'Stop staring at her hair! Stop staring at her hair! Stop staring at her hair!' This was the mantra Shining Armor chanted to himself.
"Shining Armor?" her voice cut through his train of thought like a knife.
He shook his head bringing himself back to reality.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I asked if you were hungry. I prepared all your favorite dishes."
"Well I...wait. How do you know my favorite dishes?"
"Shiny, I think we know each other a little bit better than you might be willing to admit." she smirked.
Shining Armor leaned on the counter and gave her a smirk of her own.
"Oh yeah? Prove it!"
"Ask me anything."
'This is perfect! Mom always used to say that a good way to tell if you were in love was if you knew the pony inside and out! Once Cadance sees she doesn't know as much about me as she thought I'll be in the clear!
"Okay," his smirk was still going on strong. "Favorite color?"
"Purple. Same shade as Twiley."
"Lucky guess." His smirk weakened a little bit. "My goal in life?"
"You're living it."
His smirk was shrunk quite a bit.
"Favorite childhood hero?"
"I'm going to say that uncle of yours in the fancy uniform."
The smirk was gone now, all that remained was a straight face.
"Me. No that was just a joke. The real answer is dogs, because they're so loyal."
"Favorite food?" he was frowning in fear now.
She placed a full bowl on the counter "This tomato soup right here."
'I'm in trouble.' Shining Armor thought while swallowing a lump in his throat.
"Wait...the real answer is my MOM'S tomato soup. Nopony makes it like she does."
"Twiley gave me the recipe," Shining Armor took a spoon and decided to take a little taste. "I couldn't stop myself from adding a personal touch to it though so it may taste a little..."
Putting the spoon back he hung his head in defeat. "It's better than the soup my mom makes. I don't know what you did, but you've improved the flavor."
Cadance felt her heart soar as she failed to suppress her smile.'He likes my cooking!'
"Ya know Shining Armor, I'd be willing to bet that you'd know the answers to all those questions if they were directed at me."
Shining Armor thought for a moment and then stomped his hoof on the ground. 'Darn it, she's right!'
"Well then..." she flipped her free flowing hair and accidentally hit him in the face. "Let's find a table then, shall we?"
Shining Armor stood silently with his eyelids lowered until Cadance was leaving the kitchen. Then he spent the next two minutes spitting out stray strands of Cadance's hair which got stuck in his mouth.
Deciding it was all out now, he turned around to see Cadance carrying the food on a tray with her magic. Reluctantly he found himself staring at her hair again as she walked past him.
'Wow. Has Cadance always been this beautiful? No!! Bad Shining Armor!! Don't go thinking those thoughts!!'
Cadance sat down on the nearest table available and flipped her hair behind herself.
'Still, kind of hard to believe I never noticed her like this before. Maybe it was because I knew her so well it was hard for me to imagine her in this kind of light.'
"Care to join me, Shining Armor?"
The growling in his stomach answered her question for him. "Okay, but don't go thinking this means anything."
"Oh no! No! That's not the point of all this!" she stressed. "This is just supposed to be a nice meal for two. No worrying about the bet or love or any of that stuff. Just two friends having lunch together, does that sound okay to you?"
He sat across from her, giving her a suspicious look. "I suppose."
He patiently waited but nothing happened, he couldn't wait any longer. "Well?"
"Aren't you going to pull something? Some kind of trap or flirt or something that will put me in an awkward position?"
Cadance placed her hooves on her lap and gave Shining Armor a very serious look. "What did I just say? But, to be fair I suppose I deserve that. With all of my advances towards you, you probably think I'm some crazy stalker who only wants one thing."
"Well 'stalker' is a little bit of an exaggeration I should think."
"What I'm trying to say here is 'I'm sorry'. Sorry for acting all crazy with you, the only thing it's done is cripple my own cause. I mean honestly, what part of my plans was supposed to get you to say that you love me?"
Shining Armor gave a cautious smile. "Okay Cadance, against my better judgement I'm going to trust you. Either way this turns out, I still want us to be friends."
The dreaded f word, Cadance was going to have to tread lightly now just to avoid it.
Shining Armor was enjoying the daisy and oats sandwich that was made for him when he suddenly stopped. He pulled out of his mouth a long blonde string of hair.
"Cadance, I have two words for you. Hair. Net."
The only thing Cadance could do was blush sheepishly.
Outside of that though, the meal had gone every bit as swimmingly as Twilight had predicted. They talked about small things like the weather, recent books read and things like that. It was a genuine good time to be had by all.
Time passed and the food was eaten, Shining Armor couldn't remember a time he had a more delightful meal. He patted his belly fully satisfied while Cadance smiled contently.
'I would be such a good wife!' she thought to herself.
"Well that was enjoyable but we still got a problem."
"Huh? OH! We're still locked in aren't we?"
"Yeah, but I've thought of a solution."
Cadance raised an eyebrow at him. "Really?"
"Eeyup. Just follow me to the door." As he got up he paused for a moment in thought. "Did I just sound a little southern there?"
"A little bit."
"Well I"m never going to do that again. Come on."
At the door Cadance tried the handle but it was still locked, she turned to the object of her affection. "Okay so what's your solution?"
He smirked. "Just hold on to me."
She didn't need to be told twice as she threw her arms around his neck. "I thought you said you weren't going to pull this kind of stuff?!"
"During the meal. But we're done eating aren't we?"
"Sigh! Fine!! Get cozy!!! Won't take long anyways!!"
His horn glowed bright with his magic and in a flash of light he and Cadance were teleported outside in front of the door.
"I didn't know you could teleport."
Shining Armor shrugged nonchalantly. "Turns out any unicorn can get it if they practice at it hard enough. Maybe there are some things you don't know about me after all."
Cadance returned the smirk he was wearing. "And I intend to find them all out."
".......You know you can let go now."
"Yeah. I know."
The stallion rolled his eyes as he politely took her arms off of him and started to walk back to the castle. "Thank you for the meal, Cadance. It was a very nice experience."
If Shining Armor had looked behind himself as he walked he would have seen his little sister showing up next to Cadance.
"You set up the mistletoe?" Cadance's eyes had never left Shining Armor's back.
"All over the castle. Time to go in for the kill. I gotta get back to my friends though."
"That's fine Twiley, you've already helped me so much today. Thanks to you, I know I'll get him!!"