I spent the rest of the afternoon in my room. I managed to talk myself out of bawling my eyes out over Shadow's reaction to me; it probably didn't mean much to him, after all. He probably wouldn't think anything of it afterwards. I counted my blessings; he didn't scoff at me and call me stupid or anything; he asked me a simple question, I answered it, and he gave his response, and that was it. So it could have been considered a legitimate conversation he indeed did talk to me, so I could raise my existence to him a significant level. But despite the good feelings I gained, I refused to come out of my room. I felt like there was still something I should have been wary of; I needed recovery time before I saw Shadow again.
Every once in a while, I would remember Cream and cringe as I thought about her waiting for me. I hoped that she wouldn't be angry with me for sleeping in and missing her departure, but then again, what could I do? It wasn't like she was leaving our house for good. She would come back that evening.
And after dinner, she did. I had stayed in my seat while everyone left strictly because I had not even finished my food yet. I couldn't bear to think of Cream or Shadow now; both of them had me worried for so many reasons. It felt like I had eaten all my thoughts, leaving no room for food.
The front door creaked open and her small, petite footsteps made their way into the front hall. My ears perked; I heard her sweet voice calling out her arrival, and instantly guilt smacked me in my face. Several voices from upstairs greeted her back. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. What was I to expect from her? Was she angry? Okay? Would she ignore me? It was my fault for making her leave alone. I was too stupid and caught up in my own romantic dreams than to remember my best friend's need for me. I felt like a greedy, selfish brat.
When Cream walked into the kitchen, my face apparently showed my anxiety, because her cheerful disposition turned into concern when she looked at me. The air felt heavier, as did my heart and fork. My hands shook, and to hide it, I placed my fork down and folded my hands in my lap. Her bag was flopped onto the floor, but I didn't look up. Cream pulled a chair out and sat down in front of me. Seconds ticked by before either of us said anything. I finally dropped my head and stared at my plate. I could barely look at her anymore because I couldn't understand why she was so quiet.
"Are you alright, Amy? You're the last one here
" Cream trailed off, examining the remains of my food on my plate. That was what she had said, putting sympathy and concern into every syllable, but her words were empty. Her mind was focused on something else. She was a good actress for her age.
"Cream, I'm so sorry for this morning." I snapped my eyes shut. "Like, you have no idea how bad I feel right now."
Cream stayed silent. I pictured her long ears drooping, her eyes turning sad with a frown upon her face. The thought made me want to cry. But suddenly, I heard her giggle.
"Amy, is that what you're worried about?" she replied. I looked up at her. She was smiling, close to laughing. I was shocked. "It's okay you missed me. Mother thought it was silly. And besides, I'm getting older, Amy; soon I won't need you to even bother saying goodbye to me before I leave!"
She had stable points, yes, but I still wasn't convinced. I looked to the side, still avoiding eye contact with the young rabbit. She sighed after giggling, finally seeing my gloominess. Cream frowned at me, scanning me for hints as to what was bugging me still.
"Really, Amy, it's alright
" Cream continued in all seriousness. "I mean, people make mistakes. It wasn't like I was leaving forever and you didn't say goodbye."
I shifted my gaze at her. Her big brown eyes were filled to the brim with pity. "If you're sure
" I trailed off as the problem concerning her was replaced with the problem concerning Shadow.
"Absolutely. Don't worry too much over it."
Silence loomed over both of us after that. It made Cream uncomfortable; she shifted in her seat several times. I felt awful for making her feel that way, but I felt like I couldn't do anything about it. I had too many things to think about. I began to question whether all of the effort and emotions involving love were worth my time; if it meant making the people around me worry about me, I wondered if love was even worth my time. But I really wanted Shadow by my side, too. I was completely confused.
? What's wrong, really?"
I brought my head up guiltily. She was on to me, too, but I couldn't bring myself to say anything. I felt like Shadow's silence was contagious. She leaned over the table. For a moment, I thought she was going to knock on my head to get me back to reality.
"Is it about Mr. Shadow?" Cream asked quietly. I jumped at the name, my face erupting in red.
"W-what?! N-no! It's not about him! Why would you think that?!" I exclaimed, unaware as to how loud I was. Cream smiled at me, fighting laughter; she and I both knew I was lying. I switched the subject to cover it up. "A-anyways, Cream, what did you do at your mom's house today?"
" she sighed, ignoring my attempt at changing subjects. "It's okay if you're thinking about him. But what I want to know is why you're acting sad when you think about him; with Mr. Sonic, you at least looked happy when you thought about him. But now you're so sad all the time
Cream was more than right. I did seem like I was sad whenever I thought about Shadow; in fact, that was probably the reason why he acted the way he did that morning. Perhaps when he saw me deep in thought, I looked depressed, and wondered what was wrong, and when I gave him the honest answer, he didn't know how to take it.
"You're right, Cream. I'm sorry
" I trailed off. "I guess I don't know what to do."
"Maybe you should eat." She pointed to my plate. I smiled and took a bite of my food. "All of it, I mean. I don't want your health to suffer from this, too, Amy; so if you eat, I'll help find a solution to your problem."
Being raised in a household where clearing your plate was of the utmost importance, Cream was definitely one that knew how to bribe. I felt like a little kid when I agreed to the deal, but while I ate, she shot off suggestions for the reasoning behind my sadness when I thought of the black hedgehog. Though all of them weren't the kind of things I thought were logical in my situation, I appreciated her company and assistance. Some of the explanations were stress out of shortness of time, aftershocks of Sonic's rejection to me, and the fact that Shadow himself was a sad guy, and thus thinking about a sad guy made me sad. Together, they made sense, but it didn't satisfy me. But finally, as I drank the last few sips of my tea, she had an "eureka" moment.
"What if your heart and mind are conflicting, Amy?" she asked. I set my glass down doubtfully. She continued, "I mean, what if your heart wants Mr. Shadow, but your mind is still confused as to who to chase? You've been after Sonic for years now, setting your head into auto-pilot and making yourself go after him, whether your heart wants to or not. And now that your heart wants Shadow, your head doesn't know what it should do."
It suddenly made sense. I thought it through, musing on every possibility, and nodded in response to her. She smiled. There was one little problem, though.
"How do I make my mind follow my heart?"
Judging by the stunned facial expression, Cream had no idea what to say. Neither did I. The only things that came out of her mouth were stammers, and then she fell silent, bringing her hand up to her chin pensively. I swallowed as I watched her for a few seconds, then I forced laughter.
"Ha, ha, look at me, I'm so philosophical about this stuff, Cream! I'm so crazy
" I trailed off, sighing. "Just forget about it. I'll think of "
"Amy, I got it!" Cream snapped her fingers. She leaned over the table again. "All you have to do is spend more time with Shadow."
It was like the sun was thrown on top of me. I could feel my cheeks redden, and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. The name was enough to launch me into a spiral of embarrassment, but the context of the sentence seemed to echo for an eternity before I could stutter anything out.
"W-W-WHAT?!?!?" I yelped. Cream almost threw herself over the table when she clasped a hand over my mouth.
"Shh! Someone might hear!!" Cream whispered harshly. "But Amy, think about it! If you force your mind into concentrating on the only thing next to you, Mr. Shadow, for example, then your mind will slowly realize what's going on. That way, your heart will enjoy itself with Mr. Shadow and your mind will be on the mend!"
My eyes spoke for my voice at her; wide and frightened. I couldn't possibly achieve the task of getting close to Shadow and not explode with excitement or make an embarrassment of myself at the same time. I could barely talk to him without sounding like an idiot. Having said that, doing such a task on a regular basis would be exceedingly impossible for someone like me. If I tried, it would only end in inevitable pain.
"I can't do it, Cream! I can't!" I whispered after breaking free from her grasp. I was on the verge of tears. I was scared that Shadow wouldn't allow me around him so much, or if he would think that me being around him soften was creepy; there were so many risks in doing what she was telling me to do.
"Amy, I know you can if you try hard enough
"But if he doesn't want me there
I'll have to deal with rejection again
he'll be just like Sonic
!" I was crying now, hot tears pouring from my eyes. I could only think of all those times Sonic had rejected me, rolled his eyes, or just ran away from me like it was some sort of game. I didn't want to see Shadow like that. I never wanted to see anyone be like that to me ever again.
Cream reached out to me, offering her sympathy, but I simply stood up, refusing it abruptly. I turned and dashed out of the kitchen, heading for my room. My eyes were shut tightly behind my hands shielding them from any unwanted attention. I didn't care if anyone was watching me; I wanted to get away from the pain that I had inflicted on myself. It wasn't Cream's fault that I was sad; it was my own. If I had never chased Sonic day after day, I would have never been sad like the way I was.
In an instant, I collided with something, nearly sending it crashing to the ground. Luckily, it was sturdy, but not only that, it grabbed my shoulders. I was startled and confused, my tears coming to an abrupt halt that caught me off guard; nothing except time could stop my crying when I was in a state like I was in. I brought my hands down and my eyes up to see a pair of crimson eyes staring down at me. It was Shadow.
I thought I would have started bawling my eyes out in front of him again, or at least felt like my heart was being torn out, but the way he looked at me gave me ease. Something about his posture, his face, and just he himself made me feel hopeful. It was as if he knew what I was worrying about and fought them off. Though I couldn't smile through my tears, I was filled to the brim with joy that he showed up. I wanted to hug him but my limbs were so heavy from embarrassment. I knew my face was red, too. I had to get away from him before I lost control of myself, but I couldn't motivate myself.
"Amy, are you alright?" he asked in his normal monotone voice. To me, though, it sounded sweeter than normal; I had never heard him say such a thing to me. It warmed my heart and my face. My sadness vanished into thin air. I simply nodded, smiling slightly. "Good
um, pardon me
With that, he let me go, sliding by me and walking down the hallway towards the kitchen. I saw Cream smile at him casually. I was stunned; my worries felt like they weighed a million tons but as soon as he came into contact with me, I felt weightless, like I had wings on my back. Cream ran towards me, arms outstretched. She hugged me tightly, and for a moment or two, I thought she was crying, too.
"Amy, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you cry!! Forgive me!" Cream apologized repeatedly. I said nothing, only making a sound of agreement. By the time she looked up at me, I had a smile imprinted on my face. My tears were dried up as I gazed after the black hedgehog. Perhaps, I thought, it wouldn't be so hard being around him.