Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes!
IC date: Summer 47, 1008
OOC date: August 6, 2013
Location: Portside and Carrot Corner
PCs: Steady-Binding Willow-Grove
NPCs: Sunny Delight

Steady-Binding is sitting at the end of the pier, his tail curled around his side, gazing out at the ocean. A pair of waxed canvas saddlebags lie beside him.

For once, FOR ONCE, the weather is nice and warm this summer, and yet Portside is rather quiet. Perhaps it's got something to do with the extremely technicolor crowd far and away in the distance, gathered out in the farmlands. But who cares? Right now, Willow-Grove is just soaking in the weather as much as she can. The white pegasus mare looks a little worse for wear: the orangey flowers in her flowing green mane are drooping, and her wings trail open just a little, and she has dark circles under her eyes. But she spies the lone figure on the pier, and she trots his way curiously. "Hello!" she greets hopefully. "I don't think I know you."

Steady-Binding , distracted, fails to hear the approaching hoofsteps. The sudden greeting startles him noticeably - his ears turn back, his back goes up, and one of his hooves slip off the pier. He turns his head, and looks bashfully back at the pegasus. "Oh… ah, hello."

Willow smiles warmly and sits down on the edge of the pier beside him. "Sorry! Didn't mean to startle you. I'm Willow-Grove. Who are you? Are you new in town?" As he watches, the flowers in her hair seem to perk up and brighten, unfurling toward the sun. Peculiar, for a pegasus able to do that.

Steady-Binding glances up at the flowers - is that normal? He has no idea. He smiles at the sky-pony, and scootches back a bit from the edge - perhaps a bit nervous about that spill he almost had? He says quietly, "Ah, yeah, I am. I'm Steady Binding. I just got her from…" He coughs nervously. "I just got here. Hoping to find some work."

"Oh! I think there are a few places in town looking for work. I'm still kind of new here, myself. I've only been here about a season but I've not really managed to integrate myself well, I fear." Willow looks down, a little bashful at that. "Oh, but I'm Willow-Grove. Pleased to meet you, Steady!"

Steady-Binding rubs his leg nervously, then glances at the saddlebags. He leans over and pulls them toward him with his teeth. He sits up straight again, and says, "I'm glad to meet you too, Willow-Grove. Do, ah, do you know if anypony's looking for a bookbinder?"

"You should check the library," suggest Willow with a smile. "They have a lot of old books and the seaside weather isn't kind to them. Perhaps they'll need your talents! If not them, umm… I think there's a museum nearby, but I think it's in one of the seapony cities. That's probably not what you're going for."

Steady-Binding blinks, then blinks a few more times. "Wait. You know.. I mean.. er.." He ducks his head for a moment, and tries to figure out how to word it. "There are.. actually seapony cities? That you know about?"

"Oh yes," Willow-Grove smiles. "Mind, I'm a little more … umm." She considers how to word her own delicate phrasing. "Metropolitan than most," she decides on, "but I hear tell there was quite the seapony kerfuffle that went on here recently. A big to-do, as one might say."

Steady-Binding looks away at the ocean - in the vague direction of the Starlight Kingdom. With a distant voice, he says, "I did not hear about that…" He quickly shakes his head, and turns back to the sky-pony. "Anyway, ah, I do know what this salt-air can do to books."

"Yes, it was quite exciting, I hear. Enormous storm spire, great evil, trips to the seapony kingdom… I wasn't in town but it sounded exciting." Willow smiles softly. "So what brings you to the harbor, anyway? Is it simply job seeking or a change of pace, or something else entirely?"

Steady-Binding says, "I guess it's both, really." He pulls the saddlebags further back on the pier, then noses his way under them. "I mean, I lost my job, and… I dunno. Tired of the same old small town. I wanted to try something different."

"Oh how dreadful!" Willow frowns. "I, myself, came here for…a change of pace, I suppose. I travel a lot, you see; six months at home and six months out in the world. And I choose different locales. Horseshoe Harbor has certainly been the most, mmm, colorful? Yes, colorful destination."

Steady-Binding takes a moment to secure the saddlebags in place, then sits back down again. He smiles, and says, "Well, I'm glad we both chose, ah… Horseshoe Harbor, then? You're quite a nice pony, and I'm glad to have met you."

"Me too! You seem very nice, Steady Binding," Willow smiles. "I'm … I guess I'll have to go again soon though. Summer's almost over and it'll be time to go home." The mare looks a little disappointed and maybe a little upset, before she musters a sweet smile again. "But, that's okay. It's been nice getting to travel."

"Ah.." Steady tilts his head. "If I may ask, Willow-Grove…? It seems like you don't want to go back home. Why do you have to? Ah, if it's alright to ask."

"Oh, I'm actually looking forward to going home and seeing my sweetheart," smiles Willow, "but it's a very long story. Truthfully… Truthfully, there are some problems at home that need to be addressed and I'm not entirely sure I'm capable— but I'm sure I'll think of something." She glances at the ocean, and then back to Steady. "I'm sorry, this is extremely morose! Do you like cupcakes? Perhaps we should get some cupcakes instead of talking about this silly stuff."

Steady-Binding perks up, but sort of vaguely. "Well then, let's go and get some, ah… cup cakes!" He gets to his hooves once again, then looks away, embarrassed. "I don't have any actual money, y'know.."

"That's okay! I have plenty." Willow lifts the pouch from around her neck with her teeth, and roots around, pulling out a mouthful (teethful?) of bits, only some of which are local. In fact, it seems her money is quite eclectic in there. "Now, what's your favorite flavor of cupcake?" she inquires cheerfully as she trots toward the bakery.

Steady-Binding looks at the bits with academic interest. If some of them are local, well, he wouldn't know. When she goes, though, he follows, rather bewildered. "I, ah, don't know? What are.. I mean, what ones do you like?"

"Oh, I like all sorts, honestly. Mmm, perhaps the pomegranate cupcakes, with the cream cheese frosting? It's a weakness of mine." Willow beams and holds open the door for Steady as they reach Carrot Corner. "Oooh, or the lavender ones! I quite like those."

Steady-Binding nods his silent gratitude to Willow as he steps inside. He steps aside to let her in, and stops where he is, looking around curiously at the decor. His nostrils flare as he takes in the scents of the place.

The place is pretty clean, and it smells… well, it smells like a bakery, honestly. One might think it smells loads better than the docs, but one might also be a seapony and thus have a different opinion. "Here we are!" Willow says cheerfully, approaching the display, where dozens of flavors are there, sparkling and sugary behind the glass.

Steady-Binding approaches the display in something of an attitude that looks an awful lot like reverence. He lowers his head, and gazes in wonderment at the spread of confectionery. His tail sways slowly.
If you didn't know better, you'd swear this pony had never seen cupcakes before.

Willow stands by cheerfully, wings fluttering as the pointed orange flowers in her hair seem to blossom and unfurl further. In fact, standing as close as he is, he can feel a particular warmth to the air around her, like a soft, warm breeze close to her person. It's very strange, and maybe a little disconcerting. She points out an orange-red cupcake piled high with sugary frosting and topped with a sugar flower not unlike the ones in her mane. "There, that's the one I like," she offers. "You should definitely try it. Or! We could get a dozen and cut them into little pieces and try a bunch of them."

"I, ah." Steady swallows, and shakes himself. He turns his head and looks up at Willow uncertainly. "I… think I'll try just the one? For now? That one," he glances at the glass again, "the one you said."

"Just the one, okay," Willow chuckles, and she turns to Sunny-Delight, the brightly colored mare behind the counter. "Could we please have two pomegranate cupcakes please?" she inquires hopefully. Sunny nods politely and picks up a long-handled pair of tongs in her teeth, carefully transferring the goods to a plate. "Here you are. That'll be eight bits, please."

Money transferred, confectionarey acquired, Willow leads Steady to a table and sets both plates down. "Okay. Here you go. I do hope you like sweet things; it /is/ rather sweet."

Steady-Binding gives the counter-mare a brief, nervous glance - he knows he's probably putting on quite a show, but, town like this, she probably sees all types. He follows Willow to the table.

He offers a puzzled look to a stool by the table, and just sits down on the floor. He rests his chin on the edge of the table, and gazes at the cupcakes. "Well," he says distantly, "they sure do smell good.."

Behind them Sunny starts rubbing down the glass with a rag, where they had been touching it. She's staring at Willow a little, as the pegasus uses her hooves to break her cupcake apart into edible chunks. "I assure you, they /are/ good," grins Willow, as she takes a small bite. "Mmm, extra good today! Well done, Sunny!" She waves back at the baker's mare with a frosting covered hoof; Sunny cringes a little, and waves back.

Steady is far too distracted by the awesome presence of CUPCAKES to notice that, for some strange reason, Sunny finds the sky-pony stranger than he is. He watches what Willow does with her hooves, and then, carefully, mimics it on the other cupcake. He takes a piece into his mouth, and then takes a sharp breath, his eyes widening. He starts to chew slowly.

Willow pops another piece in her mouth, and smiles as Steady's expression changes. "Good, right?" she asks, licking some frosting off her hoof. (Sunny cringes further. Her hoof twitches. Please don't get frosting on the table.)
Steady-Binding swallows, and licks his lips. "Willow-Grove," he whispers, looking up at her, "these 'cup cakes' are amazing."

Willow grins, apparently pleased. "Aren't they?" she beams. "Should I go buy some more so you can try other kinds too?" Perhaps she's picked up on his total newness to cupcakes … or perhaps she just wants to show off Carrot Corner's baking skills.

Steady-Binding nods, quite slowly, his eyes on the cupcake once again. "…Yes," he whispers, "I think I'd like to try some more." He sits up, taking his chin off the table, and leans in to snap up another bite.

Willow giggles a little. "I'll be right back then." She hops off her stool and pauses, as she realizes he's seated on the floor. "…You should use the stool, Steady; it might be more comfortable." With that, she trots to the counter. "Sunny," she asks, "could we have—mmf!"

That's the sound of Sunny's gloved hoof plonking against Willow's mouth. "No, nope, no. NOT A WORD. Don't move. Don't say a thing." The baker rushes out from behind her counter, rag in mouth, and starts to clean up Willow's admittedly frosting-y hoofsteps, and then even her hooves. And then even her mouth. And then the counter, and one more go at the glass case, just in case. Only when everything is spotless does Sunny retreat behind her counter and stare at Willow challengingly. "Okay. … What would you like?"

Steady-Binding blisses out for a bit, on his second bite of cupcake. After he's swallowed that, he peers at the stool curiously. He nudges it with a hoof.

The stool decidedly does not bite him. This is a good sign.

Willow returns with a box, this time, and a knife, and an admonishment from the maybe extra-super-OCD baker pony. Inside the box is an array of sugary colors. "Okay! We've got many here…. Lemon, lavender, chocolate, vanilla, chocolate-vanilla, strawberry-chocolate, cherry, peanut butter, salted caramel, key lime, rumbutter, and lychee."

The stool is forgotten. Steady-Binding leans in close, and gazes into the box of cupcakes. His eyes look like they might be starting to water.

Willow just smiles, and starts to cut the cupcakes into quarters. "Don't fall apart on me now," she smiles at Steady. "Have you been, umm…what's the way to say this. Sweets-deprived?"

Steady sniffs longingly at the cupcakes as Willow cuts them. "They don't have these where I'm from," he whispers.

"Well. Now you're here," grins Willow, "and they have them here any time you want them." She starts putting pieces on Steady's plate. "And they're /delicious/. To be honest, it's hard to come by good cupcakes where I'm from either. At least not /this/ good."

Steady collects himself a bit, and smiles at Willow. "Well.. I'll need to get a job, first. I won't always have a wonderfully generous mare here to provide for me." He sniffs at the pieces, and samples the lavender flavor. "Mmmmn.."

"That's true! A job would be helpful. I really think the library would be a good place." Willow takes another piece of cupcake, herself. "But if you're ever in need of cupcakes, you can feel free to find me. I'm always happy to share sweets with friends."

Steady savors the mouthful of cupcake for a while, chewing slowly before he swallows. "Well.. until you have to go home again. I hope.. ah, I hope we'll meet again after that. Here, or.." He shrugs. Then he smiles. "But until then.. thank you."

"Maybe next time I'll come back here again," Willow grins. "I've never really put down roots before… In any case, you're welcome. It's always nice to meet new friends."