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[Appleoosa] A friendly cup of coffee [Private]


Bannhammer
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(OOC: Sorry delays, today was one of my bad allergy days)

As Max brushed past her, she blushed at her assistant's impetuousness [colour=#800000]"I must apologize for Thorn getting ahead of himself, Max..."[/colour]

Her fears proved unfounded as Max loosened his tux, and grinned at her, extending a hoof.

Caramel smiled and stepped into the room, her wavy tail swinging to close the door behind her.

The mare put her hoof in his [colour=#800000]"Oui, Monseuer! I believe there are appropriate ballroom records over there, if you please?"[/colour]

(The record player is the same wind-up model as Pinkie keeps...somewhere... for party emergencies)

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Max nodded cordially and quickly browsed the music selection. Not a bad range, he spotted a few pieces that would be good for foxtrots, or a tango, but the Rockefilly wanted to start off a little more traditionally. The white unicorn's horn lit up as he levitated a particular vinyl record out of its sleeve and over towards the gramophone.

[colour=#0014a8]"Invitation to the Dance, one of my favorite waltzes. Not too fast, and the title fits, wouldn't you agree?"[/colour]

The needle was lowered, and soon a droning melody began to sound out in the private room. Maximilian strode towards Caramel and took her by a hoof, placing the other on her side as he got into position. [colour=#0014a8]"I hope you don't mind if I lead, Caramel, I'm simply no good otherwise."[/colour]

With that, he began to move, gently yet quickly turning, swaying, and stepping to the beat and in time with the music. There was no emotion on his face, the waltz for Max wasn't something to enjoy, it was just something to do at parties to impress others and pass the time, and he was treating it no differently now. Instead of a smile, he wore a blank expression as he went through the motions.

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Caramel watched as Max's magic set up the record he picked out.

She smiled and nodded to Max.[colour=#800000] "Oh yes, and quite fitting, Max."[/colour]

The Mocha Mare finds herself blushing cutely as Max comes over to her and moves her into position for the dance.

[colour=#800000]"Oh I dont' mind, Max. I'm a little rusty as I have said. I'm more comfortable being led in that case."[/colour]

Caramel let him lead her around the floor in the dance. While she often kept a placid expression for ballroom dancing, the total blank Max presented her was a little disconcerting.

The mare hid any unease at this and concentrated on the dance. Given the typical demeanor of ponies she often had to partner with in Balls and Galas, she could understand why he had a mental wall up for this type of dancing. She just hoped he would loosen up after this warm-up dance.

As a test of his mental blocks, she spoke [colour=#800000]"Your dancing is supurb, Max."[/colour]

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Caramel kept pace well enough, and Max simply continued moving. They danced their way around the room, Maximilian's hooves moving in perfect time and with determination. His face continued to lack any sort of emotion as they moved together, no happiness, nothing except for a blank and determined stare.

[colour=#0014a8]"Why thank you, Madame Bistro, one must be good at Ballroom, especially in case of galas or other such parties."[/colour] He forced a grin onto his face as he responded. Most would be fooled by it, thinking of it as a real smile, but anypony who knew the Manehattan social life would see through it. He was simply going through the motions again. Just as he could dance when he needed to, he could throw a smile out there.

[colour=#0014a8]"You're a lovely partner, Caramel, very light on your hooves."[/colour] Max nodded, fake smile still on his face as he paid her a generic compliment.

This was so confusing for Max, how was he supposed to have a good time with Caramel while doing such a boring and repetitive action? The socialite simply fell back on his old habits because he had no idea of what else to do!

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Caramel kept pace with the steady movement of the dance.

Bistro became aware there was something greatly wrong with Max in his dance. This was such a change from the genuine emotion he displayed before the dance began, she suddenly wondered if the mental mask he threw up was so ingrained, he had trouble fighting it.

Even the smile he bore when complimenting her was a bit unnerving since she was experienced enough to see there was nothing there in it.

Taking a chance, she nuzzled under his chin, her vanilla perfumed hair brushing near his nose [colour=#800000]"Max, I think you have warmed up enough with this song. Perhaps there is one a bit more lively we can try? Something to make you relax and loosen up a little? I really am enjoying myself, Max."[/colour]

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Things were going alright, Max could just about bear the dance as it was. He was ready to wait it out, do a few more steps, let the music die down, and then do whatever thing Caramel asked him too. It wouldn't be hard, just boring and tedious. Then something happened that threw a wrench into Maximilian's best laid plans. The contact between them grew exponentially as she gave him a well intention nuzzle under the chin.

The touch, to put it lightly, caught Max totally unawares. His instinct, and therefore his first reaction, was to jump back, eyes wide as he tried to figure out what had just happened. At parties, galas, anywhere, contact such as that was left at a minimum, or just not there at all. Even though they were alone and Max fancied Madame Bistro, he couldn't react in any other way. For a stallion that would receive a hug only on his birthdays (if he was lucky) any intimate form of contact would be unnerving, to say the least.

An awkward moment was spent with Maximilian standing there, a few paces away, looking rather confused. He must look rather silly right about now, how would Caramel look at him now? He was just a crazy stallion in her eyes after that, surely! He tried to say something, anything, to break the silence, but all he could manage was a few forced stammers.

[colour=#0014a8]"I... excu-... er...."[/colour]

With a fierce blush on his face the rich unicorn simply turned around and reached for the door.

[colour=#0014a8]"Sorry..."[/colour]

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Caramel blinked in surprise when Max jumped away in panic, then realized a moment later she really should not have been surprised after that admission about his father's lack of care.

She sighed as Max stumbled in his speech in near panic, thinking *I am so dumb sometimes...*

Suddenly, he turned away in shame, about to open the door to leave. She stepped forward with an earnest look on her face [colour=#800000]"No, please stay. It was my fault, Max. I really must apologize. These things happen when two ponies are trying to figure each other out. I did not mean to startle you."[/colour]

Caramel hoped she would not have to use the "puppy dog" eyes. [colour=#800000]"I promise to take things slower in trying to get you comfortable with dancing if you will please stay and finish our dances tonight."[/colour]

In a last ditch effort before trying "The Eyes", she cleared her throat and held out a hoof to him in Manehattan fashion [colour=#800000]"I really must apologize for my ill-timed display, Max. Can you forgive a silly filly for her thoughtlessness?"[/colour]

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Max's hoof stopped just short, hovering near the door handle. He was fully intent on heading out and hopefully forgetting the embarrassing event over some cactus juice. Caramel's quick apology and kind words convinced the Rockefilly to stay. The move, it seems, was simply a lapse in judgement, no harm was intended, and all was well. Maximilian was still a bit flustered, and he needed a quick moment to compose himself.

[colour=#0014a8]"It's...different, being around somepony like this. It's not your fault, and of course I forgive you. I'm just not used to contact, at all. It's just so strange to me. I hate to make you do it, but I think going slow is the best bet we have."[/colour]

The unicorn turned around and took a step towards Caramel. [colour=#0014a8]"Shall we try again? Maybe a different dance?[/colour]

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Caramel breathed a sigh of relief at averting a disaster with Max.

The more she heard about his discomfort with physical contact though, the more she hated his father for what he did to Max.

* How could anypony do this to their own foal? Was he trying to make a remorseless monster? A dragon in pony's clothing? At least Max has proven that plan a failure in his time here... *

The Mocha Mare gave an elegant curtsey, then looked to the stack of records.[colour=#800000] "Certainly Max, perhaps a foxtrot next?"[/colour]

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Max nodded courteously, also glad to have avoided any serious problems. Hopefully, if they took things very, very slowly, they would be more comfortable around each other.

[colour=#0014a8]"A foxtrot sounds lovely, Caramel."[/colour]

With his magic, Maximilian took one of the records out of its sleeve and placed it on the gramophone before offering the mare a hoof.

[colour=#0014a8]"It's been a while since I've done this one, usually more somber, less energetic dances are my kind of fare. Alas, I don't think that's the local style..."[/colour]

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(OOC; did some checking up on Foxtrots and was surprised to find early Rock and Roll like "Rock around the Clock" was considered Foxtrot Music. )

Caramel smiled brightly as Max agreed to a Foxtrot. With the faster pace, it took a little more effort to transition from four hoof to leaning into a partner, pressing forehooves against each others hooves, while standing on two hooves, then back again, but it was worth it as badly needed dance exercises.

Even if it wasnt as lively as the Wild West dances, it would make for a happy medium in styles between the local Wild West and Mild West dances.

She nodded as she got into position for the dance and took his hoof.[colour=#800000] "True, but this should be a good one for us to work on at least. Not as fast as a Wild West dance I should think."[/colour]

Caramel tapped a hoof to the floor to time her coming moves as the music began, letting Max lead again.

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Maximilian got into the dance, his hooves moving quickly, trying to get used to the quick pace. It was a much different dance that anything he was used to, especially when one had to keep their balance on only one pair of hooves. Every now and then, the Rockefilly would slip up, maybe stumble a bit, but he was always able to recover. Thankfully, he had the lead, and could slow down whenever necessary.

[colour=#0014a8]"It's a bit quick, just need to get used to the pace and I should be fine... You're telling me they dance even faster here? I don't know if that's possible..."[/colour]

He continued to move, in and out with his upper body, and quickly shuffling and tapping his rear hooves. The event from earlier still weighed on his mind, and once they were leaned in again he decided to speak up.

[colour=#0014a8]"I really should apologize for how I responded earlier, I must've looked like a right fool."[/colour]

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Caramel smiled and kept much of her mind on her hoofwork, balancing against Max's hooves as he led the dance.

She nodded to Max as he recovered quickly from each slip, then heard his question. [colour=#800000]"Yes, the Square dances are at least this fast when there are new folk like us in the mix. I was afraid I was going to look silly if they picked up the pace, so I wasnt' in the square dance at the Hoedown very much as you can guess."[/colour]

She shook her head in shocked wonder at the memory [colour=#800000]"It really got fast whenever I sat out a dance, so it would seem we have our work cut out for us in catching up with the town celebrations."[/colour]

The Mocha Mare smiled gently as Max apologized for earlier. [colour=#800000]"Quite all right. It was more my fault than anything, Max. I had fair warning from you that.." [/colour]She pauses to wave a hoof in a gesture encompassing the both of them [colour=#800000]"...this is all so new to you. If you ever need a friendly ear, I am here for you."[/colour]

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Maximilian felt a little uncomfortable, being spoken about in such a way. Even so, everything Madame Bistro said was true, and the only way Max would get used to it was if he simply accepted it.

[colour=#0014a8]"None of this is your fault, if I wasn't such an awkward pony, none of this would even be a problem. Thank Celestia my father isn't around to see me like this, who knows what he'd have to say about it."[/colour]

The Rockefilly continued to dance, trying his best to lead the dance while troubling thoughts weighed on his mind. He subconsciously picked up the pace, hoping to change the subject through actions rather than words.

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  • 2 weeks later...

(OOC: sorry delays, been dealing with medical issues lately)

Madam Bistro had a few choice things to say about Max's father that she kept to herself, but schooled her face to stay pleasant for Max.

Caramel hoped he would understand if she ever let any distaste for the elder stallion who almost ruined Max's private life slip out.

She kept her hooves moving and smiled as he picked up the pace [colour=#800000]"You are a wonderful pony, Max. I am glad you are showing such good grace and style tonight Max. I think you are showing a real talent for these dances. Would you like to choose the next dance?"[/colour]

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  • 2 weeks later...

[sorry about the long delay, lots of exams and volunteering for election season]

The socialite kept his step with her increase in pace. The mare responded well to his little speech, and it calmed him a little. The whole ordeal still seemed a little awkward, but at least Max could take solace in the fact that Madame Bistro wouldn't be too hard on him.

[colour=#0014a8]"Why thank you for the vote of confidence, I'll take any I can get these days. And I would be honored to pick the next dance, would a Bolero be fine, seeing as how we're picking up the pace?"[/colour]

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  • 2 months later...

(Sorry on my end as well, delays with medical issues aplenty. :sleep: )

Madam Bistro smiled sweetly and nodded. "[colour=#800000]Yes, a Bolero would do nicely, Max. I have not that one in some time so you will be more in charge for this one. [/colour]

[colour=#800000]In the meantime, I need just a quick drink before we begin. Would you care for a drink as well?"[/colour]

So saying, she stepped aside for a moment to sip at the coffee that had been left by Thorn for them.

Caramel smiled and gave a subtle stretch hopefully hidden by her dress as she prepared herself to dance some more, watching Max and trying not to rush him.

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(It's all good, medical reasons are the most valid ones, hope you're feeling better :( )

Max nodded at her words, glad to take a small break for more of Madame Bistro's divine coffee. With a tentative sip he observed the mare. She was beautiful, that couldn't be denied, but there was something else.

Madame Bistro was the first pony to give him a chance in Appleoosa. She probably knew the most about him, and yet she was willing to help him out. And... who knows, maybe she felt something for him. Maximilian looked down at the coffee, staring at his reflection for a moment.

He wanted to be a new stallion, some pony he could be proud of. If he was going to change his business ways, why not change other things as well?

With a few small, slow steps, the Rockefilly approached Caramel. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. Even her slight touch had put him on edge earlier, but what if he was the one to lead?

There was a waver in his leg as he slowly reached out, brushing Caramel's shoulder before gently running a hoof through her mane.

[colour=#0014a8]"Thank you, for everything."[/colour]

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  • 4 weeks later...

Miss Caramel Bistro sipped her coffee, taking demure glances at her dancing guest as he also took a break.

She tried to keep her glances subtle as she wondered how he was holding up to the dancing. Could she help break him from his shell? The cracks were already showing just from the way he presented the town to the businessmare from Stalliongrad, and she hoped to lever them open the rest of the way.

It certainly helped she was too wealthy to be a gold digger, unlike some of the mares that had tried to throw themselves at him in the newspapers.

Suddenly Maximilian moved closer, taking a deep breath. A tremor ran down her back in anticipation, wondering if he was finally comfortable enough to make a move.

The touch of his hoof on her shoulder and then her mane was a definite answer as he thanked her.

He heart leapt in joy and she forced herself to keep it to only a smile, to encourage his talking a lead. And truth be told, that felt really good...

She set her coffee down to keep the pleased shivers from showing in how she handles her cup. [colour=#800000]"You are welcome, kind sir. I believe I am ready when you lead the dance."[/colour]

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Max felt a small smile creep onto his features. While some may see his actions as tame, to him they were quite bold, and perhaps even intimate. To be honest, Maximilian didn't quite know what possessed him to do it, but in a small way, he had an idea. She had been so nice to him, giving him chances while none else would. To him, this mocha mare had done more for him than anypony else. How could he show it; how could he show her just how much she meant to him?

With a timid voice, Max spoke up. [colour=#0014a8]"Perhaps... perhaps we could take a break? There's... something I'd wish to say."[/colour]

The rich stallion's gut twisted in knots as he motioned back towards their coffee. He knew that she cared, it was plain to see. Caramel found success in her own right, she surely wasn't attempting to take advantage of him. Her kind manner alone drew a sharp elation from his heart, and the Rockefilly knew that something had to be said, lest the opportunity slip by.

[colour=#00a4a8]"Caramel. We've known eachother for these last few months, both of us doing what we can for this town. You've shown me more kindness than I've ever known, and far more than I deserve. Even now, you show me just how kind a pony you are, treating me so delicately, so full of compassion. I don't really know how to say it, but you give me chills down my spine and butterflies in my gut. I'm a pony who could have everything he ever wanted, but all I could ever want right now is just to spend mere moments with you."[/colour]

He cleared his throat, blush obvious on his face as he tried to find the right words. What if he had misjudged things? What if he said the wrong thing and she never wished to see him again? Even though they'd known eachother for months, it was their first date, was he going too fast? The poor stallion had no clue how one normally did this. All he knew was how he felt.

Oh, Celestia, he'd gone too far to back down, and now he had to face the consequences. After a deep breath, the white unicorn lifted his head and gazed into the mocha mare's eyes. He gulped loudly, obviously having some trouble saying what was on his mind. Such emotion was uncouth and foreign to him, his father's teachings keeping the words he so desperately wanted to say locked away. With a deep breath Maximilian closed his eyes, and forced his words to tumble haphazardly out of his mouth and into the Appleoosan air.

[colour=#0014a8]"I... I think I'm in love with you."[/colour]

Again he froze up, stiffening in realization. Again he wanted to bolt for the door, afraid that he'd laid bare too much. But instead he looked at Caramel, and felt more calm than ever before. No matter what she said, or how she responded, he would face it.

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