Love is Love (2700words)

Story by Idris on SoFurry

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Two ponies fall for each other (much to their suprise) and then find themselves on a business trip together!

Note; a genderless office romance with comedy? What was I thinking? But I think it worked in the end. I hope you enjoy as much as it drove me daft writing it :)

The art is by Fia94

Love is Love

That one look did it. Even though it was little more than a passing glance, it had depth and power as though a window into a new future had been opened. Both ponies were taken aback by the experience. This wasn't going to be your average office romance. It couldn't be anything other than really awkward and keeping a low profile was something which didn't need to be said.

They knew each other well and had been working together a lot recently. Conversation often swung around to the theme of being single, but this was not what they had in mind.

Chris had often joked, "Sure the right pony will come along, I just need to be in the right place at the right time! It will all fall into place any day now." But somehow it just hadn't. It was a roll call of friends, dates and self detonating relationships.

At lunch time they found themselves together in a side corridor. On their minds were questions. How would it work out? Could they ever be an item? The matriarchal society they lived in was very open, but then again it kind of wasn't.

Silver spoke first, "Horse Radish restaurant?"

Chris thought for a moment, "No, somewhere further away. Not where we know everypony! That bistro on the edge of town where thingy's birthday was."

The office chatter was bad enough for a regular couple. They had seen so many legitimate mares and stallions squirming under the interrogation of; "Oooh where's the engagement ring? Where's the honeymoon? How long 'til you have tiny foals? This time it was going to be beyond awkward. They didn't know any of the answers to these questions anyway.

The afternoon seemed a bit surreal. To them it felt like being temporarily in somepony else's life. There was definitely plenty to think about, and yet, nothing to be understood? One or two co-workers gave them an odd look with an accompanying ear twitch. They assumed there had been a fight between the two friends.

A few hours later Silver was sat in Lipizzaner Bistro on the edge of town, carefully scrutinising two coffees. Thoughts alternated between shock and a deep feeling of contentment. These emotions were interrupted by a regular peep through the window to see if Chris had arrived. Eventually the tan pony appeared in the street with a care free trot and long brown main blowing in the breeze.

"Hitting the hard stuff already?" quipped Chris, sitting down opposite Silver.

Silver looked up with a half confused grin and then back to the nearest coffee mug before nudging it across the table with a hoof. "Is this real? I keep telling myself it is, because if it isn't, why are we avoiding our friends? But then I think I'm being silly and imagining things? I mean, come on, this is crazy! Please tell me I'm not delusional?"

"You're as sane in the mane as I am," came the reply before a sip. "We've worked together for years on various projects. And haven't we seen just about everything there is to see? All those happy ponies doing all sort of things with each other. Even 'to' each other in some cases! Maybe it's just our turn to be happy?"

Silver's face lit up with a big smile, a hint of tear remaining. As ponies went there were few finer looking. A shiny grey coat was offset by a slightly darker grey mane. Both were cut smartly and in keeping with well manicured grey hooves. "Damn it, it is our turn! It feels right and I'm grabbing it by both ears. That is... Just as soon as I stop feeling really awkward."

They sat and talked for a few hours about nothing in particular. They were the same two ponies, but now it felt different, like a blind date with an old friend. It was sort of brand new and exciting, yet comfortable like a pair of old shoes. As the next day was expected to be busy they decided to head home early, parting with an awkward goodbye.

After a restless nights sleep they were back early in the office talking about a new advertising deal. It was decided that the best option was to go out into the sticks and find a place to impress their new clients with a lunch event. At the very least, to find a venue big enough that fifteen or so ponies could sit around and discuss the project's requirements. The food and drink would definitely be a bonus!

Rummaging through a dusty filing cabinet they found a list of pubs and places to stay. The file had belonged to Fred who had retired last year. His farewell party had been one of the better ones and six months later ponies were still regretting the things they had done there! The age of the file meant most of the places no longer existed, but one looked likely, so they booked in there.

The rest of the week was a busy one. The big meeting required them to have an answer for any question they might get asked. If they didn't have an answer, they at least needed a viable reply as to how they would find out!

Next on the tick list was transport. Chris was itching to try out a new hiking saddle, so they opted to travel by train and walk to the Bed and Breakfast. The aim was to catch an early train Monday morning after a quiet Sunday. They didn't normally meet up at the weekend. Silver was going to spend time with family in the next town anyway. An early start saw them stood in the morning sun awaiting their train.

"Crumbs, thats quite a set up you have there," said Silver eyeing up an elaborate saddle literally covered in loops and pockets. "Does it have a thing for getting stones out of horses hooves?"

"Don't we usually use your sharp whit for that?" came the reply. "Besides, you will be more impressed when I tell you it has two bottles of cider and some mugs that say, 'Tea. Best drink of the day.' on them."

Silver flashed a silly grin. "Excellent choice, I hate playing ' I spy with my little eye' while sober. I only brought a couple of fairly crass novels. I thought we could giggle at lines like 'he took her atop the leafy hillside."

It was Chris's turn for the silly grin. "We're livin' the dream! I hate my life."

Their laughter was cut short by the trains arrival. Chris wouldn't fit through the carriage door while wearing the huge backpack, even with a good run up. The porter was none to impressed with this or having to help handle it into a compartment. "Bloody tourists," he muttered under his breath.

"Stop winging Bob, you know it's us, we all went to school together," Silver replied. "You dated my sister"

"He more than dated her," said Chris, blowing a raspberry at the now scowling Silver.

Their boredom increased as fields and towns passed by the windows. An old stallion looked quite impressed that they were drinking tea, but his smile turned to a frown when he saw they were topping them up with bottles. They noted to put the cider in flasks next time!

The trip to the Bed and Breakfast was simple enough. The backpack left the train far more easily with the help of gravity and once in place it was comfortable enough. Silver listened to a commentary on its virtues and added another case on top, much to Chris's surprise!

"It's a fair test," insisted Silver. "You need to know it's limits and if I drop this case one more time I swear it'll burst open."

After a few minutes banter they stood outside a faded door and knocked a hoof carefully on the flaked paint. An aged dark bay mare came to the door and waved them in. Once the customary greetings were over she turned thoughtfully to them.

"I miss Fred, he was such a character. He said such terrible things! I've never laughed so much in my life! I promised myself a trip to the city and I thought I might catch up with him while there. But maybe not? Things are well...a bit tight." She paused and looked thoughtfully at the shabby door.

As rooms went it was okay, being well furnished and clean. Ceiling beams were visible giving it a proper cottage feel. After that it was the usual B&B rules, such as a fixed breakfast time and "Don't hit your head on that dear". All standard stuff really.

After a rapid unpacking session, which looked more like they had simply chucked their gear in a corner they decided to try the local pub. Fred's notes suggested it was the only suitable place in the village and they didn't need to walk far to verify the fact. It was the only building of any size for miles.

Inside they ordered hay baps and chips plus receipt, which Silver pocketed. Silver was always good at the paperwork side and had an abacus flank mark to prove it. Chris, 'on the other hoof' was good at the communication stuff. The only thing Chris did better at than negotiation was stopping little foals from crying. It was an odd set of skills to be sure!

Once they were full they inspected the meeting room and agreed it would suit there needs. With business over for the day they were at a loss for amusement. Throwing rope rings at a post out in the yard got old quickly and Chris thought moving the sport to the local duck pond might send the wrong message. Even the combined taylor/dress shop was shut. It was clearly cider time!

As the glasses stacked up on their table it wasn't long before things started to get out of hand. With inhibitions set aside they were far too amorous and they knew they didn't care. There were a few sideways looks from the other patrons at some fairly serious nuzzling. Maybe they would have been fine if they had stopped there, but they were far too drunk to care. Unfortunately it was all too much for the regular patrons.

"I'm afraid I will have to ask you to leave," said the landlord with his ears back. He was a big stallion and he didn't look very happy. Silver looked up from the embrace, gave a short giggle and fell off the bench seat.

"I'm slorry," slurred Chris, making to grab Silver with both hooves before all was lost to gravity.

Once outside they were a lot less stable with the cool night air making their heads spin. Even four legs weren't enough and getting back to the B&B was going to be a long trip. It was made even worse when Silver tried to lean on a wall that was impossibly low and completed a neat barrel roll into a front garden.

"I'm such a giddy neddy!" came a muffled voice, "Head over hooves in love."

"Come on!" spat Chris, trying not to join in with Silvers giggles from a squished flower bed. Luckily the cottage owners were either deeply asleep or were out, because no one stirred at the noise of Silver being hoisted back over the wall!

They must have got back to the B&B okay, because that's where they awoke next day. Somehow they were entangled in the same single bed, the other bed still neatly made up. Silver roughed it around a bit to make it look less suspicious. The exertion had the effect of making the light grey pony dash for the bathroom with some intent!

Chris sat on the bed looking at the dishevelled creature in the mirror before noticing the clock.

"Breakfast time," came the call from downstairs.

They made themselves presentable as best they could and headed down to the kitchen.

"Are you together?" the old mare asked.

"Not together, just in the same place," said Silver awkwardly.

She eyed them carefully. "Sure you are," she said with a wink. "I've been around a long time and I know for a fact that love is just love. You can't control it, but you do have to grab it by the tail when it comes along." They blushed in unison and hid their faces in bowls of porridge.

After a fair amount of mane and tail brushing they did at least look the part. Silver was the neat one of the two, both in dress and in thought. By contrast Chris had a classic athletic look. Mischievous bright green eyes peeped from under a thick forelock of brown hair which also sprang forth as mane and tail. Four brown hooves did a good job of the hiding mud, which was all too common due to Chris's favourite hobby of hiking. You couldn't be an outdoors pony without the right marking and Chris sported a craggy snow topped mountain.

Now it was time to face their demons and book the venue. This was the only place locally that they could take the new clients and they would have to find a way to straighten things out with the landlord. They found him around the back of the pub cutting wood with a large axe.

"Bad sharp shiny thing," Remarked Silver quietly. "And you're pretty sure we only went a little bit too far last night? I can't remember."

The landlord spotted them and stopped his work. "You two again? I heard some funny stuff about last night. I don't know how it is in the city, but that sort of thing doesn't happen around here."

"We aren't g...." But somehow Chris couldn't finish the sentence while been kicked by Silver. Coughing and beginning again; "We need to book the big room for the fourteenth. We need a business buffet for twenty ponies and of course something to drink."

The landlord liked his village but it wasn't easy to make a living here. His eye turned to an outhouse containing his on-the-side whisky still. Having any new customers was good and twenty ponies in one hit was a dream come true. He'd ignore almost all complaints if there was a chance they would be back in a month or two. He changed his demeanour up a gear.

"Excellent news. I'll hire a couple of extra staff so nopony has to wait for food and the room will be freshly decorated, so as to make a good impression."

"Thank you," said Silver, "I'm sure new work means as much to you as it does us. We hope to do business with both parties for many a year. See you in a few days."

They turned and headed back to the B&B to collect their baggage before continuing to the new customers factory for a quick "Hi and hoof shakes" and to double check dates.

With hooves clip clopping happily on the rough country road Silver turned to Chris, "You nearly said a bad word."

"Yes, Lucky you stopped me. I don't think I could have lived with myself if I'd finished. I don't want to hide this, I want to shout it out loud and wear a badge or something? I know I can't do that but.." Chris paused. "But to sell out like that for the approval of a stranger. That was scarily too easy. I'm sorry. Please forgive me?"

Silver turned and smiled, "No problem, totally forgiven. I guess this was never going to be simple. Perhaps that was the easy part, with our friends and parents still to go."

The conversation continued on the train home. "I guess some will be fine with it? And I suppose some will say they knew all along and maybe some won't be our friends anymore?" thought Chris out loud.

Without any cider the journey home seemed longer than the one going, but the clocks hands kept turning steadily onward. Eventually they found themselves back in the office and describing the pub's meeting room as well as the the factory they had visited on the way back.

"This is great news! Great job," said their boss. "It sounds like you two stallions had a good old time out in the sticks!"

Team Idris

Aug 2015