Octavia juggled the various utensils and pans simmering away in her kitchen. It was beginning to dawn on her that perhaps an entire three-course meal may be a bit more than was necessary to prove the point. However, Octavia had made her bed, and she was perfectly willing to lay in it...as long as it was otherwise empty, that is.
The daisies simmered in the baine-marie, while she lightly fried some cowslips in olive oil. The lettuce was being steamed nicely, she felt she could quite happily declare this dinner a success. It was difficult to fail in creating a salad at least, but she had prepared a delicious basil and parsley dressing for it, making it a touch more interesting than simple leaves and flowers. A recipe she had adapted from her favourite cookbook, Olive-Oil: The Naked Chef.
A staccato trio of knocks came from the door. A glance at the clock nearby revealed the time to be seven o'clock exactly, the minute hoof barely brushing against the twelve o'clock mark. Octavia felt that somepony must have been eager. She had just enough time to ensure the cutlery was correctly arranged as she trotted to the door. Octavia carefully opened the door, and found the light of the hallway reflected straight into her eyes. Shielding them with a hoof, she could now see her guest in all her inconspicuous glory.
"What are you wearing?!"
Vinyl stroked a hoof down her suit, enjoying the small bumps and indents.
"It's just a little number I used to use for DJ-ing. I thought you said this was a fancy dinner?"
"Yes, fancy indeed!" Octavia could barely stifle a giggle as she saw the awkward mare shifting from hoof to hoof. "So...why did you appear in a tin-foil suit?"
Vinyl's cheeks flared up like little volcanoes, she raised a foreleg, pointing an indignant hoof in Octavia's direction.
"Hey! It's not tin-foil, it's sequins! Sequins over spandex, this was classy a few years back."
In truth, she simply had no other outfits to wear. Not that she'd let Octavia know that.
"Then clearly your understanding of class is extremely lacking."
Octavia waved Vinyl in, still wheezing under the force of her laughing.
"But please, stay away from the light. I like being able to look at you without my eyes smarting."
"Is that a compliment, filly?"
Vinyl raised an eyebrow, stopping next to Octavia with a challenge in her smile.
"Oh hardly, Miss Scratch. If you'll please, to the dining room. First on the left."
Vinyl was certain of it, Octavia was testing her. She sat at the table, a bowl of salad on the plate before her, and no less than seven knives and forks on either side. She remembered that each one was for a different kind of dish, of course, but they were all identical. Whenever she looked up, she saw the smug little tilt of Octavia's lips as her pink eyes rolled in Vinyl's direction, her trademark subtle-yet-sly smile appearing once more. In the end Vinyl bit the bullet, picked up the smallest knife and fork, then dug in. Everything fancy was small, at least, that was how she felt it presented itself.
She heard Octavia's laughter before she'd even raised the first daisy to her mouth.
"Of course, eating salad with a dessert fork. Never mind, carry on. It appears to be working."
Octavia raised her own dainty little flower into her own mouth, and bit into it, chewing, while still maintaining her challenging expression. Vinyl took up the challenge, and bit into her daisy. It was good, annoyingly good. Sweet, yet with a subtle edge of tangy sourness to keep the taste alive.
"It's...not bad. Still, you've still gotta try dandelion pop-tarts. Tasty and fast!"
"Oh, this dinner was effortless too, for a cook of my pedigree."
Octavia laughed, waving off the several hours of preparation that went into the meal. She preferred the term, 'dedicated,' as opposed to the, 'obsessive,' label she had often been marked with. The starters passed in near-silence, the only sounds being the crunch of the crisp, juicy lettuce, and the sound of how smug Vinyl felt Octavia was being. She was cornered between enjoying the meal, and admitting how much she was enjoying it to her host.
After the plates had been scoured of all traces of the salad, Octavia collected them together. Within seconds of disappearing into the kitchen, she returned with a roast marrow carefully balanced on a tray between her teeth. The marrow was shrouded in a layer of tinfoil, roasting it to a sweet and juicy texture, and ensuring it didn't lose the taste or moisture into the tray.
"Oh look, Vinyl!"
Vinyl's tongue was bouncing off the floor with the sheer smell of the dish on the table. She gaped at Octavia, eyes a cauldron filled with curiosity, though mostly dominated by gluttonous hunger.
"You and the marrow brought matching jackets!"
Octavia giggled as she peeled the tin foil off, folding it into a neat square, and placing it next to the tray. She didn't know what she enjoyed more, the way Vinyl's jaw slackened with each insult, her ruby-red eyes glazing over slightly, or the intoxicating smell from the marrow below her.
"Oh, come now, why the long face? The guest may cut the first slice."
She took her place, and watched as Vinyl carved a massive hunk from the vegetable, like a foal being given free reign of a cake.
"My, my. Somepony's hungry." Octavia cut herself a much more subdued portion. She'd never had much of an appetite, but imagined Vinyl would. She was most certainly correct. "It's lucky I made such a big marrow, isn't it?"
"Yeh...well, y'know. It's not bad...I could use more. I guess."
It was becoming increasingly difficult to save face with Octavia, especially while she was stuffing it with her cooking. Vinyl never imagined she'd be tortured by good food, but life makes an interesting habit of toying with pleasures.
"Feel free, Vinyl. But while you're pausing for breath, I'd like to hear about your...'DJ-ing,' career."
A small shower of reconstituted marrow burst from Vinyl's overladen mouth as she tried, and failed, to speak.
"Dear Celestia. Ughh, were you raised by mules? Please, at least try and eat or talk, not both!"
Octavia hoped dearly that none of it had landed on her meal, or on herself for that matter. She sighed with relief when the DJ finally finished her mouthful with as much dignity as she could muster. Not that great an amount in her opinion.
"Well, it's harder than you think. Because you gotta get the discs just right, and have to get the right tracks for the audience, to keep 'em going. Oh, and mixing between two tracks takes a lot of practice."
Vinyl buried another forkful of marrow deep into her gullet.
"I'm sure it does, although I can't imagine a cello would be any easier to master."
Having learned her lesson, and taken a smaller forkful this time around, Vinyl found it easier to swallow her food before speaking.
"I dunno, but I played the xylophone in school. Instruments are all the same, right?"
Vinyl tried to keep her face level as she saw the irritation surface on Octavia's.
"Well, hardly! Banging a stick on some bits of metal to make jangly noises like a confounded foal hardly takes any talent at all!"
"And rubbing a stick on some wires does?"
"Oh, you have no idea! It's especially difficult with hooves, you know."
Vinyl tapped her horn.
"Nope. Can't say I do."
"Typical unicorns. It's easy to play an instrument with a horn, everypony's doing it! Try doing your next, 'DJ,' set with only your hooves, I dare you."
Vinyl took a moment to stop eating, setting her hooves defiantly on the table with a wicked glint in her eyes.
"Okay, you're on, Octy."
"Please, for the love of all that is pony...never call me that again."
"I'm holding the marrow knife. Don't tempt me."