“Gotta admit, aside from the weird contrast with the ugly green of the wall, it looks pretty good hanging up there.” Starry stood at the edge of my bed, staring at his work.
“Yeah, doesn’t it? You did an awesome job on that thing. Now go ahead and take the picture before you forget again.”
“Psh, thanks for the vote of confidence, Crimson.”
“Well, he’s right, silly!” Tesla laughed. “I still can’t believe you didn’t realize you never took the picture. That camera was probably flapping around your neck as you galloped home! I would think that would be a good enough reminder.”
Starry waved a hoof at her. “Oh, gimme a break. I was excited, alright?”
“There! Now hush up.”
After Stripes, Blackhawk and I got tired of Patan, we all went back to our own respective rooms. When I got back to mine, I found Starry’s picture hanging on the wall opposite my bed. Mom had asked the nurses if they could replace the picture that was there with Starry’s painting, and they happily obliged. It really brightened the place up, despite being a nighttime scene.
Starry and Tesla came back after school, Starry brandishing his camera once again. Tess and I both got our turns teasing him about leaving without taking his picture the first time, but we conceded to the fact that he had a good reason. Earning your cutie mark was definitely cause for excitement, even if it induced forgetfulness.
“So what did Miss Turner say?
“About what? My painting or my cutie mark?”
Starry ruffled the back of his mane. “Actually, it’s kinda funny. When we first got to school yesterday she told me to stay behind at lunch and talk to her during recess. I thought I was in trouble; she was so stone-faced when she told me that I didn’t think she had even seen my cutie mark. I would’ve believed that; everypony else was crowding around me and asking about it.”
I rested my chin on a hoof. “What did she talk to you about?”
“Well, I was dead wrong about her not seeing my cutie mark. As soon as everypony was outside for recess and I went to talk to her, I could have sworn she wasn’t our teacher anymore. She gave me a huge hug and squealed like a filly! Turns out she saw it as Tess and I walked up the path, before I started getting crowded; she’s got eyes like a hawk! She totally played me like a foal.”
Tesla and I laughed. “You should’ve seen it, Crimson. I’ve never seen Miss Turner so excited!”
“Wait, you saw that?”
She nodded with a great big smile. “I was peeking through the door.” Starry face-hoofed and shook his head as Tess spoke. He looked worried for some reason. “Starry’s right; she didn’t look like our teacher at all— she looked like his mother!” Starry gave a harsh sigh and lightly pushed her. Tess paid it no heed— she kept laughing as she stumbled to get back on her hooves. “I took off after I saw that he wasn’t in trouble. I didn’t wanna get caught.”
Starry’s worry seemed to vanish. “Oh, really? Then you didn’t hear the conversation we had after Miss Turner calmed down, did you?”
Tesla stopped laughing. “No… why?”
Starry waved a hoof. “Oh, no reason. We were just chatting. I told her how Crimson was doing, and she thanked me for filling her in.” He turned to me. “I told her we were going to see you yesterday, but when I mentioned you were getting chemo she told me we should let you rest. That’s why I told you not to come here, either.” He turned and spoke to Tesla, then back to me. “I decided we should listen to Miss Turner.”
Something he said stuck out at me. “Wait, how did you know I was getting chemo?”
“Remember right before I finished my painting when you were chatting with your dad? I heard you two talking about it. I didn’t say anything 'cuz I was too focused… and I had no idea what the hay that word you said was, so I ignored it.”
I chuckled. “Honestly, neither did I. I asked my dad what it meant yesterday, but I wasn’t really paying attention when he answered. It sounded boring. I felt like crud all day yesterday too, so you were smart not to come. I would’ve been horrible company.”
Her eyebrows curving upward, Tesla leaned on my bed as she looked at me with wide eyes. “Was it that bad?”
I thought about my conversation with Blackhawk and Stripes. “Compared to what I hear can happen, I guess it wasn’t that bad. But for me, it sucked.”
Tesla groaned and put a hoof on mine, which she gently started to rub. When she saw Starry staring at her, she quickly jolted her hoof behind her back, realizing he still didn’t know (or so she thought).
Starry looked at me with his brows raised, grinning. I looked at Tesla, then back at him. I matched his grin and nodded. “Yeah, she finally told me.”
Starry looked at Tesla and exclaimed, “Well, it took ya long enough!”
Tess cocked her brow at him, then narrowed her eyes; I could see the daggers. “Did… did you know?” Starry snickered and nodded.
She looked like she was about to pounce on him. I figured I should intervene before her head blew like a volcano. I tapped her hoof, and her expression immediately softened as she looked back at me. I tried, but failed at suppressing a smirk. “I did, too.” She looked like she was about to cry.
Tess put all fours back on the floor and stomped her hoof. “Why didn’t you tell me? I had no idea how to tell you!”
“I didn’t either! What was I supposed to say? ‘Hey, do you like me?’ What if I was wrong? That would’ve been so awkward!”
Tess hung her head and started making circles on the floor with her hoof, glancing at me through the tops of her eyes. “Well… I guess that’s true… But what about you? Why didn’t you say anything?” She pointed a hoof at Starry and glared daggers at him again.
“Me? I, well… Buck it, I honestly have no excuse,” he sighed.
“Dang RIGHT you don’t!” Tess shouted. Then she stomped into the hallway, trying and failing to slam the slowly-closing door. Starry and I couldn’t help but snicker again.