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SirAizen

Planning Between Party Ponies (Closed: Foxxy)

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Standing atop of one of the many green, rolling hills that made up the area of land surrounding Ponyville, a lanky, fedora - sporting, poncho - garbed stallion could just barely be made out by anypony that might have happened to be looking in that particular direction at the time. It was just about to make a joke to his rubber chicken buddy, Boneless Two (one that involved tumbleweeds, shouting, and a cream pie - don’t ask), but thought better of it. The stallion, the one-and-only Cheese Sandwich, sighed in annoyance and boredom, and began pacing, as he had been doing for some time now. Cheese had arrived at Ponyville early, a little after most of the townsfolk had woken up. He had been stalling for a few hours now, just along the outskirts of the little town, reluctant to do what he’d come here to do. This was embarrassing. . . Where did he start?

Well, Cheese was in a bit of a doozy. This particular doozy was one that Cheese hadn’t been expecting, and wasn’t prepared for in the slightest (a true insult to anybody as sporadic as he was). It was a doozy regarding a certain party. This party was something that Cheese had known would eventually happen, as it did every year - yet he was no more prepared for it than a balloon being prepared for a popping, or somepony’s face being prepared for a sudden pie. “Oh, wait. Scratch that,” Cheese muttered to himself. He’d already made a pie joke earlier. The curly - haired stallion struggled to focus. The problem was this: He was here at Ponyville on account of a birthday. Not just anyone’s, either - this pair of ponies was by far the most difficult case Cheese had ever worked on. This year, he was drawing blanks on how to plan a party for them. Nothing seemed right. At least, not for Cheese.

The stallion paused for a moment, glancing back at Boneless Two, who lay on his back. “This was a mistake,” he murmured. “Party ponies don’t ask other party ponies how to plan parties.” Especially not the particular mare Cheese had come to see. Pinkie Pie was great - one of the most awesome, energetic, and interesting ponies Cheese had ever had the pleasure of interacting with, if not the most awesome, most energetic, most - well, you know. Cheese had secretly been fanboying in his mind one of the more recent times he'd met with her. So, naturally, it was a horrible embarrassment to have to ask her for help planning a party. Not that he couldn't learn a thing or two from her - any newer, ambitious Party Pony should look to Pinkie for advice. Just not Cheese. He had many reasons, the biggest being that he expected that Pinkie might think less of him for running to her for something that was not her problem. Cheese also couldn't deny that his pride would have been dented, having to get pointers in general, from anyone.

Cheese continued to stare at Boneless Two for a response. It was silent. "What do you mean, 'incompetent'? I'm not 'incompetent' at planning parties! I'm. . . capable, I guess."

The chicken was silent.

Cheese huffed. "Well, maybe if a certain someone wasn't such an open pessimist, then I wouldn't be whining!"

The chicken was silent. It's head lolled to one side, but was otherwise motionless.

"You're the one that convinced me to come all the way out here, and you decide to complain now? Boneless One was never like this."

Silence.

Cheese sighed. "Sorry, buddy. My bad. I'm just a little stressed out is all. I just. . ." The lanky stallion bit his lower lip. "You know how this time of year can be. For them, I mean. I just wish planning a party for them wasn't so gosh - darn difficult all the time. . ." Boneless Two was, again, silent. With another poorly hidden sigh, Cheese took a seat in the grass, staring out at Ponyville, and beyond. Maybe he'd just sit out here a bit longer - better not to talk with Pinkie with a headache. . . The stallion just wished that something would happen. Anything to take his mind off of his problems. He chuckled weakly. Pinkie would have been perfect for that. Too bad she was the one Cheese was currently avoiding. . .

 

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"Hee hee!!" Pinkie squealed with delight as she floated along. "Isn't this great Gummy?" She cocked her head to get a peek at the gator that was clinging to the poof that she called her mane. 

 

The gator in question blinked his eyes in succession. His mouth opened slowly and then snapped shut once. 

 

"Yep! I just knew you'd love ballooning as much as I do!" She twirled her tail for a moment, directing their flight towards the outskirts of Ponyville. "You can see pretty much everything from up here!" Something caught her eye on a hilltop in the distance. "Pretty much everything and every pony!" The party planning wonder reached behind where dozens of balloons were tied about her middle to get at the small backpack she was wearing. She produced a spy glass.

 

"I wonder who'd be waaaaay out there?" She pondered while snapping the copper and glass instrument open. She squinted her eye and peered through. "Ahhh!" She sucked in a breath and her tail twirled in the direction of the lone pony. "Cheeeeese!!"

 

"I can't believe he's back in town already! It seems like I was just visiting him at the factory the other day and now he's here!" Pinkie loved spending time with her party planning friend. It was just too perfect that he'd roamed into town today!

 

The breeze combined with the tail twirling had her directly overhead in no time! "Hey there Cheese! Hi Boneless 2!" She grinned hugely as she untied a couple balloons. Enough that her weight brought her down lower. "I didn't think I'd get to see you again so soon!" She spoke while floating in the air above him. Gummy took the opportunity to crawl from Pinkie's mane to make a small leap onto Cheese's back alongside Boneless 2.

 

 

 

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The plan was working out well at first. Cheese Sandwich had taken the time during his little pause into Ponyville to sit down and enjoy a game of cards with Boneless Two. Little things like that put him at ease sometimes. Sure, so did planning parties, but Cheese wanted to take a little break from that for the moment. Besides, the game was fun. Too bad Cheese had no idea what they were playing. One turn they were playing Solitaire. The next, Go Fish. Cheese and Boneless Two were doing something akin to Slap Jack when he thought he heard something. The stallion glanced up at his rubber chicken in question. "You say something?" The chicken was quiet. Cheese simply nodded in understanding. His eyes then narrowed, and he raised his cards closer to his face. "Hey, no peeking, now." He paused. "I think. What were we playing again?"

Before Boneless Two could respond, Cheese heard the voice again. Only, this time, there was no mistaking where it came from. The. . . sky? And they were calling his name? Cheese turned his gaze skyward, shading his eyes as he searched for the source. From where he was, the stallion could make out somebody floating towards them on a mish-mash of colored balloons. A pink somebody. It took only a moment for Cheese to put two and two together, and, before he could stop himself, take a deep breath and shout back, "Heeeeyyy Pinkieeeee!!" It took a few more seconds before he realized what he'd done, and covered his mouth with his hooves. What was he doing? He was supposed to have a little more time. There was no use complaining, as Pinkie was booking it over to him now.

Surely enough, Pinkie was soon overhead, and Cheese could see that she had a passenger as well, a little gator. . . Gummy, wasn't it? Cheese had a difficult time remembering, as he was distracted by the large amount of balloons Pinkie had, and his own nerves. The stallion took a deep breath, and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he was back in his act, the cheerful, zany, Cheese Sandwich. "Heya, Pink, Gummy! Fancy meeting you out here. . . So early! I'd planned on sneaking into town for a surprise showing. Busted!" Cheese shrugged, trying to think of a plausible excuse for being back so soon. "I, um. I was just passing by, y'know?" No, that didn't sound right. "I mean - I -" The stallion took of his fedora, just in time for Gummy to drop down onto his back with Boneless Two. He jumped a little, eyes wide for a second. "Gator!" Cheese yelped, before getting a hold on his nerves again. He berated himself. Act natural. "S-Sorry, I, uh -" Cheese paused for a second, then glanced back at Boneless Two. "Now, you play nice with Gummy!" The chicken remained silent, slumping over to one side slightly. Cheese turned back to Pinkie, grinning. "Boneless Two gets a bit iffy these days. Nothing we can't work through, though! Now. . ."

At this point, Cheese would have opened up to Pinkie about any issues he was currently having. It was best not to stall it out. Still, Cheese felt that little bit of uncertainty from before, stronger this time. Perhaps he could draw things out a bit longer, then. Pinkie made it so easy, too. . . "What's happening with you? It isn't often I see a pony flying about on balloons! It's usually balloon, singular." An idea formed in Cheese's head, causing him to smile. "Come to think of it, I don't think I've done something like that yet! Incorporating enough balloons into a party to make everything float! I gotta write that down sometime." Cheese put on his best announcer's voice, and whipped an airline captain's hat out of his bag of partying supplies, dropping it on his curly hair. "Cheese Airlines: Getting you to and from your ultimate destination with pizzazz!" For effect, Cheese tossed a bunch of confetti into the air, some flecks landing in his mane. Where he got it from? Who knows?

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Pinkie laughed as he spoke of airlines and floating parties and all manner of things only a party pony could truly understand! 

 

"Hee hee!" She giggled some more. "Oh Cheese you always know how to take things to the next level!" She glanced at her balloons. "And speaking of levels, this is Gummy's first time doing the town survey by balloon!" She reached down and patted the little gator as she blinked at Boneless 2. "He loves it don't you?" Gummy snapped his jaws at nothing in particular.

 

She loosed a couple more balloons and questioned Cheese before landing. "Should I keep these around for you to try? Balloon flight is the best!" She tied the extra balloons to the nearby tree and floated to the grass. She was lighter and springier than even with a bunch of balloon still tied about her middle but she was on the ground for the moment.  "Yep, I try to go around at least every couple of days to see if there's anypony that needs a good cheering up! From up there," She pointed to the sky. "I can see a pony in need of a laugh for miiiiiles around!"

 

She blew a spare piece of confetti off her nose and continued on. "So today I spotted you but you're not in need of a laugh are you? I mean you've got laughs to share and still some to spare!" She was wondering what he was coming to Ponyville for. "Did you come back because you had to have one more of my famous jalapeno strawberry cupcakes? That's it right? Or maybe the the watermelon bubblegum ones?"

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“Well, it’s necessary! Who doesn’t like a next-level party?” Cheese instantly cringed at his choice of words. He knew a certain couple that didn’t. . . Still, it was irrelevant at the moment. The stallion took another look back at Gummy and Boneless Two, a little less on edge with the bright green reptile now. Still, he was a tiny bit tense. Sure, it was a completely tame gator, but, then again. . . they just sat there. Staring into your soul. . . Unless they were turned another way. Sure, Boneless Two liked to give people that treatment, but Boneless Two was just a chicken! It was complicated. . . 
 

Cheese nodded eagerly at the idea of trying out flying with the balloons later on. It sounded like immense fun - and would probably get his mind off of things. “Yep, yep! Sounds like a plan to me! Could use a bit of floating around from time to time - it really widens your perspective, both literally and physically.” Cheese cocked his head to the side. “Well, I guess not so much for the winged folk, but still. Wingless ponies like you and me finally get our chance to be flying aces! Maybe flying novices. Or just flyers. I once failed a flying test I didn’t even sign up for, y’know that?” The stallion decided to put the brakes on his comedy routine before he forgot what he’d come here to do. Just ask her the question, even if it’s sort of improper. No harm, no foul. Normally, Cheese could get behind that kind of logic.
 

Today, though. . .
 

Cheese shook his head at Pinkie’s assumption. “Nah, nah. I think I’d still have some to spare if I gave it all to the rest of Equestria - which I plan on doing, as a matter of fact! Too bad Boneless Two is a pessimist. . .” Cheese turned to give the rubber chicken a look. “We’re getting there. The whole world’s gonna know our names, you just wait! Imagine it; ‘Cheese and Boneless, Entertainment Extraordinaires’!” Pause. Cheese shuffled his hooves a bit. “Y-Y’know, if you don’t do it first.” Despite everything Cheese knew about Pinkie, he wasn’t sure what her endgame was. Cheese was already moving on before the pause got too long. Comedic pauses could be lengthy - social ones could not. “Aaaanywho! I was sorta wondering a few things, and came to you for, um, some. . . Cupcakes.”  The stallion blinked. No, no, that wasn’t what he’d been trying to say! Pinkie just put cupcakes on his mind, and. . . Oh well. Anything to stall a little longer. “Oh - yeah, the cupcakes! Those were the bomb, I tell ya - In fact, why not have some now?” Yeah, instead of avoiding the problem, Cheese? Great idea! “‘Cos after that, I had to ask for a favor. Just a teensy-weensy one, I don’t wanna keep you for too long!”

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Pinkie couldn't help but grin at the prospect of sharing some of her famous cupcakes with the party stallion. Her grin was even bigger and backed up with  slight blush with the knowledge that he'd come back to Ponyville to ask a favor of her! What is Equestria could he need from her? Well whatever it was Ponk was sure she'd be willing to oblige! How could she say no? He was a good friend and she well... another stronger blush that she worked to have quickly dissipate appeared on her cheeks. Nope she wasn't going to broach those thoughts on her feelings again. It just always got her in a awkward state that she really didn't want to be in around Cheese.

 

"Ooooh!" She plucked her little gator from his back and set him in her mane. "You hear that Gummers?" She patted the gator's head as he blinked his eyes one at a time. "Cheese wants to share some of my delicious cupcakes!" Then her brows raised. "But I don't have any more with me since we ate the last five during the flight!" 

 

The pink party pony smiled at Cheese. "You want to trot back to Sugarcube Corner with me? There's tons of cupcakes there and I can even whip up a fresh batch if we don't have the flavor you want!"

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Cheese sighed in thinly veiled relief. Maybe he had just been trying to stall by asking about the cupcakes. Still, he really liked the crazy pastries Pinkie thought up and made. That, and it always made Cheese feel good making others happy, especially if it was Pinkie. Maybe she didn’t think the same way, as she was pals with the Mane Six, but Cheese considered her his best friend. There were other feelings in there, but Cheese wasn’t entirely sure how to address them. He had no past experience with anything beyond friends, so he wasn’t entirely sure what the thoughts and feelings were. He’d have to ask Pinkie what she thought at some point in time. It would be enlightening, at the very least. The stallion grinned, nodding. “Yeperoo, ma'am! For you, I’ve always got time.” Cheese glanced back at Boneless Two. “And Boneless Two does as well, right?” There was a bit of force in that last ‘right’. Boneless didn’t move, but Cheese nodded like everything was in order. “Thought so,” he murmured. 
 

The stallion walked a little closer to Pinkie, glancing at the balloons. “Did ya plan on taking to the skies to get there? I’d be all for it, but I don’t think that’s enough to support my weight as well as Boneless’s.” Cheese leaned in close, whispering, “Not to insult him or anything, but Boneless Two isn’t exactly the pinnacle of health. He’s a bit of a, ah. . . heavyweight, y’know?” Cheese giggled a little, his curly hair waving a bit. “Shall we head off?”

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Pinkie couldn't help but giggle as Cheese revealed the ugly truth about Boneless 2. "Hee hee!" She leaned in close and whispered in his ear. "I caught a certain gator polishing off a dozen cupcakes yesterday morning! He thought I didn't notice." She glanced up at the gator, totally aware that he could hear her. "But, it doesn't ever show on your hips does it buddy?" Gummy's tongue whipped out and ran slowly over his eye in response. 

 

"Wellll," She began in response to his inquiry about balloon travel. "There's not enough to float us completely but..." She reached over and tied half a dozen balloons around his waist as quick as you could blink! "These will make the trip more fun!" She tied the rest of the balloons around her own middle and then bounced! The balloons certainly gave her bounce more lift than normal and she floated gently back down to the grass. "You can bounce, or trot, or whatever you'd like!" 

 

After that she was off, bouncing and floating towards the town. As she went she mulled over her thoughts about her friend. She was super happy he'd come back to town. Funny enough the happy she felt was different than the kind she usually got. It was a mix of butterflies and giggles, and it made her heart beat faster when she thought about it. She shook her head! She couldn't get carried away! Sure she'd felt that way a couple of times in the past but it was different with Cheese. She'd have to talk to him about it later.

 

Soon enough Sugarcube Corner was in view. She bounced onto the porch and tied her balloons on the railing. "Here we are!" She exclaimed, watching to see how Cheese would make his entrance. 

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Cheese wiped his forehead in feigned worry. "Oh, boy. We shouldn't leave these two together for too long - they might cause a dessert shortage." He chuckled. If Boneless Two was offended, it (obviously) didn't show. Cheese cocked his head as he waited for Pinkie's solution to the balloon problem, not noticing the balloons now tied around his waist for a second afterwards. He blinked, then shook his head. "What in -" He didn't even finish asking. Pinkie operated on her own rules. Sometimes, those rules make her do strange things. Like moving incredibly fast. Cheese had learned a long time ago not to question it. Why would he? Pinkie's talent for randomness was just another thing he liked about her. "Oh-ho, this looks awesome!" He nodded in agreement, hopping a few times to test his bounciness. The slight feeling of weightlessness made his stomach flutter a bit. "Oh, boy. . ." 

Cheese followed closely behind Pinkie as they hopped off to Sugarcube Corner, performing a few stunts as he went. First was a midair spin. Man, Pinkie's ideas are the best! The stallion grinned, but the expression soon faded into a somewhat annoyed look. Why can't I have fun ideas like that? Cheese continued to do more maneuvers as he thought. A backwards hop. Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time now. My style of partying isn't flexible. A cartwheel. Those folks never liked what I did, anyway. Too bad I can't do a 'normal' party for them. Not my style. A dancer's twirl, using Boneless Two as his partner. I gotta find another angle. Maybe if I do something completely and utterly insane, they'll crack? A slow bunny hop. . . . I wonder if they'd like Pinkie.

When the two finally arrived at Sugarcube Corner, Cheese finished with a stumble and a fall, having been distracted by his thoughts and skidding on the ground too far. Not that a fall like that could keep the party pony down, of course! Cheese popped his head up, which was now slightly dusty, and ruffled. "I meant to do that," he said quickly, before Pinkie could question him. His face flushed for a second. Normally, he would have intentionally done something like that. Heck, even if it was unintentional, he would have just laughed it off. Right then, though, Cheese felt oddly embarrassed that Pinkie had seen his mishap. Strange, he thought. He didn't usually care much about what others thought about him. "Oh - um, well, we're here, it seems!" Cheese untied his balloons as well, tying them near Pinkie's. "T-Time for cupcakes, then! Say, if you're cooking, did ya mind if I helped? I think I've gotten the hang of it - It's been almost a week since I made a cake explode, so it should be fine!"

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Pinkie giggled as Cheese came in for his landing. "Perfect landing!" She proclaimed, holding up a big judging sign with a 10 printed on it. 

 

"OOoooooo!" She squealed with delight at the offer to help with the baking. "I'd absolutely love to have some baking help! Gummy and I can usually handle it on our own buuuut, he might need a little nap after all this excitement." She glanced up at the gator who had fallen fast asleep in her mane. She patted him lightly. "You can just stay right there and nap away buddy!"

 

She felt super proud of her kitchen and double proud to show it to somepony as special to her as Cheese Sandwich. She hadn't really ever told him that she thought he might be her very best friend. Maybe she'd do that at some point when it felt right. But right now it felt like... 

 

"Time to bake some cupcakes!"

 

She turned into a pink blur as she gathered the regulars for cupcake mixes. "Flour, butter, sugar, eggs, baking soda, milk!" Zoom, zoom zoom! All of those things clattered to a rest on the large counter in front of them.

 

"So!" She eyed him mischievously. "Any ideas for what flavors these bad boys should be?" 

 

Pinkie was always full of excitement, her heart always beat like a hummingbird's but, something felt well, different when she was with Cheese. Like her heart could hardly handle anymore when he was around her. This was so much fun!! What a perfect day and she hadn't planned it at all which made it that much more special!

 

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Cheese managed to gather up enough wit to give a little bow, an uncharacterisically embarrassed smile on his face for a few moments. At least she hadn't made fun of him about it. Or, at least he thought so. The stallion had hurried inside before she could say anything else. Inside Sugarcube Corner, Cheese slapped himself in the face a couple times, regaining his former springy, joking attitude. "Alright, Cheese. Enough nonsense. Get your game - face on, stat," He murmured, staring at his reflection on a nearby polished mug. Boneless Two shifted slightly from the movement. Cheese snorted as if the rubber chicken had mad ea slightly offensive comment. "What's with that look? My game face isnt that bad."

 

The rubber chicken tilted it's head slightly. Cheese appeared flustered - and angry. "Am not! Pinkie's just making me nervous." He paused. "I mean, from a professional perspective. Nothing important." Cheese looked away, frowning. "Why are you always so difficult? It's just party nerves. Nothing special."

 

The chicken was still for moment. Then, with canny comedic timing, Boneless Two pitched forward and faceplanted on Cheese's back. The stallion let out an exasperated sigh. "It isn't funny! Why don't you go on and talk to her, then, huh? Maybe you -"  He was cut off by Pinkie entering the building. He immediately jumped, knocking the mug he'd been looking into towards the floor. He caught it by the handle with his teeth just in time. "Tha' wah closhe," He murmured through his teeth, before setting the mug down. He gave Pinkie a smile as if nothing was wrong. "Shall we begin?" he asked, beckoning to the back of the building.

 

Cheese put a hoof to his chin while he thought about what flavor to make the cupcakes. Pinkie had made cupcakes with spicy peppers before, so that was a no-go. Perhaps something sugar-crazy, like a marshmallow vanilla double-chocolate -coated crunch, with rainbow sprinkles. It seemed like a lot for just a cupcake, though. Not to mention, overused. There was no way Pinkie hadn't done that before. Boneless Two made no movement, but Cheese turned his head to give him a look of disbelief. "Chocolate? Just chocolate? What are we, savages? You can do better than that." He took a couple steps towards the center of the room, past Pinkie, thinking. "Perhaps. . . Perhaps we could start with a batch of your Jalapeno Strawberry first, then go from there? I wanted one of those anyway. Then, perhaps, we could create a Cotton Candy-Whipped Cream-Double Latte Deluxe batch, because I'm feelin' tired from traveling all night to get here." Cheese snorted, then hopped onto a table. "We can create it - we have the technology!" The second batch of cupcakes was a joke, but Pinkie could take it however she pleased. In fact, she had the ability to created it as well. Cheese was in love with how she could pull anything off.

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Once Pinkie had 'zoomed' ingredients into a bowl the mare had to admit she felt better! Her heart was still beating like craaaazy, but some of that was from her rapid movement and the rest well, if Cheese was causing it at least she had lots of other stuffs to keep her mind well away from that box. She wasn't afraid of the box. She wouldn't be timid when the time came to talk about it, it was just that now was not that time. She doubted he'd come back into town to talk about whatever these feelings were. She didn't even know if he felt the same way sooooo she wasn't going to go there. The ponk wanted to help her best friend, not distract him with whatever it was that was going on with her wacky ticker!

 

When Cheese mentioned one of her classics, the mare smiled big. "OOOOoooo! Jalapeno strawberry!" She glanced about, noting ingredients. "Yeppers, we can certainly start with some of those!" 

 

A knife block was resting next to a cutting board not far from them and Ponk pointed to pint with a hoof. "If you want to start choppin' up the strawberries and jalapenos I'll go down to the cellar and find some strawberry jam!" She whisked a basket and strawberries and a few of the green hot peppers to the counter. "Now, don't touch you eyes or face once you've cut jalapenos Cheese!" She shuddered. "I learned that lesson the hard way once!"

 

She was gone for a few seconds and then back with a big jar of gooey red goodness. "Yum!" She exclaimed while prying off the lid from the jar. "How's that chopping going?"

 

Pinkie busied herself for a few moments and then asked. "So, ummmm," She pondered for a moment. "What did you want to ask me about?"

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"Alrighty then, cool beans!" Cheese grinned, stepping over to the cutting board and winking at Pinkie. "Don't worry - I know how to cut Jalapenos. I learned it in a movie once." Despite his joking tone, Cheese proved to be quite a quick chopper of peppers. While Pinkie was away, he shredded pepper after pepper with the quickness of a professional cook. Well, of course: Cheese was a professional cook. How else could you be a uper Duper Party Pony? You couldn't just make sandwiches and and expect everything to be gung ho. "Man, this is easy. I could do it with my eyes closed, I swear!" Cheese might've acted foolish frequently, but he wasn't that crazy. He was finished with the peppers by the time Pinkie came back with the jam. "All good! I think we're done with prep on the filling - we'll just need the actual 'cup' of the cupcake now. Where's the batter?"

 

Cheese busied himself as well, prepping a bowl, flour, eggs, and milk to create the cake batter that would be used for the cupcakes. He made sure to make a giant serving of it, just so that they'd have enough left over for when they made more batches of cupcakes. Cheese had just gotten the juvenile idea to prank Pinkie with some flour when she asked the question he'd been dreading. Uh oh. He turned around as smoothly as possible, putting on his best 'casual' look. "Oh - question? I, uh. . ." What was he asking again? About the party planning, right. . . Cheese still wasn't sure if he wanted to tell her about that. He'd just been betting on the fact that inkie might forget about his question entirely. Too bad she was a good friend that took the problems of others into consideration. . . By all means, that was good and dandy. Just not now. The stallion cleared his throat. "Hmm. I was going to ask, if, well. . ."

 

There was a choice to be made here. Cheese could take this one of two ways: he could ask Pinkie to help with his own personal problems regarding a certain party, risking potential embarrassment, or he could ask her about the whole 'friendship' thing, potentially risking even more embarrassment. Either way, he was likely going to end up making a fool of himself. At least if he messed up with one, the other would seem tame in comparison. Cheese took a breath, cleard his mind. "I was just wondering if. . . About an idea of mine" So it was that, then. More stalling. Cheese braced himself. "I wanted to know if you could. . . help me. Later on." Cheese shook his head rapidly. "I-It's not too important, though! You don't have to help if you don't want to - I'm sure I can handle myself. After all, it's just a single thing." Cheese was half-hoping that Pinkie had some sort of meeting or something she had to get to instead. That way, she wouldn't have to think too much about what he'd say later on. He'd be admitting that his ideas weren't working for a certain party, and asking her for assistance. They were rivals! Well, at least Cheese assumed so. He wasn't sure what Pinkie thought. Still. . . "But, it's your choice. It's not that big a deal I'll, um, talk about it later, if you want. We've still got cupcakes to do, ha." Cheese cracked the eggs on the edge of the counter, and dropped the yolks into the bowl, before pouring the milk and flour in. The thoughts of potential embarrassment faded away as Cheese read the back of the flour bag. "Huh. I thought this was instant mix. Welp. Hope you enjoy sitting back and waiting on cupcakes! This'll take a bit after the blending and all."

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"OOooooooooo!" Pinkie smiled and leaned in closer to Cheese. "Sure Cheesy! Of course I can help you with whatever you need!" She was super excited at the prospect of getting to spend some more time with the party stallion. She hadn't seen him since her visit to his factory and the thought of him leaving town again just made her feel kinda empty inside. So, the prospect of helping with who knows what was intriguing and of course she'd do it!

 

"Yeah, the strawberry jalapeno ones don't come out as good with the instant mix! But that's ok!" She whipped a plate of a variety of cupcakes from behind her back and trotted towards a table. "We can snack on these while we wait and you can tell me what you need help with!"

 

Was it just her or did Cheese seem pretty embarrassed to ask her to help? She didn't want to think that maybe he didn't really need her help but felt like he had to ask, or that she'd somehow pressured him into asking for help or...nah! That couldn't be true. Cheese was like her best friend which she of course knew he knew right? And she felt all springy and butterfly-ie around him. Gosh she pretty much thought she like liked him! She knew she like liked him!

 

"Eeep!" A squeak escaped her muzzle as she went to sit. Like like thoughts made her blush and she figured she was blushing now! Maybe he wouldn't notice. Nope, he would! "Ummmm, Gummy!" Yeah, good cover. "Gummy where'd you go?" The gator in question blinked from the flour covered counter where he'd been for like twenty minutes. 

 

She sat down and popped a chocolate chocolate chocolate cupcake into her muzzle. After swallowing she leaned forward, resting her chin on her front hooves on the table. "So! What's up Cheese?" She smiled disarmingly, she hoped. 

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"Gotcha!" Cheese grinned from ear to ear, pouring the diced jalapenos into a nearby bowl for later use. He wasn't sure if he'd be keeping them diced or shredding them. . .  no. He'd definitely shred these - chunky cupcakes sounded like possibly the most disgusting thing ever. Just the thought of it made Cheese look a little green. He scrounged around for a blender underneath the counter, glancing back at Pinkie for a moment. "Ooh, more cupcakes? Sounds good to me!" Eventually Cheese resurfaced with a large blender, before snagging  one of the cupcakes and taking a large bite, which left a mustache of frosting on his face. The look might've been funny, but Cheese's slight worry somewhat countered that as he asked Pinkie for assistance later on. Luckily, she didn't press. . . he mentally face-palmed. She probably wouldn't have said yes - or worse, she would've asked why he needed help. This was his forte, wasn't it? 

He was so preoccupied with his thoughts that he almost didn't notice Pinkie's sudden embarrassment over. . . something? Well, she was blushing. . . perhaps she'd been having similar thoughts or something like that? No, no. . . why would she need his help with something? That was just crazy-talk. He still felt as if he should check on her, though. "Uh, you okay? You've never made that face before. . . did ya take a bite of the jalapenos? Trust me, they're fresh - no need for you to burn your face up over them, ha." It turned out that she was worried over Gummy - which was sort of pointless, as the gator had been sitting motionless for quite some time by then. Perhaps pinkie had forgotten? Well, it didn't matter. He needed to get these cupcakes going, stat. "Well, now - I think I've got it. You want me to get these jalapenos blended up with the cupcake batter? I figured that it'd be better than chunky cupcakes. . . ugh." Cheese made a face, holding Boneless Two up as if he were doing the same. The rubber chicken merely flopped over slightly.

Cheese made as if to pour the contents of the bowl into the blender, though he watched Pinkie's face, waiting for a response. He was caught off-guard by her sudden take at being more social, though. It was just a casual question, but he had to think about it for a second before answering. "Um. . . Fine?" Okay, that was really weird. Cheese usually had more to say than that. Why was casual talk the thing that made his jokes screech to a halt? He tried at a funny line, just so that he didn't seem awkward. "Er, as fine as I can be with this giant bowl of peppers. I swear, they're burning out my eyes. . ." It was true: the curly-haired stallion's eyes were tearing up slightly from being so close to the diced peppers. It was better than onions, though. "Y'know, the last time this happened, it was at a restaurant that specialized in spicy things. I was so tired after everything that I fell face-first into a bowl of chili. Now that hurt!" Cheese laughed for a little bit, even though it wasn't all that funny. After awhile, the laughter died down, and he found himself in that awkward phase once more. He bit his lip, trying to think of something else to say. Anything else. "U-Uh - what's up with you?" He hoped that was enough to keep things casual - well, as casual as things could be between two party ponies, one of which was holding a giant bowl of japalenos.

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Sooo, she'd played that off ummmm not so well! Nope, not convincing at all. The Ponk could feel that both herself and the Cheese were a little uncomfortable now. She knew the cure for that of course! She wasn't a party pony for nothing! She'd just have the laugh it off and dive into the process of getting these jalapenos into the right place which was not her eyes! 

 

"Whew! You're right about it getting in the eyes!" She grimaced slightly and helped to get the blender out from under the counter. 

 

"Wow! Chili huh?" She wiped a hoof over her brow, thinking of what hot chili all over the place must feel like. No thank you! "Let's get these peppers where they need to go pronto so we don't have any more trouble with them! And you're right, chunky cupcakes are no good! Unless they're chocolate chunks, or maybe strawberry," She mused on that recipe alteration for a moment before scraping the diced peppers into the blender and sealing it tight. 

 

The machine whirred away for a few moments during which time Cheese asked her the question she'd asked him earlier. After a moment she responded lightly. "I'm up for trying these cupcakes once they're done baking! Should we make one more kind too?" She was working to press her feelings to the side. It wasn't the right time to tell him about that. She also knew he wanted to ask a favor of her but she decided to leave that alone for the time being too. It would be fun just to spend a bit of time baking with Cheese and she'd just see where it went!

 

Once the jalapenos had finished their turn in the blender so carefully removed them into a bowl and put some chopped up strawberries into the blender. These were pureed too and added with the peppers. Pinkie added them slowly to the batter she'd mixed and soon the soft pink goodness that was jalapeno strawberry was ready to be put into cupcake trays for baking! "All we need to do is get this into trays and into the oven. Yum! I can't wait to try them!" She thought ahead to the next cupcakes she'd like to make.

 

"There's a recipe I've been wanted to try for sticky salted caramel apple cupcakes. What do you think? Sound good?" There that was better. Back to her regular old Ponky self for the time being. :D 

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"Yes ma'am!" Cheese also had a pause on the idea of adding those assorted chunks into the cupcakes, but let it slide. Those would be good, but he needed something bolder. Something that would surely reveal itself later on, when they were done with the cupcakes and couldn't add said ingredients. That was how all good ideas worked, sadly. . . you only got them once they were irrelevant. Once, Cheese had gotten the idea to have s'mores at a camping party. That would stick with him for the rest of his life, a stain on his career. . . Cheese shook his head. Enough of the weepy stuff - he had cupcakes to make, and Pinkie was waiting!

The stallion nodded at Pinkie's suggestion, glad to be free of the awkward phase of their talk. "Sure thing! I'm pretty eager to put my hooves to good use, honestly - baking all day sounds like a good way to do that!" Maybe he was pushing it a little. . . Pinkie would eventually want to know more about his problem, and Cheese would have to answer. It had already been a problem back when his pride was getting in the way. Now, he was letting other, more foreign feelings get in the way of simple speech. This would be a doozy to work out for sure. . . He could do it, though. If there was one thing Cheese sandwich was known for, it was solving problems. . . usually problems he'd caused!

Cheese quickly took two trays of the cupcake himself, balancing the two on his back. Some might've been worried that he'd drop them, but Cheese was pretty good at faking things like imbalance. He let the tray wobble precariously for a few moments, before righting them and easily making his way over to the oven. He laughed a little, sliding both into the oven and closing the door. "Same here! That sounds nice and simple - a good change from the craziness I've had up to recently. After these batches, I'd certainly be down to make 'em!" Cheese sounded a lot more sure of himself now that the focus wasn't on him. He could let his worries slide to the very back of his mind once more. . . hopefully nothing crazy happened while the cupcakes cooked. Then again, who didn't like a little crazy? "Oh - I know what! I'll get started on the caramel, and you slice the apples. Once the jalapeno cupcakes are done, we can put those in two. Sound like a plan?"

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"Sounds like a good planaroonie!" Pinkie smiled and got to work on slicing the apples. 

 

"I can slice apples like a pro you know!" She spun around and suddenly had on a ninja outfit. She pulled a sword from behind her back and tossed a bunch of apples up in the air. "Hiiiya!" In a blur of slicing apples piled into a nearby blow, perfectly cut. "Yep, ninja apple slicing is a specialty of mine." She trotted up to Cheese. "Betcha didn't know that!" With a spin the ninja outfit and sword were gone. 

 

"So, how do you like your caramel?" She watched to see how he would prepare on of her favorite types of candy. 

 

Soon the smell of jalapenos and strawberries was floating through the air. It was a smell most pleasing to the pinkest party pony! "OOOOoooo!" She sniffed. "I think those are almost done!" 

 

What a nice day this was turning out to be! Baking was a favorite, eating cupcakes was a favorite, and Cheese was her favorite....well her best friend she reckoned. As she stuffed a warm cupcake int her mouth she couldn't help but wonder what he was going to ask her about. Oh well, he'd ask in his own time.

 

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