Vinyl had, true to her word, spent the intervening time between Octavia's departure and subsequent arrival eating roughly half her body mass in chocolate fondue treats. It had essentially culminated in a conveyor-belt like motion with the waiter simply depositing a pile of marshmallows, fruit and sweets next to the fountain, and leaving her to it. She was in the very careful process of levitating a stick made of three skewers held together by marshmallows coating every millimetre of it's length into the cascading confectionery goodness. Who would have fruit with chocolate anyway?
It was in this precise zone of concentration that rarely came to Vinyl, that Octavia found her. Or, more accurately, Octavia sidelined in her a full-body-tackle-come-crushing-hug. After recovering the air from her lungs with a few gasping breaths, Vinyl looked up to see the overbearing grin on Octavia's face.
"You..got the...place then?"
Octavia nodded her head in a rapid manner that seemed capable of snapping it off with the force. "Yes! Mr Zimmer said me and Lyra got the place and he wants me to join him next week for a practice session I just can't wait it's gunna be great!"
Vinyl gave Octavia a moment to recoup her breath after the verbal tidal wave. She laughed at the sheer joy across the pony's face, and the massive excitement that caused an uncharacteristic wave of glee through her speech. Octavia soon found herself giggling too, though whether it was giggling at the good news, or giggling at Vinyl giggling, she didn't know.
Inevitably though, Vinyl felt a little uncomfortable with Octavia bearing down on her so much. Although it took Bonbon's interventions to snap her into action. She spied the beige mare out of the corner of her eye, casting a final wink and a wave before leaving with Lyra in tow.
"Hey, Octy. Mind getting off me a sec, the waiter's looking at us funny."
Octavia blushed, Vinyl noticed she seemed to blush quite often nowadays. She carefully stepped off Vinyl, lightly coughing into a hoof to clear her throat. She waited for Vinyl to resettle on her hooves, before tentatively trying the conversation again. This time without the glares from the waiter, who had begun to pat the chocolate stains from Vinyl's marshmallow log with irritated huffs.
"So, what do you wanna do to celebrate, Octy?"
"Oh, ahh..." Octy stared at her hooves, lightly swinging a leg to scuff at the shag-pile carpet. "We could always...go back to my place, if you'd like. I promise to lock those Gargle Blasters away."
"Hey, I'll drink whatever you've got, so long as I don't wake up in your bowtie again!"
Octavia's head shot up, smiling lightly despite the solar heat radiating from her cheeks. "Okay! Shall we..then?"
Vinyl reached out a bent foreleg, taking Octavia's and interlocking them. "We shall, m'lady. Lead the way."
Octavia almost snickered at the gentlemarely gesture, before the pair trotted out of the doorway. The waiter glanced up after them, ensuring they were gone. He sighed, lightly stroking his dark-brown mane before procuring a small, metallic stick from a pocket in his uniform. He clamped the stick between his teeth, releasing a blue light and a buzzing noise from the tip as he set off on his mission.
* * * * * *
Octavia unlocked the door, holding it open for Vinyl to pass through. She followed suit, lightly closing the door behind her, and showing her guest to the living room. The cello was placed on her favourite chair with extreme reverence, while she flung herself onto the couch next to Vinyl. The day had been thoroughly trying, to be fair.
She noticed Vinyl's curious expression, eying the cello case from afar. It took a moment for her to pluck up the courage to ask the question, given what Bonbon had implied to her during the fifteen minute set that had passed in a heartbeat for Vinyl.
"Hey Octy...what song was that you played at the audition, then?"
Octavia once more took up the habit of looking everywhere but at Vinyl. "Oh, it was just...a little piece I wrote. I just felt like writing something...happy."
"I liked it."
Octavia's face turned towards Vinyl with a soft smile. "You did?"
"Yeh...can you...play it for me again?"
Octavia blushed, she wasn't often one for private concerts and had never really played to anypony but herself, and her audiences. To herself, it was more science than art. Perfecting notes, pitches and keys, fine tuning and refining her work. To an audience, it was simply replaying what she had written. Less a thinking pony and more a high-class gramophone. You couldn't intimately play with a theatre full of ponies; the emotion is generalised across the whole, not focused on the one you play to in private.
She nodded hastily, and went to grab the cello case. Carefully unpacking, tuning the pegs, and readying herself. She sat down next to Vinyl, who watched the sheer care and devotion she put into her work with intense fascination. Octavia would have stood, she was more used to it now, but the fifteen minutes of playing earlier had given her achy calves, and she preferred to sit down next to Vinyl this time.
She focused her breath, her heart pounded inside her ribcage, and Vinyl's attempts at motivating smiles only made it worse. She had erupted into a blush that could be considered a biological marvel, scientists would likely comment the pony body didn't even have as much blood in it as Octavia's cheeks appeared to be bearing.
She closed her eyes, recalling the notes, playing them as she did for Hoofz Zimmer, her idol. Yet here she was more nervous, glancing to see the smile on Vinyl's face as she watched her play, those little ruby eyes watching her command the cello. Why did she need the acknowledgement from this mare to play, why did she even care about her opinion?! She was the first pony she had played privately to since her father had taught her the cello, she normally waved most requests away and told them to see her in concert.
But there was something about those eyes, something in them she didn't want to disappoint, never to let them down lest they shimmer over with tears. The very idea of imagining them like that almost choked Octavia, almost prompted tears of her own. Why was she feeling this? The song was supposed to be happy!
She felt a soft hoof on her back, looking to see that the ruby eyes were etched with care. Was she showing her emotions so freely to Vinyl? Did she think she was...weak? Why was she constantly questioning herself like this?
The hoof turned to a caring foreleg across her back, and Octavia instantly found the sensation calming. She found her head naturally leaning towards Vinyl as she played, and was surprised to find Vinyl's shoulder already awaiting her head to lean on it. She gently rested herself on Vinyl's shoulder, still playing on as the other mare gently held Octavia close to her.