Setting Note: While the story in its entirety takes place over years and decades in the lives of Carrot Cake and Cup Cake (or, Cupcake), the primary story, namely the construction of the gingerbread house, is set during a specific day in the series. In this story the construction of the gingerbread house by the Cakes takes place on "Hearth's Warming Eve" before Pinkie Pie gets on the train to Canterlot. It is assumed for the purposes of this story that this was many, many months before the events of "Baby Cakes", during the period when the Cakes themselves and we in the fandom thought them to be forever childless. Happily, we were wrong!
"A Sweet Taste of Cake"
Inspired by the image Artist Training Grounds Day 22 by Egophiliac. Used with permission.
Written by The Descendant
Chapter 1: The Dance
Since the frosting seemed to be ready, Cup Cake used the confectioner's tube to test it by gently placing a large white dollop across the nose of her husband.
Carrot's eyes crossed. He looked first at the frosting and then turned to her with a smile. As she tilted her head, her own smile grew and answered his. With a little giggle, she went off to fetch more components of their unfolding creation.
The sweet smell of gingerbread drifted around the kitchen of Sugar Cube Corner. The gingerbread came closer to being ready, the heat of the oven falling over them, draping its warmth and the soft smell of what sat within around the happy pair.
The gingerbread house had been a special order. They had begun working on it as the day had broke. The two went about purposefully, determined that they would complete this work together, that the two of them would bring it to fruition.
Carrot prepared the board, laying the wax paper across it evenly so that it lay taut. He quietly surveyed it, his eyes focusing past the little mound of frosting as he inspected his work.
Happy with his efforts, he surveyed the tools: the bowls, the spoons, and the measuring cups. All seemed ready for the crafting of the gingerbread house… all was in order.
He closed his eyes. It was Hearth's Warming Eve and he listened to Cup Cake as she hummed a holiday tune. He felt the warmth of the oven shifting in unseen waves as she began to pull the trays from within.
As they waited for the pieces to cool on the baking rack, they cut off any slight imperfections by slowly sawing away any speck of bubbled surface that blemished the gingerbread.
With that, all that remained was to wait.
She moved beside him and rubbed against the length of his body before nuzzling beneath his chin.
"Ba da, da dummm dumm…"
Her humming brought his eyes down to hers, a remembrance growing in him as she did. She tossed her head, motioned towards the grouping of the largest and flattest of the pieces… ones that resembled a dance floor.
"… da dumm, dummm da dumm," she continued as she pressed against him, beginning to sway gently. He joined her in the rhythm as a memory of a day now long past swept across the two of them in time.
"Ohhh, don't look now Ive, but you've got your first request for a dance comin' down this way!"
The other young mare stifled a giggle and lifted her head from her little drink. With cautious eyes and a toss of her grey mane, she let her gaze flit from behind her glasses. She saw the colt awkwardly making his way towards them, bouncing off of dancers and waiting for other revelers to pass as he did. She smiled a bit and turned to her companion.
"I do believe you are mistaken Cuppy, dear," she said, lowering her head and whispering into the ear of her friend. "It's the Cake colt. He's had his eyes on you since we trotted in here."
Cupcake blanched and spun her head around in exactly the same way she had just warned Ivory not to.
There was a moment of panic as her eyes accidentally met the green ones of the colt. He blushed sheepishly as he waited for more dancers to part before him. Her head went to the table, the mare using one hoof to shield her from view.
"But, but… that-that can't be Ive!" Cupcake exclaimed as she startled.
"And why not?"
"Because you always get asked to dance first! I, ohhh… I hardly ever get asked, and when I do it's just colts who know my father…"
"Well," said Ivory happily, looking over the top of her glasses at all the ponies assembled within the dancehall, "That's one streak that ends here rather soon."
"Oh, but Ive, what should I say?" pleaded Cupcake.
"My suggestion would be 'yes'. Oh, hello Carrot! How are you this evening?"
"Oh, ummm, hello Miss…" he began, stretching his long neck forward and down, attempting to answer her, the gangly colt looking small as he did.
"None of that, Carrot!" she answered with a smile. "We aren't at father's mill. Please, just call me Ivory. Have you met my dear friend Cupcake?"
The colt's eyes lifted immediately, meeting the gaze he had sought all night. She spun to look at him, an uncertainty lying across her own face as she looked to the colt.
He stared down to her, trying to speak but instead getting caught in her eyes…
…her beautiful rose-colored eyes. He swam in them for an instant before finding his words.
"Oh, yes. Oh, umm, I mean no… actually. I mean I have seen her, you, Miss Cupcake, but I-I haven't had the chance… You see I've want-wanted to introduce…"
"Just ask her to dance already, Carrot!" interrupted Ivory as she leaned in to take a sip of her drink.
Both looked to the sipping mare and then quickly back to each other again. Cupcake found herself staring upon a colt who was obviously growing more and more nervous as the moments passed.
"Would-would you… care to dance?" he finally asked, swallowing his nerves.
Cupcake looked to Ivory. The mare arched an eyebrow at her. She remembered the earlier advice, and she breathed a "yes" before putting her hoof in his.
Ivory smirked to herself as the two ponies went off, watching Carrot do his best to clear the crowd so that they could pass. She usually hated being here on Fridays… it was always so crowded.
Then again, that is why she had demanded to come.
She knew that today was the day that Carrot came, hoping to hide in the crowd.
That, of course, was why she had badgered Cuppy into accompanying her.
They were just barely visible among the throng of ponies, but she smiled to herself as she watched the couple begin an awkward little dance.
She giggled softly, took another sip, and looked around to the many sets of eyes that were all nodding and smiling at her.
It was not the most graceful dance that the old hall had ever seen. Only the conversation was more awkward. Cupcake winced inwardly each time that the weak-jawed colt tried to speak, expecting each statement to be the one that would betray his interest in her father's businesses… thinking that the next few words would be the ones that revealed him to be just like all of the other colts.
The old dance floor groaned beneath the weight of the couples. Cupcake laughed a bit inwardly as this colt, Carrot, tried to simultaneously lead them around the floor and avoid the other dancers. As he tried to engage her in conversation, he would suddenly look rather perturbed and turn to apologize to a blushing mare or scowling colt. He would then ask her where they had been going with the conversation as he blushed.
She found herself smiling as he both tried to focus on her and quickly stammer through apologies.
As he quickly went through the last of what she recognized were obviously practiced questions, Cupcake realized that he had only been asking about her… that he was only really interested in her.
Her sympathy rose for the gangly colt as he sighed, "This… umm, this isn't going too well…"
"No, no it isn't," she answered over the music and the hum of the crowd. To her alarm he seemed to deflate. "But," she continued, running her hoof along his foreleg, much to her own surprise and his, "please, don't stop trying."
Carrot's ears came up. He lifted his head and looked to the open windows of the dancehall. Beyond them the lanterns that hung from the eaves of the porch bobbed in pools of light, holding back the gathering dusk.
"Miss Cupcake, would…" he stuttered. He took another breath and apologized to another couple that spun away before he had finished speaking. "Do you think we could go out onto the porch?"
"Oh, I thought you'd never ask!" she giggled. Cupcake tucked in beside him as he used his frame to slice between couples in the crowd.
At her table Ivory watched them fight out through the doors on the far side of the hall, the ones nearest the bandstand. "Well," she thought with a single chuckle, "that certainly took long enough!"
The flickering lights in the lanterns competed with the flash of the lightning bugs in the grass beyond the dancehall. As Carrot and Cupcake moved from the glow of one lantern to the next, they looked for an open spot along the railing. Soon they had found one. They sat there looking out past Ponyville to the fields of grass beyond where the insects appeared as pinpricks of light that erupted and flowed with wobbling trails.
"Oh, I should have asked if you'd like a drink!" he said, putting his hoof across his eyes.
"Oh, no, I'm alright," she said, looking down, running her hoof across a splinter. The old dancehall had seen better days; perhaps it did not have much time left despite its popularity.
She realized that he had gone quiet. The colt was simply looking at her and blushing. She thought about that for a moment and then returned the smile. He had used up all of his prepared questions… he was out of things to say, he did not know how to go on. All of his carefully practiced words had been spent back out there on the crowded, noisy dance floor.
Yet he still sat there blushing, still looking at her with a small dopey smile.
"Thank you, thank you for the dance. I-I've really wanted to talk with you, ever since I saw you walking with Miss Ivory at the mill," he began.
"Oh, yes. I saw ya' peekin' at me that one time, and the other time," she answered, her voice showing that she was glad that he had found something they could discuss.
"Oh! You, you did?" he said with some surprise. "I wasn't, I mean… I didn't mean to stare, but…"
She smiled, moved a bit closer to him, sat beside him as the little pools of lantern light fell over them.
"No, it's fine… thank, thank you," she said softly, "I never get asked to dance all that much. Ive always gets asked first and I hafta to just sit there, don'tcha know. All the pretty mares get asked before I do, the ones who aren't as… round."
"You aren't that round," he said.
At once the colt bolted in place, shock washing over him. With a sigh he lowered his head onto the railing of the porch, resting it there as she looked at him with subtle disappointment.
"I shoulda' said 'You aren't round!', that's what I was supposed to say, right?" spoke Carrot turning his head slightly and looking at her with one eye. "This isn't going very well…"
She gave a little laugh. She slowly rested her head on the railing as well, turning it so that she peered at him with a small smile.
He looked ridiculous, slowly banging his head on the old weatherworn railing that rattled and shook with each strike. But… he had wanted to talk with her, dance with her, even if just for a little while. Was just interested in meeting her… just her.
"Well, no… it isn't, but," she said softly, "please, don't stop trying."
Carrot ceased his self-deprecation and waited for the sawdust to stop falling from the ancient railings before slowly turning his head. She was leaning upon it too, her face being revealed as he tilted slowly towards her. There was a soft expression over her face, and her perfect rose-colored eyes caught his as she sat in the lantern light.
The porch was mostly deserted now. The other couples who had been crowding it had either broken up in disappointment or, for those whom the evening was progressing much more pleasantly, had made for the field of tall grass and woods just beyond.
The music of the dance hall began again, the sound drifting over them through the opened windows.
"Ba da, da dummm dumm…" began the music once more, floating out to where they stood besides the railing.
She lifted her foreleg, waving it towards him just a little bit. He lifted himself, gathered up her offered hoof and led her to the open space besides the windows.
"… da dumm, dummm da dumm," continued the song as they began their dance once more. Together they swayed back and forth as the tune fell over them, as they moved from pool of light to pool of light that the lanterns cast over the long porch.
She moved her eyes from his, touching her cheek to his for just an instant before laying her head across his withers. With that they danced their dance for a good long while as fireflies flashed among the tall grass and in the woods beyond.
Being Quarry means that since the day you were old enough to say your name, you have known it has two meanings.
Being Quarry means feeling your strength, knowing where to pull resources from, how to accomplish things. It means being resourceful, strong and forceful like the very rock of the world's foundation.
Being Quarry also means feeling pursued, hunted. It means feeling, knowing, that they are always trying to take everything from you.
Being Quarry means having to be strong, proud, and if need be, brutal.
The walls of the gingerbread house lifted easily from the wax paper.
Carefully, delicately, the two ponies removed each piece from the paper, letting each large portion slide daintily upon the drying rack.
Cup Cake looked the largest sections over, glancing up to her husband as he nodded at each piece approvingly. She giggled quietly to herself as he turned away, noting that the large bit of frosting still clung to his nose, that it still stood starkly where she had laid it as the project had begun.
He readied himself before the board, wordlessly taking up the familiar spot he had occupied every time they had worked on a project of this type. With that the two began a familiar dance, one they had practiced time and time again, and yet each time new and wonderful.
He held the first two pieces of gingerbread in place, held the one that would become a wall to the foundation.
Slowly Cup Cake drew the confectioner's tube along the inside seam, leaving a trail of perfectly even frosting to bind the pieces of gingerbread together.
With practiced hooves they followed these steps, attaching each new component, laying this firm foundation that the gingerbread house depended upon.
Finally, after long, cautious, and wordless moments they had completed the foundation. To Carrot's surprise she finished the last seam by stepping into his outstretched forelegs as he held the two halves together. As the frosting emptied from the tube, the last line was completed. She stepped back into his chest, resting there as both waited to see if it would stand on its own.
As she moved into his embrace, he lifted his head so that the dollop of frosting on his nose would not catch in her mane. He carefully lowered his head again, laying his cheek to hers as they watched, waited, and hoped that what they had built could stand long enough to become one solid piece.
In their thoughts the two raced back to a time when things had not been so certain, when they too were just starting to make a foundation.
"You don't need to keep peeking around corners, Cuppy," said Ivory, flipping through some papers on the desk, "I promise you he's here, we'll go in a minute. Look, that's his name on the timesheet."
Cupcake stopped peering skittishly up and down the mill floor from the office door and looked instead to the large board that hung on the wall.
She followed the long list of names until her eyes settled on his. "Carrot Cake" it read in small and rather plain script.
She looked at the little name for a lingering moment.
"Oh, Ive, do you think he'll ask me-ask me to…" Cupcake said, turning within the office. Ivory slowly moved from stack of papers to stack of papers, lifting them seemingly at random and giving each one an introspective hum.
"I don't see why not! He was quite taken with you Friday. As a matter of fact I don't see why he hadn't asked you then," she spoke, setting the paper down.
"I honestly don't know why," Ivory said, looking almost puzzled, "I can't say why he hadn't asked you then…"
Cupcake had only barely heard Ivory's puzzlement. She had already returned to the door and was staring up and down the long reaches of the mill.
"Oh, Ive! What am I gonna do if he doesn't ask me?" she asked in a worried tone.
"Well, then you shall have to be the one to ask him!" replied the other mare as she watched Cupcake steal long looks outside the door.
Cupcake turned again, the mare almost looking surprised. "Is-is it okay to do that?" she asked in an earnest tone. "I mean, I don't think…oh, Ive, help me! You've done this so many more times than I have!"
Ivory arched an eyebrow and raised one of her forelegs.
"Oh, I don't mean it that way! You know I don't!" called Cupcake as she trotted back on quick hooves to where her oldest friend stood. She nuzzled Ivory's chin, drawing the mare's head up to her withers. As she did Cupcake spoke in a high, almost worried tone.
"Ive, I don't know why I'm like this! I've been thinking about him all weekend!" she said, still resting her head on the withers of the other mare. "He just wanted to talk with me, had been trying to since he first saw me! He didn't care that I'm a little round, don'tcha know? Me, Ive, not talk about father or his business… just me! Oh, Ive, why do I feel this way?"
Ivory laughed a small laugh and laid her head deeper against Cupcake's.
"You honestly don't know, do you? You honestly don't. Oh, Cuppy, you have no idea how dear you are," Ivory said in a quiet tone as she let her friend rest upon her for a moment longer.
Cupcake lifted her head, and looked at Ivory as though she wanted to ask a question. Before she could speak, Ivory had already gathered up her hoof and was leading her out the door.
With a small gasp Cupcake entered the mill floor. As they went, slight traces of stray flour fell through shafts of light that came in through the windows.
High above in the bagging rooms, great belts turned the wheels that drove the mechanizations of the mill. As the great waterwheel turned the waters of the river into power to drive the machines, it cast cyclical shadows into the high, hot places of the mill.
In one such place a colt struggled, cursing to himself as a bag of flour he was supposed to be tending fell to the floor.
He knew enough not to put the spilt flour back in the bag. As still more flour came pouring out of the grindstones, he fought to figure out what to do with what had fallen out of the large sack. He kicked at it and tried to clear it away. All that accomplished was to make the flour rise up in a cloud that stained his legs white.
Carrot sighed as the floor supervisor, Trammel, caught sight of him and began trotting towards his stall.
"I'm sorry Trammel, it just got away from me," said Carrot, gathering the broom into the space beneath his shoulder and along his foreleg, sweeping as much of the flour as he could into the sill.
"Carrot, lad, this is your second missed bag his morning," spoke the larger earth pony. "You're mostly more keen than that. Are you well?"
"No… I mean, yes! Oh, no, no I-I don't mean I'm sick or anything but, but…" began Carrot, taking a deep sigh, trying his best to keep the new bag in the filling position even as he cleared the old one away. "I met a mare Friday, at the old dance hall, and all weekend I've been-been…"
Trammel arched an eyebrow and smiled slightly as a blissful expression fell over the face of the colt.
"I've been thinking about her all weekend," he said softly as he looked up to Trammel. "You've met her, actually. Well, seen her. She's Miss Ivory's friend, Miss Cupcake. You know, the mare who's here with her from time to time…"
Trammel took a few steps back, called out in a singsong tone down the line of bagging stalls.
"Hello, what's this? Fellows, it turns out our Carrot Cake likes the round ones!" announced the stallion.
Laughter came from nearby bagging stalls, rising even over the sounds of the belts and wheels. Soon nearby colts were shouting out their own opinions.
"Hey, Soap Suds! What you look for in a mare?"
"Breathing works, I ain't picky!"
Trammel's smile dropped as he turned back and saw Carrot staring at the floor.
"She's-she's not that round," said Carrot. The colt raised his head to the newly filled bag of flour and lifted it to the constantly turning belt of bins. With that, it was first raised up and over the wheel and then far down into the mill below.
"Sorry, Carrot, lad," said Trammel as he cleared away the last of the spilt flour. "Didn't mean anything by it. Did you ask her for a date?"
There was a thud. Trammel looked up to see the weak-jawed colt banging his head against the inside of the stall. "No, but I wanted to! I just froze up! I can't believe it! I froze up!"
Carrot banged his head against the stall once more and then turned back to his bag.
"All I could do as Miss Ivory came to take her home was say 'Good Night' over and over like an idiot! I-I'm sure she liked dancing with me… I, I think she liked being with me," Carrot said, his voice getting stronger as he spoke. "She's so beautiful, but that's not even half of it! She was so understanding, and when things went wrong she was calm and certain… forgiving..."
Carrot turned to the older pony, looked for advice.
"Trammel, what am I going to do? I don't know why I feel this way; I've never felt this way for a mare before…" he asked the older pony. Carrot saw something of panic shoot through the eyes of his supervisor as the question drifted among the clouds of flour.
"Appears as though you've chance to explore those feelings, lad! Here comes the big fish's daughter, and she's got your fair damsel with her!" he said as Trammel raced off to make sure his floor was spic and span.
"Oh Celestia!" cried Carrot, darting back within his bagging stall. As he heard the hooves of Ivory and Cupcake draw closer, he ran his forelegs through his hair to straighten it. As he realized that he had just streaked flour through his mane, he yelled at himself. He beat his body against the stall to shake loose whatever flour he could and then turned to his bag and attempted to look as though he had not heard them coming.
His eyes went wide as he realized that this bag too was nearly full and was only seconds from tipping over. He quickly pushed in the clutch, pulled out the old bag, and placed a new one beneath the grindstone's outlet. As he released the clutch flour once more poured into his stall. With some practiced effort, he lifted the large bag into the constantly circling containers and watched it first travel up and then down past the wheel into the mill below.
He turned around just in time to see the tails of Cupcake and Ivory pass by, having missed him completely while his back was turned to them.
He sank against the stall wall with a disgusted sound. Why couldn't it be easy?
Ivory smiled as they crossed the floor, nodding and greeting her father's employees.
Cupcake's head however was on a swivel, the mare looking left and right, searching the bagging floor as they went. As they came upon the bagging stalls, she heard Ivory's name called over the sound of the grindstones. Seeing that it was the supervisor who had called for them, they trotted to where he awaited.
"Good morning, Trammel!" spoke Ivory.
"Good morning Miss Script! And a good morning to you too, Miss Cupcake!"
Cupcake smiled to him and replied, happy that the supervisor had somehow remembered her name. He looked at her knowingly, a sly smile that she could not quite place sitting upon his face.
"Miss Cupcake!" she heard her name called over the sounds of the belts.
"Miss Cupcake!" it came again, competing with the wheels.
She looked around, up and down the mill floor, at once both anxious and eager. She had thought it had come from the bagging stalls yet, when she looked that way, there was only ever a flash of movement.
Cupcake spun and looked up the length of the mill in the other direction. Had it been an illusion? No sooner had she done so that her name came ringing out again from the stalls. She spun in time to miss it once more.
Ivory giggled to herself. Even as she continued to speak with Trammel, she lifted her left rearhoof and planted it firmly against Cupcake's posterior. With slightly more than a gentle nudge, she sent her friend cantering down the line of bagging stalls.
Trammel looked to Ivory with a meaningful smirk. Ivory tossed her head in a gesture to follow, and soon they were watching the scene as it unfolded.
Cupcake cautiously crept along the stalls, poking her head into each slightly. As she came to the last one in line, she poked her head within…
Carrot turned from the bag again, upset at having to call out to her in such an ungentle way, having to shout over the belts. "Miss Cu…" he began, turning to the opening of the stall…
With that their noses met.
For a long moment they stood there, nose to nose, green eyes cast down into the pool of rose colored ones. The two held their gaze for what seemed like a perfect eternity.
With that, flour began pouring out of Carrot's bag.
"Oh!" cried Cupcake, noticing the rising white cloud. "I'm sorry!"
Carrot turned to face the unfolding disaster. He caught the bag just in time, trying to go through the motions while still speaking to her.
"No, it's fine!" he said, pressing the clutch with one hoof while trying to adjust the bag to close it. "It's fine, really!"
As he tried to place a new bag on the siphon he turned to try to speak with her again. His hoof came off the clutch just long enough for a single poof of flour to shower his forelegs.
"Oh dear! I didn't mean…"
"Really, it's okay I was just trying to…"
"No! Yes! I mean… thank you!" he said as she slipped a new one across the spigot. As she did, he lifted the bag up to the containers, giving a little groan as he did so from an unfamiliar position, leaving room for her within the stall.
"I-I was hoping you'd be around today…"
"I had a great time at the…"
"Clutch… wait, I mean I'm glad!"
The two continued this stuttering conversation. Soon stifled giggles arose around them.
"You're no help, Ive!" called Cupcake, giving a disapproving glance. "You're no help at all!"
"Hello, you two! I do believe we charge for double occupancy! I say, did you remember to sign in on the timesheet before starting today, Miss Cupcake?" asked Trammel with a small laugh of his own.
"Here," spoke Cupcake, touching her hoof to Carrot's foreleg, instantly capturing his attention, "let's do it this way, okay?"
Soon she had worked out a system, Carrot marveling at her decisiveness. Shortly they were able to work and speak with each other at the same time.
"What I was trying to say, is that, I-I really had a great time dancing," she said as she depressed the clutch, scooting a filled bag closer to the moving containers.
"I-I'm so glad," Carrot replied, removing the filled bag and placing a new one beneath the siphon. He then lifted the filled bag she had just placed before the containers. "I was really hoping you did," he said as he blushed.
"Well, yes, and… and well, I did…" she replied.
For a moment they worked silently. Ivory closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Carrot did as well and turned to face the mare that stood near him.
"I was wondering, Miss Cupcake," he began, "maybe if you'd like to…"
"Yes?" she answered questioningly.
"Really?" he replied enthusiastically.
"I-I'm sorry? What…" she began, taking her hoof of the clutch in confusion. In an instant their newfound regimen broke down and flour once more flowed out of the spigot.
As Ivory and Trammel laughed, Carrot attempted to place a new bag while moving the full one to the containers, the colt simultaneously holding in the clutch in a display of aerobic prowess.
This left lifting the large bag the only useful thing that Cupcake could do. She attempted to heft the large, heavy sack into the hopper, giving a cry as she missed it by fractions of an inch. Her rear hooves danced as she stood upon them, missing a second hopper as well, and with that she began to topple.
"I've got you!" Carrot called, seeing what was about to happen.
At once his forelegs came up around her. His body lifted around her. His hooves slid across the length of her forelegs from behind, pushing the bag higher and leaving her wrapped inside his legs.
For Cupcake that moment grew, drifted around her.
As his forelegs met hers, as his frame encompassed her, the sensation of being in contact with him flashed through her. To her it was as though they were dancing again, and all of the wonderful feelings they had shared rose up in her once more.
She did not know why, but as he held the bag above them, she surrendered her hold on it. She willfully leaned back against his chest, settled there, let her head lay there. It felt somehow… welcoming, inviting.
She gave a small gasp of realization, finally in that instant realizing why he had been in her head over those last few days.
As she gave her gasp, it drove through him like the soft call of doves. At once the feel of her upon his chest filled him, and he went stark still.
Gravity was unimpressed by the touching scene that was playing out and simply pulled on a string of causality. With that, the bag of flour toppled over them.
Ivory's hoof had gone to her mouth in alarm, but as the flour cleared, it revealed two figures unharmed by the accident. Her alarm gave way to a cheerful expression as she saw how closely the two figures stood, covered together from forehead to hoof in a perfect coating of white.
Cupcake felt Carrot's foreleg lift from her eyes. As he did, she realized he had placed them there at the last instant, keeping her safe from harm.
She turned and looked up to him. The entirety of the weak-jawed colt was covered in flour. As Trammel pulled the safety, it ended the cascade of flour pouring from the spigot. Cupcake smiled and lifted her hoof to his face.
Carrot felt Cupcake's hoof drawing across him, swam in her soft touch as she removed the flour from over his eyes. Soon he heard her say, "They're, they're clear now." He blinked, and soon green eyes once more met rose colored ones.
"Miss Cupcake," he said as he blinked, his smile glowing through the flour, "I-I would like to see you again. Can-can I, please, have a date?"
"Oh, I'd love to," she said, placing her hoof alongside his as they sat looking to one another, as little puffs of white rose around them, "I'd love to. How about this Saturday?"
"Errr, ummm, yes, sure, yes!" he said, his awkwardness returning. "Meet you at the gazebo?"
"Oh, yes, that sounds wonderful," she answered as she blushed brightly, the hue visible through her new coat of white.
Around them the flour swirled and for a long while their eyes lay upon one another.
As Ivory led Cupcake off to get cleaned up, she could not help but notice how well the two matched up, arrayed together as they were in white. "Saturday... " said Cupcake, looking back to where he stood, "... at the gazebo. Noon, righty?"
"Righty," he answered. She trotted away with a giggle as a beaming Ivory followed, leaving pools of flour across the floor in her wake.
After a moment Carrot stepped forward. He found her hoofprint left behind in the flour. He could not know why, but he felt himself selecting the most perfect one. An odd sensation floated over him, and before he had even contemplated the act, he had pressed his hoof into the flour beside it.
The two prints stood there together in the thin sheet of flour, side by side, and within him something sang happily.
"Go home, lad," spoke Trammel. "You're coming down with somethin', and you're no good to me at the moment."
"I-I'm sorry. Am I ill?" replied Carrot. "I don't feel sick. I feel great, actually."
"I should say so," replied Trammel as he cleared the flour from the stall. "That's one of the symptoms lovesickness, you know."
Carrot looked back to the stallion as insight grew on his face. At once his eyes fell back upon the two perfect hoofprints as his face lit with enlightenment.
"I'm falling in love," he called, his features brightening. "Oh Celestia, I'm falling in love!"