Light streamed through the window, baking the room in a gentle warmth. Sleep last night was good; it was much needed. Not like the nightmares she had two nights ago. There was some struggle getting to sleep last night, considering the heavy thoughts that were conquering her mind. But, of course, it was nothing that a little Melatonin and tea couldn't take care of. In an instant, she was fast asleep and all her worries drained away under a pattern of floating Z's.
The pink girl stretched, a tiny smile inching across her lips. There was so much drama going on in her life that she realized she had lost the bubbly girl she always was. It was time to stomp on all the negative buzz with her red boots and dance around the positive. She hopped out of bed cheerfully and planned her outfit for the day.
She gazed into her closet, squinting her eyes in deep contemplation as she stared at the red dresses that filled the space.
"So many choices," she mumbled to herself, tapping her chin in thought. "Oh! Perfect!"
Delighted, she pulled out her signature red halter-dress. The only thing she wore every single day. Yet, she felt her best in it.
She skipped to the shower and hummed to herself while preparing the water.
Today's gonna be a good day. Nothing's gonna ruin it.
She undressed and looked down at her ring. After deciding against taking it off, she stepped into the shower, the warm water welcoming her and putting her into a relaxed trance.
A good day. A good, good day.
She grinned triumphantly, lathering the soap in her hands.
There really is no need to think about Sonic. Or how warm his lips felt the other night…
Her body jolted, releasing her from her trance.
Amy! What's gotten into you? This is supposed to be your time! It's time to stop thinking about everything that bothers you. Including Sonic.
She soaped herself angrily, a beard of bubbles forming on her chin.
Yet… I can't believe I finally kissed him after all these years. I finally know what it feels like, even if he didn't kiss me back… I wonder what it would have felt like if he did…
She leaned her back against the tiled shower wall and sank down onto the floor, goosebumps forming on her skin. She was nearly melting inside her own thoughts.
But still…you're such a jerk to me. You still treat me like a little girl. I take care of you and you run away and disappear on me. It's like you're embarrassed to be around me.
She glared, tucking her knees under her chin.
You'll see, Sonic. One day you're gonna want me when you can't have me anymore. And this is the last time I'm gonna think about you in the shower.
A bell rang into her ears, echoing a familiar tune. Frantically shutting the water off and reaching for a towel, she realized it was her door bell. When she stepped outside, however, there was nobody there except for a yellow envelope on the floor. She took it in her hands, inspecting the envelope for a "to" and "from" address. It was blank. Anticipation coursed through her in rapid waves as she tore open the envelope and pulled out a tri-folded piece of paper.
We would like to cordially invite you to The Tiger at 7:00 p.m. for a special evening.
Dress to impress.
We hope to see you there.
Her eyes panned over the letter again. There were only 4 lines and she was thoroughly confused. Could this be addressed to the wrong person? The wrong Amy, perhaps? What had she done to become recognized by the most elite restaurant in the town? Surely, she couldn't afford it.
She picked up the envelope again, turning it in her hand.
How could this be legitimate if there was no address of any sort? It's probably a scam.
It had always been her dream to dine at The Tiger. It was such a classy environment. Every time she was in town window shopping, she would sneak a peek at the formally dressed people who would stroll right by on their way to The Tiger. Some pulled up in limos. They were so rich, money was practically coming out of their ears.
And the exterior of the restaurant itself was absolutely glamorous. It was wide, with an old-fashioned Chinese-styled arch roofing the bridge that leads to the front entrance. In the summertime, the fountain is turned on and at night, it's divine. In the center of the fountain, there is a beautiful glass statue of a tiger, standing on its hind legs with its mouth open in a silent roar. Little light bulbs rest on the walls of the inside of the fountain illuminating the tiger, the glass reflecting the rays of light in a criss-cross spiderweb pattern and creating a remarkable sight.
Everything about The Tiger was enviable and Amy wanted to go. Badly.
She pouted, the longing inside her gnawing at her viciously.
Perhaps she could show up and see what happens. She could walk up to the front desk and ask for confirmation on the letter. If the letter wasn't sent by them, well then… she'll just slink away embarrassed and continue dreaming about the day that she can dine there.
Her mind was made up. She was going to have to find another outfit in her closet. One that's meant to impress.
She wasted no time in brushing her hair and pulling out a long, elegant red dress out of her closet; the only outfit that was actually different than the others.
She slid it over her head and observed herself in the mirror.
The dress was form-fitting, hugging every curve on her body in the most flattering way. It was a halter-top, which tied into a small bow on the back of her neck and supported her bosom with a girly sweetheart neckline. The hem was long and touched the ground delicately, with a soft gradient of golden sparkles that disappeared as it floated up into the waist line. She felt like a princess.
Wait, just one thing.
She slid off her headband and swapped it for a big red rose which she fastened right below her left ear.
She looked down at the ring on her finger. It was the perfect accessory. She could definitely get used to wearing it.
The pink girl searched for a pair of high heels and a coat and idled her time anxiously before heading out at 6:30. She hadn't felt this nervous in a long time. If the letter was in fact real, then would that mean they would treat her like royalty? She had never been to a fine-dining restaurant before. She always imagined that people were treated to first-class type service. And what would she do there? Would she be eating all alone? Even if dining at this type of restaurant was always a dream of hers, she never imagined she'd be eating by herself. It would be nice to eat with at least one other person.
Her paces slowed to a stop as realization suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks.
She was so excited about her letter from The Tiger that she had completely forgotten that she made Shadow promise to be home by this evening. She looked up at the tall clock tower in the city.
She couldn't possibly go back home just to write a note for him. She'll end up missing the dinner. If there is one, anyway.
He's just gonna have to wait for me on the couch… he knows how to get in. And if he's not there when I get back, I'll kill him.
At long last, she arrived at her destination, butterflies fluttering from within her. She walked through the bridge, adorned with ivory leaves and chandeliers to light the way as she made her way to the front desk.
"Hi," she said, almost breathless. "I got this in the mail…I wasn't sure if this was legit or not."
Her fingers fumbled clumsily for the letter she kept in her purse. Her heart stopped as paper rejected her contact. Had she forgotten the letter at home?
"Um…" she released, trying to fill the awkward silence in the air.
The man at the desk looked at her blankly, folding his arms across his chest. He was dressed appropriately, with a white button-down shirt, red tie and a black blazer.
"Miss, we do not send out invitations," he said flatly.
Her heart sank in both disappointment and humility.
"Oh…well," she began, slowly backing away, "I had a feeling…"
Disappointment trailed in her voice as she felt the hurt climb up her throat. It was silly to get so excited over something that seemed too good to be true. Or anything, for that matter; anything that wasn't 100% certain.
"Thank you," she said, turning her back on the man and walking away.
She turned around, briskly, meeting with a smiling woman wearing a more fitted version of the uniform the man was wearing.
"Me?" she asked, feeling stupid.
"Amy Rose, yes?"
"Y-yes! That's me," she answered.
The woman beamed at her as she motioned for her to follow.
"Come with me. We have a reservation for you right this way."
Those excited butterflies came back, flapping their wings in the pit of her stomach. They were waiting for her! The letter was actually real!
Amy looked at the man as she passed by him.
And you. You should be fired.
He looked at her, an annoyed expression dominating his face. She stuck her tongue out at him before disappearing into the dimly lit corridor.
"Here you are. This will be your room. Let me know if you need anything," said the woman as she flashed one last friendly smile before leaving her.
The room was filled with so many unfamiliar faces. Where was she supposed to sit? Was there any arranged seating? She looked around, feeling out of place. This was the type of setup that usually involved private parties. It seemed that everyone seated at the round tables all knew each other. There were no single tables.
Suddenly, her eyes landed on a familiar-looking face.
Hey, is that Knuckles? How can he afford it here?
He was dressed in a blazer and a black bow tie as he threw his head back in a fit of laughter. Well, someone definitely looked like he was having a good time. Her eyes trailed over to the rest of the table, realizing that he was not alone.
The fox was dressed to match Knuckles, also bursting into giggles.
Amy began to walk, curiosity surging within her. Somehow, she knew something was up. And as she walked closer, Rouge popped into her view, the beautiful bat clad in a very form-fitting sparkling midnight blue dress. Could they have all gotten the same letter?
Rouge looked up, her eyes growing wide in excitement as they fixated on Amy. The white bat stood up, raised her glass of champagne and clanked a spoon against it.
"Everyone!" she called out, silencing the room.
Amy approached the table and whispered frantically, "Guys, what the heck is going on here?"
But neither Knuckles nor Tails said anything to her. They both beamed at her awkwardly; nervously, actually.
"Everyone, please give a round of applause to Miss Amy Rose!" Rouge sang out and the whole room whistled and cheered wildly.
Confusion penetrated Amy's mind violently. There was not a single thought in her head that could reason what could be going on.
"What is this? What are you doing?!" Amy continued to whisper. "Rouge!"
Rouge turned to her, excitement glowing in her eyes. But she didn't say anything. Instead, she directed her attention to the west corner of the room where she shouted,
"And can we get a round of applause for this lucky fellow right here—Mr. Shadooooow the hedgehog!"
From his corner, Shadow stood up from his seat and slowly came into view, spot lights turned to him.
"Come on over here, Shadow!"
Amy watched in horror. Why was Shadow here? He was supposed to be home! But the more her thoughts circled around her, the more she began to form an idea about what this was about.
And she didn't like it one bit.
The black hedgehog appeared by Amy's side as the room continued to roar wildly. It took some time for Rouge to tame them back into silence.
"Now, you guys, we all gathered here tonight because we want to extend our most heartfelt congratulations. A toast! To Shadow and Amy Hedgehog!"
The room held up their glasses and screamed an excited simultaneous, "Cheers!"
Amy glared daggers at Rouge.
"What are you doing?! A toast to what?" Amy yelled, trying to talk over the loud voices that filled the room once more.
"To you and Shadow! Congrats! Happy engagement, sweetie!" Rouge answered, delightedly.
How could Rouge have found out? She hadn't told anybody about the ring.
Rouge looked at Shadow, disgusted.
"Shadow, I told you to at least wear a bowtie. A white one."
He looked down, inspecting himself. He was not wearing anything at all.
"What's wrong with the way I'm dressed?"
Rouge rolled her eyes.
"Rouge, can I talk to you?" Amy interrupted, furiously.
"Hold on a minute," Rouge said. "Can I have a mic?"
A member of the staff walked over and handed Rouge a microphone.
"I love you guys, wonderful service," she beamed at the staff member before turning back to the rest of the room.
"Ok, Sonic the hedgehog, I can see you over at Table 8. You were assigned Table 1. Get your blue behind over here and congratulate these two lovebirds!"
This was a disaster. Amy was officially living in a nightmare. She pinched at her elbow, hoping she would wake up and still be in the comfort of her room.
She was already awake.
She watched as Sonic stood up slowly; hesitantly. He was also wearing a blazer and bow tie. The pink girl couldn't help but hold her breath. He looked devilishly cute and she couldn't deny it. Her cheeks turned rosy pink as he approached them, looking down at his feet the entire time.
"Hey, congrats you guys," Sonic said, making minimal eye contact.
Amy's heart sank.
"Sonic, what were you doing at Table 8? You knew you were sitting with us," Rouge said, annoyed.
"Heh, sorry. Just tryna catch up with old buds. I'm here now," he said, holding his arm out as he playfully took a bow.
"You sure you weren't just jealous that your rival stole your girl?" Knuckles teased.
Sonic snapped upright, violently glaring at Knuckles.
"What are you talking about? I don't have a girl. Never did, never will."
"Ohhh, so that's why you've been avoiding the main table all night. So you wouldn't have to witness your ex-girlfriend getting stolen away."
"You're one to talk, Knuckles. You've never even had a relationship and you're too shy to ask out the girl you dream about every night," Sonic shot back, cocking his head towards Rouge's direction.
Rouge looked at the two with a playful smirk.
"I always knew Knuckles had a crush on me. Too bad I'm out of his league," she said, slyly.
Sonic burst into laughter as the red echidna looked away, embarrassed.
"You guys just like to gang up on me," he said, defensively.
"Not denying it, huh, Knuckles!?" Sonic continued laughing.
"Shut up, Sonic! I've never even talked about Rouge before."
Amy drowned out the scene to tend to her thoughts. She was going to have to tell everyone that she wasn't engaged. But when Sonic suddenly showed up, anger consumed her. And in a sense, she thought: to hell with it. Because she was tired of chasing after someone who didn't appreciation her; who didn't want her the way she wanted him. Enough was enough. Maybe it was time to finally move on. And maybe that's why she went along with it throughout the night as she was asked questions about her and Shadow.
"So Amy," Rouge turned to her, "how did this proposal happen?"
Bingo. The question she was afraid to be asked. She could just easily come out right now and admit that there was no proposal. She racked her mind for something to say.
"Oh, well, you know…" she said unsurely, looking down.
"You're right. I do know."
Amy looked up to meet with Rouge's mischievous eyes. Without question, Rouge provided an answer:
"I saw you two at the jewelry store when he gave you the ring. Not exactly the most romantic of places…but I suppose beggars can't be choosers. You're a bride-to-be!"
"Y-yeah, you got it…" Amy rubbed her arm nervously.
"Thank goodness you got my letter. I told Tails here to slide it under your door but instead he decided to ring the doorbell and run away. I thought by the time you got to the door, the wind would have snatched it up."
Amy trembled in horror. But at this point, she shouldn't be surprised.
"The letter was from you?"
Suddenly, the DJ dimmed the lights and the music began to play.
"How are y'all doin' tonight, ladies and gents?" boomed the voice of the DJ through the speakers. The guests cheered in excitement.
Rouge grabbed Amy's hand, tugging her to the direction of the dancefloor.
"Come on, let's dance. We can talk all about wedding planning," she winked.
Amy swallowed the lump in her throat as she followed Rouge. For what it was worth, she would have to make the best out of this night and figure out what to do with the rest of this mess later.