album is finally released.
  2769. >After a corporate decision, it is concluded that the album only includes the 8 best songs of the 12 produced, so there’s 8 songs on the 8th album that’s titled: Quiet Ride 8. The other four songs are to be saved for the next album called Quiet Ride 9, accompanied by 5 more songs.
  2770. >The album remains number one on the chart for many weeks, granting Quiet Ride the redemption that all of them but you had been hoping for. Superstardom ensues.
  2771. >Sunset tells you that she’s proud of your success, but you do not even want to write one more song. You’re honestly sick of being in the band, as the bickering between you and Flash hadn’t exactly been the best of times. The rest of the band isn’t too happy about all of the hard work either, but they’re willing to press on to the next album and beyond.
  2772. >Though, you’re the only one who’s not willing at all to press on, which is an obvious thorn in the band’s side.
  2773. >There’s even a point where you hear Evan ask Sunset why you aren’t his dad if you’re all living together. You don’t catch much of the conversation, but Sunset’s answers pretty much consists of explaining that you’re super busy all of the time.
  2774. >This is what pushes you to quit. Though, it’s going to be hard with the new album being promised to an eager public.
  2775. >But luck is on your side when the tension in the band finally boils over during one summer. There is one huge altercation, resulting in you standing up and announcing that you’re officially and permanently leaving the band. After a bit of further drama and a lawsuit, your freedom is confirmed.
  2776. >The next song plays.
  2777. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxx-dOHias8 (The Ballad of John and Yoko).
  2778. >The next thing that happens… is a wedding.
  2779. >Between you and the one and only Sunset Shimmer.
  2780. >Based on what you get from the public, your move of leaving the band was the most irrational thing that has happened in pop culture in recent years. You find a ton of hate letters being sent to your address from former fans, making all kinds of threats to you if you don’t get back into the band.
  2781. >But you’re done with it.
  2782. >There is nothing about the band that makes you want to get back in anymore. As far as you’re concerned, Flash, Ringo and Brawly Beats can just go back to the band they were in high school before you joined them. You even tell them this, and they take it as somewhat of an insult.
  2783. >Of course, you leaving the band only meant bad things for the band’s productivity and overall reputation. You had done much of the songwriting, and were one of the main things holding the band together.
  2784. >In a matter of weeks, the rest of the band breaks up, not wanting to go back to what they were before you joined.
  2785. >They wouldn’t be the same band without you being a part of the action, and wouldn’t be able to fill the shoes that you had helped them leave massive footprints with.
  2786. >News of the rest of the band’s breakup only means more bad news for you.
  2787. >You and Sunset are constantly under fire for causing the end of Quiet Ride. As a result, you and the rest of the family move to a small island somewhat near Brothens and spend a few months in hiding.
  2788. >Flash Sentry has cut off all communication with you.
  2789. >The next song plays.
  2790. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrW7dlDHH28 (Something).
  2791. >There aren’t many things that happen during this song, due to the lack of action. All you know is that you spend all of your time with Sunset Shimmer… for years.
  2792. >Making up for all of the lost years that you spent without her, you devote every hour to Sunset Shimmer and the family you are raising with her.
  2793. >There are numerous mornings where you lie in bed with Sunset, staring into her eyes as the morning light shines in. She occasionally sings to you, and you sing back to her the most thoughtful love songs you could have written while in the band.
  2794. >You two do so many things together, ranging from going on boat trips to attending festive parades in the small town where you live. The local residents know who you are, but they typically leave you be. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who can find it in their heart to just be happy for you and be glad that you made the music you made in the distant past.
  2795. >Along with the time you and Sunset spend together, you help her raise her kids. During this, you make yourself the best father you could be. Always being there for Evan and Katie, watching them go to school, teaching them countless first like riding a bike and swimming, generally doing every single thing a truly good parent is expected to do for their children.
  2796. >You already have enough money to last at least a decade, and getting a job still isn’t very hard for you and Sunset. Life has gotten so much easier, and once again, you’re happy with the direction you chose.
  2797. >The next song plays.
  2798. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfI4111pc0s (Come Together).
  2799. >Years pass. Not exactly a decade, but enough to make up for the lost years.
  2800. >You have recently been able to get a lot more free time on your hands, and have actually taken up practicing playing a guitar, since you’ve never really gotten a chance to shine on your own when being in Quiet Ride.
  2801. >There are times when you consider releasing a solo album of your own, but you really wouldn’t want to anger the general public of the pop culture world anymore. It’s just best to keep things the way they are.
  2802. >But there comes a fateful day, when Evan walks up to you in the middle of the afternoon and tells you something that makes you think really hard about Quiet Ride. He’s eleven years old, now.
  2803. >Evan says to you that he wants to know if you will ever start making music again, and that he wants his dad to be a rock star that still makes music and hasn’t burned out yet.
  2804. >After this, one thing leads to another, and you soon make the decision to try and contact your former bandmates to see if you could arrange a reunion and make that 9th album. Surprisingly enough, Sunset supports this, as she would love to see you make (another) comeback.
  2805. >With this, you end up contacting Flash by finding him on Facebook. The public conversation between you and him attracts a lot of Internet attention… especially when you ask him if he wants to get the band back together.
  2806. >Nothing else is needed to be said… Flash agrees.
  2807. >The band regroups a couple of months later, awkward re-introductions are made, and recording starts. The record label has dropped the four of you after the break up, so this album is going to be self-released. Just like the first one.
  2808. >Even when other labels ask if you want to release under them, you decline to retain the symbolism of comparing the last album to the first. The reunion attracts massive public attention.
  2809. >The album is eventually released, but with a heartbreaking twist. It’s nowhere near as good as any of the other albums. It looks like that Quiet Ride just doesn’t have that spark that they used to have.
  2810. >You’ve spent too much time away with your families to get back into the spirit of it all. Your hearts aren’t in it anymore.
  2811. >The public is a muddled mix between satisfied and let down. And that’s for a reason.
  2812. >The next song plays.
  2813. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0714IbwC3HA (Let It Be).
  2814. >Just like the first album, the last one was just not the public’s cup of tea. Not only this, but it was self-released by the band as well. All of the die-hard fans of Quiet Ride see this as a dramatic symbolism and accept the album for what it is.
  2815. >You and Flash conclusively agree that it’s probably best to not make a tenth album after this one. The band disperses for one last time, but this time it is peaceful. Personally, you wish you could have done more with your career in Brothens with music, but it just so happened that Sunset came back into your life and gave you a reason to let it die down.
  2816. >The next song plays.
  2817. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqu9qhBHWNs (The Long And Winding Road).
  2818. >The last thing you can picture is yourself walking back to your house where Sunset waits for you. Right outside of the front door she stands, with that same radiant glow in her fiery hair and the bright teeth in her smile. You can see in her eyes how proud she is of you, staring straight into them.
  2819. >As you approach Sunset, everything begins to grow dark. You can hear a voice calling your name, but it doesn’t sound like that of Sunset… or the voices of Evan or Katie.
  2820. >Right before everything fades to completely pitch black, you hear a faint, distant gunshot.
  2821. ~
  2822. >And your eyes shoot open.
  2823. >You can feel a pair of headphones being slipped off of your head right as you begin to recognize the plane around you. In your chest, you can feel your heart beating with an intense rhythm of throbs. Just like how it was beating right after you had run out of your house this morning.
  2824. >”Anon!” Sonata’s voice calls to you in a tone mixed with giggles. “Anon are you awake?”
  2825. “Wh… wha?” You slur as your scrambling thoughts bump into eachother in your brain.
  2826. >”I told you you’d get nightmares.” Norman speaks next. “I warned you about chocolate, bro.”
  2827. “Where am I?” You ask, extremely confused.
  2828. >Your question is met with a chorus of friendly chuckles.
  2829. >”About an hour away from Brothens, dude.”
  2830. >”I woke up about an hour ago or something and put Lemon Zest’s headphones on you and played my Beatles CD because you looked like you were asleep.” Sonata explains herself. “And I remember when you said that you didn’t want to be asleep, and that you wanted me to make you listen to music to it would keep you awake, so I put the headphones on and-”
  2831. “It’s okay, it’s okay.” You reply, still feeling rather dizzy. “Just, uh… um…” You’re at a loss for words.
  2832. >Finally, your mind catches itself and your rational thought finally returns once more. Everything that has actually happened floods back into your memory. The manipulation from Twilight and Trixie. Sunset being overly-obsessed with you. Flash telling you what you should and shouldn’t think.
  2833. >Twilight… invading your dreams.
  2834. >No, there’s no way she could have been able to do that this time. You’re too far away for that to even be remotely possible. Like Norman just told you: you’re only about an hour away from Brothens.
  2835. >But…
  2836. >If she had…
  2837. >How dare she?
  2838. >Something inside of you explodes as you begin to regain your control over your feelings. Your thoughts. And your opinions. You almost shoot out of your seat as you become overtaken by an almost violating sensation… every time you think of Twilight. You feel as though you had let your guard down once more. How dare that girl play with your emotions like this?!
  2839. >But still…
  2840. >There’s no possible way it could have been her, but the fact that this happened at all enrages you to the breaking point that you have passed multiple times before. It’s a good thing you know how to keep it internal these days.
  2841. >Right away, you develop the notion that you shouldn’t let any of this… whatever it is… get the best of you. You’ve already had your share of worrying and being paranoid. And going through that once was enough suffering. Why on earth would you allow something like this to intercept with your time at Brothens?
  2842. >At this point, it’s almost a good thing that Sunset wasn’t able to follow you. After what just passed through your thoughts while you were sleeping, there’s no way you’ll be able to put it out of your mind until you do something to clear your head and get ahold of yourself.
  2843. >”It’s just like how my mom always told me.” Norman continues. “Don’t eat tons of sweets before going to sleep.”
  2844. “Wait… I didn’t sleep talk, did I?” You ask.
  2845. >”You were kinda squirming around, man.” Norman tells you. “You looked really tense, and you were grunting a lot. But not talking or anything.”
  2846. >”Norman was still asleep when I woke up.” Sonata informs you. “And you were, too. Which you weren’t supposed to be. I had no idea how long you had been sleeping, but I wanted to help out anyway.”
  2847. “Um… thanks.”
  2848. >”No problem!” Sonata responds with a cute smile.
  2849. >There comes a point in time when you need to forget about things that happened in the past for the sake of being able to move on… and this is that point in time.
  2850. >You need to keep this guilt from getting to you. There’s literally no reason why it should be getting to you in the first place anyway; you do not love Sunset Shimmer.
  2851. >Why do you need to keep saying this? You’re not in love with her and that’s the end of it.
  2852. >Brothens is just an hour away. That utopia that you’ve been waiting for for so long. You are NOT going to let any feeling from that town you just left follow you into heaven, as you are going to start a new chapter of your life. You hadn’t packed many things into that bag you had left at home, but your shaver was not one of them.
  2853. >There were never any plans to keep your head shaved.
  2854. >You internally count down to Brothens, ready for whatever comes face to face with you over there in the fabled city.
  2855. >…
  2856. >…
  2857. >The plane draws closer to the city of Brothens. You cannot even see anything outside of the window, due to everything being still dark.
  2858. >But even through the darkness, you can sense some sort of vibe that represents that of an island or archipelago. You can practically sense the extra openness of the air around the plane somehow, as though it is a bit thinner.
  2859. >It’s like you can sense Brothens itself by being relatively close to the place.
  2860. >A sensation of coolness washes over you as you learn how close you are to this amazing place you had heard about. Not coolness in terms of temperature, but coolness in terms of a state Zen. All of those stories that were told to you by the kids at lunch, all of those things that you could barely imagine with your own mind. All of those stories were about a place that is about to be at your fingertips.
  2861. >The soft beat emitting through someone’s headphones in the row behind you is the only sound that dominate the inside of the plane as you patiently wait for the flight to end at the city. You would have already assumed that this would be the longest hour of you life, but something is telling you otherwise this time.
  2862. >The overall feel of being wherever you are is setting your mind straight, causing you to be more sure about whatever you want to be true. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never felt this way a little bit before, but it is much more dominant this time.
  2863. >In comparison to having a dream where you have no control over what you want to be true or not, this feels like the opposite. This is more control over your mind you have ever felt.
  2864. >Norman and the rest of the others begin to nap, likely making sure that they remain comfortable until they have no other choice other than to exit the plane.
  2865. >You’re alone, to an extent. But not in the same way you were before. Last time you were alone, you were alone against nearly overwhelming forces that bombarded your mind to the point where you almost broke out in tears in front of whoever was watching. And you don’t ever want to feel that way again.
  2866. >After another twenty minutes or so, you look out the window to find and extremely slight difference from the blackness you observed before. This time, there is a thin, barely visible line of light, which outlines the horizon that halts at the surface of the ocean. The purple glow is very faint, but noticeable enough to catch your eye.
  2867. >When you had looked outside of the plane window before, there was only sea, as you had slept through the point when the plane was flying over land. It’s as though you never even got a chance to watch yourself leave Canterlot, something that half of you was eagerly looking forward to back when you didn’t have a ticket for this plane.
  2868. >But soon enough, this view alone makes up for what you hadn’t seen before.
  2869. >Minutes pass, and the massive sky outside gradually illuminates from the approaching sun. It turns almost greenish at the horizon while everywhere else shines a dark, then more reddish purple. The rise of the sun is underway.
  2870. >All over the ocean below, the churning waves dance around one another and present a rippling, swirling version of the sky that the sea reflects. Everything outside fades to the colors red and purple, until the color orange begins to assert itself in the place of the greenish glow that hovered on the horizon. It’s a good thing all of the lights are off in the plane’s corridor; otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to see the magnificent collage or stars painting the sky.
  2871. >More minutes pass, and the only thing to wipe the image of the stars away is the light from the sun just over the horizon. There were never any clouds in the sky, leaving a deep magenta abyss to soon appear before your eyes.
  2872. >Dark blotches on the churning waters can only indicate the presence of small islands; you’re getting closer to heaven.
  2873. >Everything that had plagued your mind in the past has vanished from thought, replace by pure awe in the face of what the residents of Brothens wake up to every day.
  2874. >[“Attention passengers.”] The pilot’s voice over the intercom announces, volume softened and reduced to refrain from startling any of the listeners. [“Flight 420 to Brothens will be landing in T-minus 20 minutes. Make sure to have all of your belongings with you as you leave the aircraft and have a wonderful morning. Thank you.”]
  2875. >Something completely new arises in you as you visualize yourself stepping out of the plane and onto brand new soil. This is the moment when you realize that you could leave who you used to be behind. That you who made your feelings spiral out of control in your house. That you who was the one to escape in order to become what you wanted to be.
  2876. >Something about being here is opening some new doors for you… that lead out of the prison that held you back from being great for so long.
  2877. >You can finally confirm to yourself that you don’t have to be the person others want you to be, but the person who you want you to be. Because you’re in the place where you wanted to be, and not in town with Flash and Twilight.
  2878. >The escape has been completed.
  2879. >As the lights of a distant landing strip can be seen in the distance, you feel the plane begin to lower. Of course, everyone else slowly gets up, some of them by alarm. The ones waking up do not seem to have trouble becoming fully awake in what seems like an instant.
  2880. >The sky outside turns to a glowing scarlet, finally illuminating the small patches of land below. The water now seems to turn to a bright lime green with the reflection of the sky overhead. You honestly have no idea what to expect next of this visually mystical water and sky.
  2881. >”Didn’t you pack any bags, dude?” Norman asks you as you finally turn away from the window once again.
  2882. >He takes you by surprise, breaking your concentrated attention to the scenery outside. You look into the corridor to find everyone already holding on to luggage, having gathered it without your knowledge.
  2883. “Uh, I didn’t bring any, remember?” You say.
  2884. >”Oh. Right, right. You left your bag.” Norman blinks and straightens his back a little. “Forgot about that part.”
  2885. >…
  2886. >The aircraft makes it to the ground, and you feel energy pulsate through you as the runway can be felt colliding with the plane’s wheels. You’re on the ground of Brothens’s airport, feeling internally excited as the plane rolls to a stop.
  2887. >Standing up is a bit of a challenge, due to you sitting down for a lengthy period of time. But your curiosity to see what Brothens is like pushes you forward than anything on a normal Saturday morning would.
  2888. >You exit the plane alongside your friends.
  2889. >When you enter the airport of Brothens, the sleek shape of the building’s interior automatically impresses you. The walls take on a looming curve towards the middle of the ceiling, with thick columns that possibly resemble a castle.
  2890. >The school band regroups after collecting all of the rest of their luggage, and you wait in the back with Norman and Mary. Apparently, Mary doesn’t have an official instrument to play, and it’s not clear what she had done to join the band on this trip to Brothens. But whatever her reason is, it’s definitely a lot more valid than what your reason is.
  2891. >She leans up against the wall, distantly staring up at the high ceiling of the airport as though this was her first time here.
  2892. >The group moves on outside eventually, prompting you to follow them. Whatever lies beyond the airport, you’re not sure you’re ready to face. But the anticipation pushes you still, wanting more than anything else to know what lies ahead outside. Mary speaks to you as the group passes through the security checkpoint.
  2893. >”Just wait until you see outside.” Mary tells you. “It’s going to blow you away, I swear.”
  2894. “Blow me away how?”
  2895. >”Just wait.”
  2896. “But I want to know what to prepare for.”
  2897. >”Trust me. You’ll thank me for not preparing you. You’re going to like being overwhelmed this time around. It’s just too nice to pass up.”
  2898. >The group gets closer to the glass doors after having been cleared by security. You can see the palm trees outside, barely illuminated by the rising sun. The first members of the group go through, and then the majority of the students step outside.
  2899. >You are the last one to go, hesitant to step into the pleasant island air.
  2900. >But when you do, heaven overwhelms you.
  2901. >….
  2902.  
  2903. >A gentle warm breeze tickles your skin after the doors close behind you. Upon stepping outside, you instantly notice the mixture of land and sea surrounding you in all directions. Above you is a massive clear sky, just starting to turn blue from the sun shining onto it from the horizon.
  2904.  
  2905. >Even during the morning, this place is comfortably warm.
  2906.  
  2907. >Distant crashing of the waves catches your attention from multiple places, not letting you know where to look for it first.
  2908.  
  2909. >The entire environment so far is one vast beach; the sand still painted pink and orange from the sunrise.
  2910.  
  2911. >Carefully step forward, already hungry to explore every possible direction.
  2912.  
  2913. >Mary looks over to you, enjoying your reaction to seeing Brothens for the first time. She has a gratified smirk on her face as she watches your jaw drop to the sandy stone walkway below.
  2914.  
  2915. >”So…” She speaks up. “What do you think?”
  2916.  
  2917. >You might want to go searching for words to reply with before exploring this absolute utopia.
  2918.  
  2919. >…
  2920.  
  2921. >To no surprise, you’re completely lost in the discovery, having to be escorted by the fellow students to the the streets on the other side of the airport’s parking lot. Every new turn you make can only lead to something more beautiful in the morning light. The sun finally appears over the horizon and beams straight onto the group.
  2922.  
  2923. >You are led onto a large tour bus, getting on after the rest of the group takes their seats. The conductor is already reciting instructions on how to be have as you’re looking for a seat.
  2924.  
  2925. >But you do so many things other than listen to him, allowing your attention to be stolen by the paradise outside of the windows.
  2926.  
  2927. >Norman gestures for you to sit with him, seeing that you’re not appearing to be very attentive to the conductor when he speaks.
  2928.  
  2929. >Clumsily sitting next to him, you hear him ask you what it was the conductor was talking about, to which you respond with a shrug of your shoulders.
  2930.  
  2931. >Lost in wonder.
  2932.  
  2933. >The two of you casually speak to eachother as the bud drives the group down a few roads, moving past a few blocks of houses. These houses… all appear made of smooth stone or concrete. They’re all painted bright colors that don’t appear at all gaudy, making their presence hard to miss as you stare out of the window, just as awestruck as Norman.
  2934.  
  2935. >”Also…” The conductor speaks in your direction, getting your attention with the emphasis of mentioning your name. “I understand that Mr. Anon and his friend Norman have taken the places of Aria and Adagio as the two girls pay their visit to Kara-Kara.”
  2936.  
  2937. >Without thinking, you feed him an answer to get him to leave you alone.
  2938.  
  2939. “Uh, yes… yes we have, sir.”
  2940.  
  2941. >”I would just like to let the two of you know that I have re-arranged the placements of dormitories where you will be staying during out time here in Brothens. As Sonata had previously been assigned to stay in the same room as Adagio and Aria.” The conductor informs you.
  2942.  
  2943. >Norman glances over at you with an unsure expression. You can’t help but feel a little on edge with what the conductor is saying, feeling as though you’re a bit of an inconvenience when it comes to scheduling and planning.
  2944.  
  2945. >”Which is why I’ve assigned you two to be in your own individual dormitories to stay in while Sonata shares a room with another girl until her friends arrive.”
  2946.  
  2947. >After the conductor tells you this, it begins to make sense. You and Norman have just been switched into different rooms than Sonata because the school’s not allowed to mix boys and girls together in rooms on overnight field trips. But the only part you really pay attention to is the fact that you’re going to be staying in your own room for the summer.
  2948.  
  2949. >It’s too bad that you can’t stay focused on it for long with a new thing to look at outside of the window every minute or two.
  2950.  
  2951. >It takes around 40 minutes to get to the hotel where the band is staying. Though, it’s not like you had a problem with that, enjoying the ride over to the place a bit more than the thought of achieving the solitude you’ve always wanted.
  2952.  
  2953. >As the conductor continues to explain some set of guidelines before the group gets off, he continues to refer to the hotel rooms as dormitories.
  2954.  
  2955. >You, of course, allow every single one of his words to go enter one ear and exit the other.
  2956.  
  2957. >But the band eventually steps off of the bus, with you and Norman closely following the back of the crowd. After going inside, you each receive your keys to your rooms and are sent to wander around in the hotel.
  2958.  
  2959. >Something feels different within you… the young boy who wanted to do nothing more than relax has seen too much to ignore. These islands… they haunt his mind in the most beautiful way possible, beckoning him to set out on an adventure with exploration in his mind.
  2960.  
  2961. >Norman says something to you, but there’s no way your inattentive ears could have deciphered whatever it is he says.
  2962.  
  2963. >Now in a state of shock, you try to think of more than the islands that surround you. All of those bridges the bus went across to get to another section of the island… the long planes of sand stretching for as far as the light from the rising sun could shine.
  2964.  
  2965. >The distant mist peeking up from the edge of the horizon, masking the hazy outlines of distant ships set adrift in the now light blue face of the shallow water.
  2966.  
  2967. >Bright colors in the sky, the water and the land. They look almost unreal, as though they were a nearly psychedelic painting.
  2968.  
  2969. >And everything else that finally washes into your mind as you and Norman walk up through the long hallways of the hotel.
  2970.  
  2971. >”Dude?” Norman’s voice almost startles you.
  2972.  
  2973. “Huh… what?”
  2974.  
  2975. >”I’m going to see where the eating places are. You coming with?” He has a hint of a chuckle in his voice. You might have unknowingly embarassed yourself just now.
  2976.  
  2977. >Caught completely off guard, you throw together and answer to his question.
  2978.  
  2979. “I’m still a bit tired from the flight. I’m going to go to the hotel and just kind of stay shill for a while.”
  2980.  
  2981. >But you know why you’re not able to go anywhere. You’re more awake than you’ve ever been. On this day, you have been shown that fabled places such as this do indeed exist, and there’s no possible way you can just ignore what you’ve seen after having your mind blown by the sight of heaven.
  2982.  
  2983. >What happened to the Anon who just wanted to sit around? Why does he suddenly want to stand up and explore the world when he’s finally reached the point where he’s been trying to go?
  2984.  
  2985. >Why can’t you just want to lie down like you said a few seconds ago? Why do you have to be lying when you say that?
  2986.  
  2987. >”You sure? Because… I heard you got tons of sleep on the plane, no offense.”
  2988.  
  2989. “It’s fine. I really don’t tend to let my dreams get to me anyway, since they really don’t affect what happens in real life.” You tell him, preferring to get to your dreams instead.
  2990.  
  2991. >Brothens can be heard calling your name in your mind as the two of you reach the designated door. You continue to insist to Norman that all of the energy has left your body, and you want nothing more than to lie down in bed all day and be largely unproductive all day.
  2992.  
  2993. >It’s easy to tell him this, as you have gotten used to lying.
  2994.  
  2995. >”Alright, man. You rest up and uh… I’ll be back whenever.” Norman’s last words to you don’t ring in your head for long as you watch him walk away from the parking lot from the third floor window.
  2996.  
  2997. >You just can’t figure out what it was that came over you… confusion can bring you no answers. The urge to go out and see what’s out there is unlike you’ve felt before, along with Brothens being a place unlike anywhere you’ve been before.
  2998.  
  2999. >The option to go with Norman was in your head as well, but you can somehow tell that he wouldn’t want to go as far as you want to.
  3000.  
  3001. >Outside, the land and sea is further brightened, unveiling more of a warmer world for you to travel through. This only prompts you to not waste another second to walk out that door.
  3002.  
  3003. >You were barely in the room for a couple of minutes, not even having to unpack any luggage.
  3004.  
  3005. >A few of the band members pass by you as you leave the hotel, more of them going up to their rooms than into town. A few awkward waves later and your strolling down the sidewalk away from the hotel. Surrounding you are various townhouses, made of the same uniform stone material that you can’t remember the correct name of.
  3006.  
  3007. >Right away, your attention is drawn towards wherever you see the smooth white-sanded beaches. You walk over to the paved bridges where cars casually drive across.
  3008.  
  3009. >On the other side of the small channel of shallow water, there appear to be a few small restaurants followed by a shopping center.
  3010.  
  3011. >Before you get a chance to walk over to the places to go on the other side of the bridge, you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket. As you pull it out, you somehow expect a text from Sunset, though you don’t feel as anxious to hear what she has to say anymore.
  3012.  
  3013. >You do feel bad for her, but you’re free now. There’s no reason to revive the drama you escaped.
  3014.  
  3015. >[Hey Anon. You and Norman want to come along with Sonata and I to the city? She and I got assigned to the same room and we’re trying to form a group with as many people as we can to go do stuff downtown all day. You guys in?] Says the text from Mary.
  3016.  
  3017. >Even though Norman himself said that he’d be back at the hotel whenever, you still like the idea of hanging out in town in a group with him and Mary all day. Maybe you could get him to tag along.
  3018.  
  3019. >Find somewhere to sit down and begin to respond.
  3020.  
  3021. [Where are you? I’ve literally just started walking around, and I have no idea where anything is.]
  3022.  
  3023. >You text Norman next, right as Mary responds. You basically say to him that Mary texted you that she wanted to go hang out in town and was wondering if he wanted to come along.
  3024.  
  3025. >[At the entrance to the hotel]
  3026.  
  3027. >With a look back to where you just came from, you try to spot the two near the front doors.
  3028.  
  3029. >Neither of the girls are in sight.
  3030.  
  3031. [Which entrance? I’ll be there in about 20 minutes.]
  3032.  
  3033. >In a split second, you had decided to walk around on the other side of this bridge for a little bit before heading back to the hotel. This will give you time to get an answer from Norman as well.
  3034.  
  3035. >Beneath your feet, the thin layer of beach sand softly crunches between your sneakers and the surface of the cobblestone bridge as you step onto it.
  3036.  
  3037. >You stay to the side, not wanting to get in the way of any cars. And right as you peek over the railing, you spot a small canoe in the water.
  3038.  
  3039. >Immediately draw your attention away from the canoe. It’s not like you’re frightened by it or anything, you just don’t want to be distracted and forget where you wanted to go first. You don’t have much time to explore if you want to meet up with Mary and Sonata.
  3040.  
  3041. >”Hey.” A deep voice sounds from below.
  3042.  
  3043. >Now it’s a bit harder to ignore.
  3044.  
  3045. >Before you have a chance to get a closer look at the canoe, it drifts under the bridge you’re walking across. You see a person in the canoe before it disappears from sight. The only detail you notice about them is a notepad in their lap.
  3046.  
  3047. “Hello?” You hesitantly answer, not exactly in the mood for social interaction. You’ve already spent enough time being eaten away by paranoia. “H… hello?”
  3048.  
  3049. >There is only silence, without even the sound of anything happening under the bridge. Naturally, you decide to speed walk over to the other side of the bridge and wait for the canoe to come out on the other side. A couple of cars drive across before you’re able to go to the opposite edge. Nothing can be seen drifting out from underneath as you peer over.
  3050.  
  3051. “Is someone there?” You ask the redundant question, having clearly seen the person in the canoe.
  3052.  
  3053. >Still no answer.
  3054.  
  3055. >You feel your phone vibrate in your pocket. a text from Norman just came in, which probably means that he sent it five minutes ago or something.
  3056.  
  3057. >[You’re not tired anymore?]
  3058.  
  3059. [Not really. I was just going to see if I could sleep through the day and then meet up with the others afterward so I can be awake if we go walking around at night.] You construct the lie in your head as you type it.
  3060.  
  3061. >[Ah, good plan man.]
  3062.  
  3063. >You keep an eye on both sides of the bridge, just in case the canoe drifts out. There’s still nothing to be seen.
  3064.  
  3065. >Allowing your adventurous side to reassert itself once more, you step off of the bridge and walk around to where you can see under the structure.
  3066.  
  3067. >No one is there, not even the canoe.
  3068.  
  3069. >Another text from Norman.
  3070.  
  3071. >[So you want me to come back now? I’m not that far away.]
  3072.  
  3073. >You continuously look back at the space under the bridge where the canoe should have been. Still, it’s just empty space along the entire length of the bridge.
  3074.  
  3075. >As you start to text Norman back, you begin to look in the distance for any indication of where the person in the canoe has gone. In either direction, there are no people, and only cars driving across the bridge every minute or two. At this point, you are beginning to conclude that the whole thing was just your paranoia making you imagine things.
  3076.  
  3077. >Don’t let the thoughts come back; you’re in Brothens, now.
  3078.  
  3079. [Yeah. Mary and Sonata said they’re already at the place, so I’ll try to find them and text you then.]
  3080.  
  3081. >[alright dude, I’m heading back now]
  3082.  
  3083. >Now with the obligation to go back to the hotel, you start to walk back up to the street.
  3084.  
  3085. >Make no hesitation and begin walking back. In about five minutes or so, you’re right there at the front doors, not having walked far anyway.
  3086.  
  3087. >You go inside and walk across the giant main lobby, where you see a couple of the other band members sitting at the breakfast area. You wave to them as you pass by, having a feeling that the places you go to will have better food than that from the hotel.
  3088.  
  3089. >It’s a little irritating that you’ve had a complete change of plans within the last twenty minutes or so. You wish that you weren’t so indecisive when you become excited in the face of mystery. The best thing you can do for yourself is try to calm down and stick to one plan for the day.
  3090.  
  3091. >Whatever, you have to go in a group now anyway; you’ve confirmed it with the others.
  3092.  
  3093. >”Hi, Anon!” Sonata’s voice startles you and forces you to spin around.
  3094.  
  3095. “Oh, hey…”
  3096.  
  3097. >”We saw you walk past us. Sorry we weren’t outside of the door. Sonata wanted ice cream, and I decided to get some too while waiting for you to walk back.” Mary is standing next to Sonata, with a tall multi-flavored ice cream cone in her hand.
  3098.  
  3099. >”Where’s Norman?” Asks Sonata.
  3100.  
  3101. “He said he’s on his way.”
  3102.  
  3103. >Check your phone one last time to see if Norman has said anything back. A message from him couldn’t come quickly enough; you want to get into town as soon as possible. You want to go out there and explore.
  3104.  
  3105. >”You want some ice cream too?” Mary offers. “They have all kinds here.”
  3106.  
  3107. “Thanks, but I’m kind of saving my appetite.”
  3108.  
  3109. >”Alright.” She leans against a wall and stares out the glass doors.
  3110.  
  3111. >To be honest, you cannot sit down. Excitement inside of you can only be felt more and more as the minutes go by. You don’t show any indication of your eagerness to go places, but it is uncontrollable in your mind. Holding it in can only get harder as the three of you wait for Norman to arrive.
  3112.  
  3113. >”Ooh! Mary, can I see your flute thingy again?” Sonata squeals. “I just thought of the coolest tune I can play on it! Do you have it?”
  3114.  
  3115. >With a hesitant sigh, Mary shakes her head.
  3116.  
  3117. >”I left it in the room. Since I’m going to… use it for later.” She answers.
  3118.  
  3119. >”You can’t go get it? I just had a super cool idea for a thing I could play and I want to memorize it before I forget it.” The now restless girl pleads as she jumps up and down. “Please? Please, please pretty please?!”
  3120.  
  3121. >”The rest of the group can get their instruments if you want.” Mary explains. “Can’t you ask one of them? I don’t feel like walking all the way back up the stairs or anything. And I told you, I’m going to need it for later.”
  3122.  
  3123. >”Need it for what?”
  3124.  
  3125. >”Practicing, of course.”
  3126.  
  3127. >”But you don’t even play it in the performances, Mary! It’s not even an official instrument by the school band or anything.”
  3128.  
  3129. >”Yes I know. I’m my own personal instrument, and I just like to play it a lot, okay?”
  3130.  
  3131. >”But I wanna memorize a thing I just thought of. And the other instruments are still too hard to play!”
  3132.  
  3133. >”Some of the other kids can show you. You’ll get the hang of it after doing it for a while… it’s not that hard.”
  3134.  
  3135. >”But there’s something I need to remember now!” Sonata declares before humming a melody to herself and Mary.
  3136.  
  3137. >You sit down on a nearby bench as Sonata continues to try to convince Mary to go and get her tiny little wooden instrument from wherever their room is. It has been a few minutes now, and Norman still has yet to return. The glances over to the glass doors become more frequent.
  3138.  
  3139. >Sonata ends up humming the same melody to herself in a desperate attempt to keep it memorized. Each time she hums it, it sounds off tune and a little bit different than the last time she repeated it.
  3140.  
  3141. >At this moment, Norman appears outside of the glass doors.
  3142.  
  3143. >”Norman!” Sonata blurts out as he enters through the doors. “Can you get Mary to let me have her flute thingy so I can hear what it sounds like on an instrument? I can’t sing anymore, and I need a way to remember what I imagined in my head.”
  3144.  
  3145. >”Her… flute thing?” Norman questions, looking over at Mary.
  3146.  
  3147. >Mary returns the glance with a tilt and slight shake of her head, possibly hinting something. Norman seems to pick up on this, quickly blinking twice and hastily answering Sonata’s proposition.
  3148.  
  3149. >”Eh… sorry, but…” He starts off. “Mary needs it for practice. Not practice for the band, though. She likes to play it on her own most of the times.”
  3150.  
  3151. >”But how am I going to remember the song I’m imagining? It’s not like I can sing it right.”
  3152.  
  3153. >”Just find someone who’s not using their instrument at the moment. There’s bound to be at least a few people who aren’t practicing right now.”
  3154.  
  3155. >Every little bit of excitement is kept inside of you during the entire span of the conversation as you wait. And you wait and you wait some more. But finally, the group comes to an agreement that Sonata can play on the little wooden flute tomorrow and she only has to remember the melody for the day. You’re not sure why Mary would need to keep the flute locked away somewhere for the rest of today and tonight when it’s right here in the same building.
  3156.  
  3157. >You have stayed silent on the bench while the group talked, wanting to do so much more with the minutes that were going by.
  3158.  
  3159. >There is no reason for you to go on an adventure, nothing to accomplish or achieve. You’ve never had a reason to anything other than sit around and do nothing, like how you are now. And this is what makes you yearn to stand up, despite you not doing so.
  3160.  
  3161. >But you want to go somewhere, explore and do things you have never done before. Make your freedom worth something.
  3162.  
  3163. >The other three give you estranged looks as you walk out the doors a lot faster then they do, having been the most inactive out of the group so far.
  3164.  
  3165. >…
  3166.  
  3167. >With Mary leading the way, the group of four heads down long, winding walkways on the sides of the streets surrounded by sand, palm trees and water. Right away, you’re struck with a sense of disorientation and being lost in your surrounding.
  3168.  
  3169. >There is no easy way of telling which way is north, and whatever lies beyond this path is a kind of unknown that you cannot even begin to describe. Every new moment can hold a new surprise to your unknowing eyes and ears.
  3170.  
  3171. >And you love it.
  3172.  
  3173. >The smooth plane where the sand of the beach meets the light water of the sea holds your gaze in a tight grasp, unwilling to let go. You lock your gaze, almost too distracted to even see where you’re going. The fact that you’ve never seen any of this before is what can only make this so much better for you.
  3174.  
  3175. >This place is more boundless that you had imagined, with infinite beaches to get lost in. But wherever you go, you’ll be in absolute paradise. Never wanting to be away from wherever you are, even if where you are will never be known.
  3176.  
  3177. >You could be trapped her forever simply because you never found your way back in this prodigious group of islands. And you’ve only seen a fraction of one of the islands so far, barely having walked two mines.
  3178.  
  3179. >A terrifyingly beautiful mystery.
  3180.  
  3181. >Boardwalks prove to be common on these shores, with so many different shops and places for quaint little entertainment along the paths on which the four of you walk. Somehow, Mary knows the ropes to these paths, having a good indication of what is where.
  3182.  
  3183. >She eventually leads you along a sidewalk that heads away from the beach and into a few neighborhoods. She promises you that it’s a shortcut she normally uses to get to some big shopping center on the other side of town.
  3184.  
  3185. >With restaurants being promised as part of the destination, you and Norman gladly follow.
  3186.  
  3187. >In your pocket, you feel your phone vibrate once more from a text message. Norman doesn’t have his phone out, and neither does Mary.
  3188.  
  3189. >But not thinking for another second, you continue walking without even making the slightest attempt to reach into your pocket.
  3190.  
  3191. >At one point while on a street, you become worried that you’re all in a private neighborhood that you don’t belong in. What triggers this is the really expensive looking cars you find yourself walking by… some parked within arms length.
  3192.  
  3193. >There’s so many of them, about four or five per block. And the driveways that many of them sit on lead to unseen areas behind a series of walls and palm trees. The houses that you can barely see through the trees look big enough to easily hold a family of ten.
  3194.  
  3195. >You don’t remember passing a gate or any kind of security checkpoint.
  3196.  
  3197. >”Are… are you sure we’re supposed to be here?” Norman asks Mary.
  3198.  
  3199. >Norman suddenly asking this question relieves you, because you don’t think you’d be able to bring it up yourself. Now the four of you can turn around and get out of here before you find yourselves arrested.
  3200.  
  3201. >”It’s totally fine.” Mary assures him.
  3202.  
  3203. >”But, like, these cars are parked everywhere, in front of people’s houses. So, they obviously belong to whoever lives here.” Norman describes what he has been observing. “And the last time I saw a Ferrari 458, it was a YouTube video of a billionaire’s house with some guard dudes standing around it.”
  3204.  
  3205. >”Relax, man. People have things like this around here all the time. These kinds of neighborhoods are normal over here.”
  3206.  
  3207. >”Really?” Sonata joins in. “But… how?”
  3208.  
  3209. >”You’ll see soon enough.” Promises Mary. “It’s totally cool to walk through places here, and the next board walk is right ahead anyway. In fact, why don’t we check out the stores once we’re there?”
  3210.  
  3211. >The three of you nod in agreement and continue through the neighborhood.
  3212.  
  3213. >All the while, Sonata continuously repeats the same tune to herself, just loud enough for the other three to hear. The further you walk, the more happily she hums her tune, getting more into it and adding variations to it.
  3214.  
  3215. >After making it back onto the boardwalks, Sonata points out various shops she wants to take a look at.
  3216.  
  3217. >She temporarily leads the group to the little places and nearly swoons over whatever knick-knacks they have to offer. But there’s something about these moments that you wouldn’t have believed if you hadn’t seen for yourself.
  3218.  
  3219. >The prices.
  3220.  
  3221. >For a whole set of coloring pencils, with erasers and everything else for a typical starter’s art kit, Sonata was able to buy for literally two cents. Upon witnessing this, you take a couple of steps back, thinking this was some sort of joke.
  3222.  
  3223. >There is… absolutely no way… this is even close to realistic. Literally two cents, as in two pennies. For an entire set of colored pencils, pens, erasers, markers, highlighters and some paper to draw on.
  3224.  
  3225. >Two pennies was the price of this item. There are countless more of these in stock as you peer into the back of the shop were everything is stored.
  3226.  
  3227. >Mary smirks over at you once more as she watches your jaw drop. She was waiting for this reaction from you.
  3228.  
  3229. >Begin bumbling out what were meant to be words, unable to wrap your head around what was just happened. An extremely excited Sonata hops around in the sand, hugging the little art kit to her chest.
  3230.  
  3231. >You hear laughter come from Mary as you try to speak. The girl watches you take it all in… and at least try to comprehend that this actually just happened.
  3232.  
  3233. >”There was a reason why I asked you if you wanted some ice cream too.” Mary tells you.
  3234.  
  3235. >It all finally comes to you. You never though about why Mary would suddenly offer to buy you some ice cream back at the hotel, or why she might have suggested that you buy some. Or why she immediately decided to buy some for herself after Sonata got some-
  3236.  
  3237. >No. What you really want to know is why… or rather how… things are like this here. And Mary seems to know this, already beginning to explain everything to you.
  3238.  
  3239. >”Like I remember bringing up before, the government of this place has more money than they know what to do with. Like… literally hundreds of times more money than they know what to do with or something. And all of the businesses here are funded by them or something, and don’t need to sell things at high prices. It also has to do with having been pirates for thousands of years or something, and then some economic stuff that someone from here explained to me the last time I was here. Everything’s pretty much almost free here.”
  3240.  
  3241. >”Whoa!” Sonata exclaims. “And here I was thinking that the ice cream at the hotel was just on the house or something!”
  3242.  
  3243. >All of that money in your pocket… now that you can call it ALL of that money. Since there’s so much of it now, in terms of how much value it holds in relation to how things work around here.
  3244.  
  3245. >You forgot what the dollar amount was, but you’re more than sure that you could have yourself sustained for at least a couple of months here if everything costs only a few cents each.
  3246.  
  3247. >Sonata goes back to humming her little melody out of its original tune, but a lot more enthusiastically. It’s as though she doesn’t even care what her original idea sounded like.
  3248.  
  3249. >When the group starts to walk again, you can never walk here on these grounds the same way again. Every time your feet step on the sand coated walkway, you feel the welcoming and bountiful land of Brothens against the soles of your shoes.
  3250.  
  3251. >Simply… existing right under you. And that feeling alone multiplies that warm feeling you’ve had within you by an amount you can’t even imagine.
  3252.  
  3253. >The four of you walk on, with you and Norman occasionally glancing eachother with wide, amazed eyes.
  3254.  
  3255. >It’s going to take you a while to grasp these unbelievable things. But when you finally do, you just know you would have done a million and one things in Brothens, not having been able to resist a thing.
  3256.  
  3257. >Mary eventually leads everyone to a place that serves breakfast food all day, and you follow her inside, ready to search for any stray pennies in your wallet.
  3258.  
  3259. >But you still can’t help but wonder… what really is this city?
  3260.  
  3261. >…
  3262.  
  3263. >After every single new discovery you make about Brothens, wonder puts you further and further into a blissful trance.
  3264.  
  3265. >Norman begins to immerse into the relaxed and amazingly affordable lifestyle of Brothens, beginning to buy things for himself as well. He makes a quick trip to a nearby bank that Mary shows him the way to, and splits up a one-dollar bill from his pocket into one hundred pennies.
  3266.  
  3267. >Sonata finds herself a recorder from a music shop to play on, and begins to play her self-created melody over and over again. But it changes over the hours, becoming more and more complex through the thrill she’s been getting from seeing around town.
  3268.  
  3269. >Mary decides where everyone goes next, and keeps the group together so none of you get lost. She starts to tell stories about how she had more and more fun the longer she stayed here, having just been sitting on the beach at first.
  3270.  
  3271. >It turns out she learned how to surf during a competition, and started to do things in more and more locations after that. That’s apparently how she learned the names of each island, and did something different on each one.
  3272.  
  3273. >You already want to do the exact same things she had in order to see more of these islands, whatever else they were.
  3274.  
  3275. >In the distance, you can see the city of Brothens behind a multitude of palm trees. The first thing you expected to see, naturally from experience, is a haze of smog. But your eyes catch no such thing.
  3276.  
  3277. >There is what appears to be a light blue mist that is just barely noticeable, and it spans for the entire width of the view of the skyscrapers, which turns out to go on for longer than you first thought.
  3278.  
  3279. >Looking in the opposite direction, towards the sea, the same blue mist dominates the horizon, having gotten thicker out in the ocean.
  3280.  
  3281. >The separation between sea and sky is currently indistinguishable. You go back to looking out in the distance, both towards the city and the open sea. Awestruck by the almost painted image changing in lighting as the day goes on.
  3282.  
  3283. >Before you arrived here… you expected a place that reminded you of your idea of heaven.
  3284.  
  3285. >But what you got was a place that exceeded it.
  3286.  
  3287. >…
  3288.  
  3289. >This… this is too much. But to be perfectly frank with yourself, you asked for this. This is what you wanted, right?
  3290.  
  3291. >You willingly took possession of the ticket. You worked hard to get onto the flight to here. This was all your doing… and you’re hearing things that make you want to sit down, close your eyes and try to see if you can return back to logic in reason again.
  3292.  
  3293. >But yet, here you are.
  3294.  
  3295. >Are you ready to accept what you wished for?
  3296.  
  3297. ~
  3298.  
  3299. >Some more time goes by.
  3300.  
  3301. >As the rest of the group continues to walk through the shopping areas and boardwalks, the weight of everything you’ve discovered finally presses down on you.
  3302.  
  3303. >Despite you beginning to drag your feet as your mind gets heavier, even Norman is beginning to participate in more and more activities.
  3304.  
  3305. >Tagging along from behind the other three goes on until you remember that you felt your phone vibrate, and reach into your pocket.
  3306.  
  3307. >On your screen, you see something that send a familiar chill up your spine.
  3308.  
  3309. >[Hey Anon. I got your messages. I’m sorry I couldn’t respond until like right now, you were probably still on your flight or something. Anyway, how’s it going?]
  3310.  
  3311. >No threats to permanently change your lifestyle, no assumptions of who she thinks you actually are on the inside. There isn’t even anything relating to the drama mentioned in Sunset’s message to you, just a plain and simple explanation of why she couldn’t reach you before and a friendly hello. This can only mean that both of you must be completely out of the woods by now.
  3312.  
  3313. >Sunset has finally got it through her head that there will never be a date between the two of you. But she doesn’t want to avoid you, still wanting to talk.
  3314.  
  3315. >As Mary finished up buying Sonata herself some cotton candy, you tell them that you need to go back to the hotel. Norman’s busy doing something elsewhere.
  3316.  
  3317. >”You sure? We still have a couple hours left until the conductor calls everyone back for rollcall.” Mary informs you.
  3318.  
  3319. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just decided that I need to get some rest. That’s all.” You tell her, partially speaking the truth. “I’ll catch up with you later.”
  3320.  
  3321. >”Alrighty.” Mary says to you. “Later, then.”
  3322.  
  3323. >”Bye, Anon!” Sonata chimes with a mouthful of cotton candy as you wave goodbye while walking away. You’ll explain this to Norman later.
  3324.  
  3325. >Go back to the hotel, planning ahead on what you’re going to say to Sunset.
  3326.  
  3327. >You just might even feel like calling her.
  3328.  
  3329. >…
  3330.  
  3331. >It’s a good thing the group had gone back through the neighborhood to see what kinds of places were closer to the hotel. By the time you made the decision to go back to the hotel, you were already close enough to just follow the shoreline boardwalk all the way back to where you could see the hotel from a distance.
  3332.  
  3333. >After you begin walking along, you feel like a ten year old who is riding their bike without training wheels for the first time.
  3334.  
  3335. >The group is detached from you, leaving you with yourself to think alone with. But at least you’re in a place that is the very epiphany of paradise this time.
  3336.  
  3337. >And you’ve felt this more than anything you’ve ever felt before… until you noticed that Sunset had sent you a message.
  3338.  
  3339. >Now all that’s left is the soft sand giving way beneath your feet, occasionally wet from the sea that had washed over it. But your notion of it being in the same universe as Canterlot is realized. The town had been temporarily forgotten in your mind as you had your first experience with this city.
  3340.  
  3341. >What it took to remind you of Canterlot and your experiences there was a message from Sunset Shimmer.
  3342.  
  3343. >The hotel is finally in sight after a few more minutes of walking along the beach and thinking. Once you get back to your room, you’re going to answer the girl. You can barely imagine how wild her heart is going to go once she hears from you again.
  3344.  
  3345. >At this moment, everything else seems to go silent. You are reminded of the reality of her still existing somewhere out there. But what really seems to drown everything out is that she remembered that you existed as well.
  3346.  
  3347. >You left town, personally hoping that the drama with you, Sunset and her friends would die down with your absence. Praying that even Sunset would go quiet about it after a while as she slowly forgets about you. And also hoping that you would be doing the same.
  3348.  
  3349. >The phone is in your hand as you enter the building.
  3350.  
  3351. >It’s not like you hadn’t forgotten about her; you’ve been absolutely blown away by Brothens. But at the same time… overwhelmed.
  3352.  
  3353. >Sunset’s message reminded you that the world and people you’re used to is still out there, despite it being considerably distant at this point.
  3354.  
  3355. >You finally make it all the way back up to the hotel room in which you’re staying. The fact that you’re the only one staying in the room makes it even better, ensuring your solitude.
  3356.  
  3357. >Now on a hotel bed instead of your own, you rest the side of your head on a pillow.
  3358.  
  3359. >The room goes quiet as your thoughts do the same. The phone can still be felt in your hand.
  3360.  
  3361. >Just let everything lie motionless for a few minutes before you muster up enough energy to turn on your phone screen once more and begin typing. The blinds are closed, so it’s really hard to tell whether or not it’s starting to get dark. Though, it’s still only the middle of the afternoon… and you have no idea when the sun sets around here.
  3362.  
  3363. >It should be at some point, right?
  3364.  
  3365. [Hey, Sunset. I guess things have been going alright. I’m alone in my room, and it’s pretty quiet when no one else is around.]
  3366.  
  3367. >That’s literally the only thing you type.
  3368.  
  3369. >You can already tell how you’re going to make yourself at home during your time here, envisioning all the hours you’ll spend sitting in the same spot. Maybe the adventurous feeling will come back after you wake up again, but you’re just too lazy right now.
  3370.  
  3371. >Tomorrow, you’ll be less overwhelmed.
  3372.  
  3373. >The phone suddenly starts to vibrate on the surface of the bed.
  3374.  
  3375. >She’s… she’s calling you.
  3376.  
  3377. >If what feels like a bit of a panic, you pick up. A quick hello instinctively escapes your mouth before a few seconds of silence occurs.
  3378.  
  3379. “Uh… hello?” You repeat.
  3380.  
  3381. >[“Anon?”] Sunset’s voice sounds on the other end.
  3382.  
  3383. >You shoot up from the bed after hearing her voice. It feels as though you haven’t heard her talk for ages.
  3384.  
  3385. “Um…”
  3386.  
  3387. >[“So…”]
  3388.  
  3389. “So… I’m in Brothens now.” You bring up.
  3390.  
  3391. >Well that was pretty obvious.
  3392.  
  3393. >Right off the bat, you feel like mentioning you’re in Brothens might remind her of any possible notion that it was her you were running away from. Something close to remorse almost forces you to say something to counter this, but you decide not to panic and mess things up.
  3394.  
  3395. >Though, there’s really no reason to panic anyway. It’s just Sunset Shimmer.
  3396.  
  3397. >[“How do you like it?”] Sunset asks, starting off the bulk of the first long distance conversation you’ve had with her.
  3398.  
  3399. “It’s… freaking amazing, actually. To… to be totally honest.” You respond with an airy laugh mixed into your words. “I love it so far.”
  3400.  
  3401. >[“Great… I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.”]
  3402.  
  3403. >Did you just say something wrong?
  3404.  
  3405. >You don’t want her to think that you’re life is infinitely better without her around. What kind of message would that send across for her?
  3406.  
  3407. “I-I mean…”
  3408.  
  3409. >[“Yeah?”]
  3410.  
  3411. “It honestly would have been pretty cool if you were here. You’d love it.”
  3412.  
  3413. >[“Oh I’m sure I would.”]
  3414.  
  3415. >Just don’t make her upset.
  3416.  
  3417. “It’s true.” You follow up. “They have so much good stuff here. And you’re not going to believe it, but…”
  3418.  
  3419. >Cutting yourself off, you don’t think she’d ever believe that your pennies here are like dollars in Canterlot. Plus, that might only make her feel worse about the comparison of the two places. But it’s not like you should tell her that you’re having the absolute worst time either. Just be honest with Sunset.
  3420.  
  3421. >[“Believe what?”] She asks.
  3422.  
  3423. “Nothing… It’s just that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. You know what that feels like, right? When you know something someone doesn’t, but there’s no way they would believe you if you told them, just because it’s so bizarre?”
  3424.  
  3425. >Sunset can be heard faintly laughing on the other end.
  3426.  
  3427. >[“Heh, uh… yeah, I kinda really do know what that would feel like right about now. But I usually just kind of keep it low whenever I do, since surprises could be fun anyway.”]
  3428.  
  3429. “R-really?”
  3430.  
  3431. >Is… is there something she knows that you don’t? The way she said that feels as though she’s hinting something.
  3432.  
  3433. >Is Sunset following you here? Did she send one of her friends onto a plane over to here to talk some “sense” into you while she stays in Canterlot and pretend to have no idea? Could-
  3434.  
  3435. >No. Forget about it. No more paranoia. No more wondering. You absolutely need to keep your mouth shut so she doesn’t think you’re being suspicious anymore.
  3436.  
  3437. >There’s no reason to ruin this.
  3438.  
  3439. >[“Haha, yup. I… I guess.”] Sunset answers after a pause. [“So…”]
  3440.  
  3441. “You sure you’re alright?”
  3442.  
  3443. >[“What?”]
  3444.  
  3445. “Are you sure that you’re going to be alright?”
  3446.  
  3447. >[“Why are you asking that? Of course I’m alright. I’m fine.”]
  3448.  
  3449. “Oh, okay. I just…”
  3450.  
  3451. >[“You guess what?”] Sunset giggles.
  3452.  
  3453. “I just kinda felt bad.”
  3454.  
  3455. >[“Oh, it’s fine! You don’t have to feel bad about anything!”] Sunset insists as you lean back onto the pillow. [“You needed space… and I understand that. I’m glad to know that you’re showing concern for me, though. So that’s good.”]
  3456.  
  3457. >This time, you do not answer her right away. You just can’t find the right words to say to her anymore.
  3458.  
  3459. >No matter what, you cannot stop feeling as though you said something wrong. Or at least implied it through reminding Sunset that you ran away all the way to Brothens just to be away from Canterlot. A quick image of Sunset sitting on her bed in her room appears in your head for the briefest second. Just seeing her there waiting for you to respond almost makes you feel guilty.
  3460.  
  3461. >And that’s a feeling you want to eliminate, especially when you’re in a place like this. A place like Brothens.
  3462.  
  3463. >[“Hello?”]
  3464.  
  3465. “Oh, I’m still here.” You tell her, now speaking a little bit more loudly.
  3466.  
  3467. >{“Oh, alright.”]
  3468.  
  3469. “Well, thanks. I’m glad to know that we can finally move on from all of that stuff that happened before.”
  3470.  
  3471. >[“Yeah. It’s great that we can move on. You and I both.”]
  3472.  
  3473. >The past you would have never expected to hear Sunset Shimmer say this. What with all of the times she had followed you around in Canterlot, just dying to spill her feelings out for you. She was absolutely lovestruck. And the fact that you kept saying no was nowhere near enough to shake her off, given how hooked she was.
  3474.  
  3475. >You truly did earn that title of being “The Heartbreaker”, didn’t you?
  3476.  
  3477. >Part of you is ashamed of what you did, solely based on the fact that it was largely unreasonable. But that notion quickly dies down once your paranoia turned out to be justified.
  3478.  
  3479. >Whatever. It’s time to stop thinking about these things. Like Sunset said… it’s time to move on.
  3480.  
  3481. “So…”
  3482.  
  3483. >[“Um…”]
  3484.  
  3485. “To be honest, I’m actually kinda tired. Been up for a while, and might need to go to sleep for the first time off of the plane.”
  3486.  
  3487. >[“That sounds comfy. But… why’d you call, then?”] Sunset curiously asks.
  3488.  
  3489. “Just wanted to say hi really quick, I guess.”
  3490.  
  3491. >[“Aww, thanks! You’re such a good friend.”]
  3492.  
  3493. >You pause for a couple of seconds, rapidly blinking.
  3494.  
  3495. “Huh?”
  3496.  
  3497. >[“A good friend. You’re a good friend, Anon.”]
  3498.  
  3499. >…
  3500.  
  3501. >A good friend.
  3502.  
  3503. “Um… alright. You’re welcome, Sunset.”
  3504.  
  3505. >[“Anyway. I don’t want to keep you up. So you go ahead and rest up. Okay?”]
  3506.  
  3507. “Okay.” You hesitantly respond. “We’ll talk again tomorrow, then.”
  3508.  
  3509. >[“Yup.”]
  3510.  
  3511. “Goodnight, Sunset.”
  3512.  
  3513. >[“Night, Anon. Have wonderful dreams.”]
  3514.  
  3515. >And just like that, the two of you hang up.
  3516.  
  3517. >You set the phone down onto the nightstand beside the bed, open the blinds so the sunlight can shine in, and then roll onto your back.
  3518.  
  3519. >As the daylight fades over the following hours, you stare at the blank ceiling with one final thought in your mind.
  3520.  
  3521. >What have you done?
  3522.  
  3523. ~
  3524.  
  3525. Continued: http://pastebin.com/ngNLvENu
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