Grownups With Secrets To Tell

You know that feeling where you think you're going to burst? Like you're in so much agony that you just don't know how you're even breathing anymore? Like you're going to just...die, and you hope you will too because - god - it just hurts so much? Amy did. Moments before, she hadn't, but now the pink hedgehog was consumed by that shock, that piercing pain that went straight for her heart as though someone was trying to squeeze it to bits. She felt like she couldn't breathe, like her whole body would burst, that her knees would give way and she'd just lose it right then and there. But she didn't. She didn't know how, but she remained perfectly composed even though everything inside of her had shattered, and she remained poised even as she stared straight into the eyes of those that had hurt her so.

Tails' workshop, in which Amy stood just at the entrance with her hand still holding the knob of the front door, had been intensely, though professionally, decorated with bright crepe paper that twirled around the room. Just seconds ago when she had first opened the door, her best friends had jumped out of various hiding places within the lodging, screaming "Surprise!" and blasting confetti in the air. Amy nearly fainted, so shocked she was. After recovering from her bewilderment, Amy had become ecstatic that the Sonic gang had thrown her a party, especially considering the fact that there had been absolutely no reason to do so. It was so thoughtful of them! She truly did have the best of friends! How lucky she was to have such amazing people in her life!

Only, the party wasn't for her. This she realized when Knuckles, dressed in a hot pink hula skirt (the result of a lost bet, no doubt) stomped his foot and slammed his party squawker to the ground. "Amy!" he whined."We don't have any more confetti!ยจ

While confused for a moment or so, Amy began to notice the other decorations, like the balloons taped to the walls and the table full of wrapped gift boxes and - what was especially hard to miss - a giant banner that hung across the room that read, "Congratulations Tails!"

Oh right. Of course. Naturally it would be a party for Tails, since he would be going away soon to Princeton Academy, the most elite boarding school on the planet. Of course a party would be thrown for him.

But...why hadn't Amy known about it?

For a moment she thought that maybe she had forgotten. She tried her utmost to remember receiving the invitation, whether by word of mouth or paper, but no such memory came about. She must have REALLY forgotten then. There would be no reason for her not to be invited as she was one of Tails' closest friends. Besides, she had been the one with the idea in the first place, since she was the one of the gang who usually planned these sort of things. She had recommended a party months ago, but Sonic had said there was no need for that. She could see now why her good intentions had been a bust: there had already been a surprise bash in mind. But this was definitely a mistake. Definitely.

She looked in Sonic's direction for confirmation. He wore a pair of goofy glasses with a plastic mustache attached to them. He also wore a strange countenance, like he had something to say but not the courage to say it. His head was turned away to the floor while he scratched his head with his giant foam finger, and just the way he stood emitted a most subtle definition.

Guilty.

It was SO obvious! But Amy couldn't accept it. Not yet. It MUST have been a mistake.

"Amy!" The hedgehog looked towards Cream, who skipped to her happily and grabbed her hands. "I'm so happy you made it! Sonic had said you couldn't come! I was so disappointed! But you're here now! Tails is going to be so happy!"

Sonic bit his lip and turned his body further to the side. Amy tried to gather some assurance - any - from Knuckles or Rouge, even the Chaotix who stood awkwardly by the refreshment table, but everyone was silent. The echidna and the bat wore the same guilty stance as Sonic did, as if they were in on what was happening. And Amy knew it now, the painfully obvious situation that screamed at her.

She wasn't wanted.

In just a second, where the reality of the matter slapped her in the face, her world burned up in flames. She learned, in that one moment, what it felt like to not belong where you thought you were born to be your whole life. Now she knew what it was like to have your trust completely broken and what it felt like to be stranded in the middle of a room full of people that did not want to save you. She knew it now but, man, she wished she didn't.

"Amy? What's wrong?" This Cream asked with absolute innocence, completely unaware of what was happening around her, when a stray tear trembled down Amy's cheek. Quickly the pink hedgehog wiped it away, already humiliated enough as it was. But Sonic had seen it, that tear that sneaked away, and he opened his mouth to say something, to explain himself and to talk the pain away, but no words came out. Amy spun around and reached for the outdoors, for fresh air and freedom to cry, but instead she crashed into the yellow arms of a fox.

Tails said her name, frowning at her heartbroken expression. He looked up to see his workshop transformed and noticed immediately that there were three grownups with secrets to tell. Before he could inquire any further, Amy broke free from Tails' grasp and ran faster than she ever had in her life, away from her friends, away from the secrets, away from the origins of her broken heart. Her dignity was already shattered and she did not need to break down in front of the ones who had hurt her.

Tails stared after her. Once she was out of sight, he turned and glared at Sonic, who looked like he was about to cry too. The fox said absolutely nothing. He only stared. And that was enough to express every word he wanted to scream in that moment. Tails dismissed everyone from his workshop, not bothering to acknowledge the party that was supposed to happen. The Chaotix left gracefully, shaking his hand and apologizing for their inability to intervene in the situation. Rouge said nothing as she left; she kept her head down and avoided his gaze. Knuckles was similar, but the echidna shot a fierce look at the blue hedgehog before parting. Tails shut the door behind him, cornering Sonic like he was a beaten animal.

"Explain yourself," Tails demanded in a rage.

"In a low whisper, Sonic could only respond, "I can't."