It took all night to assemble a team to put a sheet of wood over the window. A few heads were turned when they saw Sonic in my arms (I had wrapped him up in a blanket to avoid being seen), but not enough concern was raised to speak up about it. Finally, at six in the morning, the window was boarded up, the the crew left. My mother and I sat in silence on the couch, hot cocoa steaming from our mugs. Sonic continued to sleep soundly, more relaxed.
I looked up at my mother.
“How is this even possible?” She asked, “I still can’t believe…Grandpa was right…! I thought he was crazy for believing they were real…! And yet…!”
There didn’t seem to be much point in keeping the truth from her any longer. I knew she would try to get the truth eventually, and I knew it would very well lead to trouble.
“It’s because he saw one,” I finished, “He saw Sonic.”
“But…! How did he get here?”
“He was in the basement the entire time. Grandpappy saved him. He put him in stasis until the time was right for me to find him.”
“So his secret job he had…he was part of it?”
“I don’t know much about that. Grandpappy didn’t have much information in his computer other than basic information about Sonic. I don’t think Sonic could even tell me. Whatever it was, it wasn’t great.”
I grew saddened. I looked down at Sonic again, adjusting the blanket covering him.
“Grandpappy could very well have saved him…”
I looked up.
“Mom…He’s the last of his kind…”
Mother’s expression changed from shock, to horror, and even sympathy.
“He entrusted Sonic to me, to protect him, to keep him safe. I get the feeling he may have known the whole time about South Island’s destruction.”
My eyebrows furrowed.
“That’s why he’s staying with me, Mom. At first it was because he had to. Now it’s because he wants to. I’m determined to keep my promise to Grandpappy, not because I want to honor his wish, but because Sonic’s my friend.”
Mother said nothing. There was a long period of silence. I checked the clock to see morning was approaching. Then, I stood up, Sonic still in my arms.
“I’m going to bed” I resolved tiredly.
As I was halfway up the stairs, I heard:
“I’ve always loved you, Luana…”
“Even if I don’t always express it, I still love you.”
I said nothing, and continued up the stairs.
The next day was quiet and somber. Curiously, Sonic was still sleeping in the bed. His emotional breakdown must’ve exhausted him extremely. I was too. I resolved to text my friends at the theater to let them know I’d be there late that morning. I checked the guest bedroom. Mother had gone. The bed was neatly made and the extra blankets were gently folded. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see her leave. At the same time, I wondered if she’d ever try to come again. I found myself walking down the stairs and wandering into the entryway. It was then that I saw a large package sitting by the door. I walked over to it and bent down. There was a label on it that read:
I was surprised to actually get something from my mother. I hadn’t had a gift from her in years, let alone a Christmas gift. I could have waited until Christmas Day to open it. However, the curiosity of what it could be ate away at me. Finally, I put a finger underneath the wrapping, and began tearing it away.
When I tore it all away, I was shocked to see a hand-painted portrait. It was me, from years ago, in my Princess Anna costume. It looked exactly like one of the photos in my photoshoot, only painted with graceful brush strokes. There was a note sticking out of the frame. I took it and began to read:
Your Grandpappy sent me this picture of you, and it’s always on my desk, both at work and at home. I know you’re angry with me, and wish I could’ve been there more often. Please know that I worked, not with the intention to load you off on your grandparents, but to provide you with everything to advance your passions. I hope that soon, we can begin traveling the road to growing our relationship, and be a family once more.
Merry Christmas, Lu.
“Wow…That’s really beautiful.”
I turned around to see Sonic behind me, staring at the portrait. He still appeared fatigued.
“Your mom’s gone, isn’t she?” he asked.
I slowly nodded. Sonic frowned. I stood up, and stared at the portrait for a few minutes.
“Lu, I think you should consider patching things up with your mom.”
I was surprised.
“What?” I asked.
“I know she’s done a lot of bad things, but…If there’s a chance, I think you should try…There’s nothing more important than family.”
I chuckled, dryly.
“There you go with the fortune-cookie wisdom, Sonic…” I joked.
Sonic giggled. I added in all seriousness:
“I appreciate your optimism. But sometimes…Things don’t work out, even if they are your family.”
“I get it. But it never hurts to try.”
“Come on, I think we need more sleep. We’ve got a real packed next few weeks ahead of us.”
“For once, I wholeheartedly agree…!” He sighed.
We sat on the couch together, got under a nice warm blanket, and fell asleep.
Before long, Christmas Day was upon us. The charity shows had been finished, and the theatre made a record amount of donations. Normally, I always loved the constant work that came with planning shows. But it had been an unusual year, and I was grateful to have a break. I did however, planned a traditional Christmas dinner, with of course, the inclusion of chili dogs for Sonic. I was excited to have someone I cared about celebrate with me.
The Christmas tree glittered in the morning sunlight. There were only two presents under the tree, both small and in simple boxes. I was suspicious of one of them, since I had never seen it before. Sonic was especially excited and eager to open gifts. I handed him his.
“It was difficult to get something equally cool as a speedy blue hedgehog, but I think I found the right gift!” I declared, mischievously.
Sonic grinned. He tore the ribbon off the box and pulled off the lid. At first, he was confused.
“A watch?” he asked.
“Not just any watch,” I explained, “This is a Smart Watch. It tracks your steps, your vitals, how far you’ve walked, and all kinds of other things!”
Sonic’s eyes widened in awe at that.
He pulled it out and put it around his wrist. He had a smaller wrist than the average human, so it was wound tighter. But after a few quick laps around the house and getting 10,000 steps in under ten minutes, he was very excited and eager to break his personal records.
“Does it play music too?” He inquired.
“Oh yeah! I’ve already taken the liberty of downloading some music for you!”
Sonic passed the other box to me.
“Your turn!” He exclaimed, eagerly.
I eyed him, playfully suspicious. I gently removed the ribbon and opened the box. My jaw dropped. It was a shining silver, heart-shaped locket. I tenderly removed it from the box and held it up to the light. I gasped.
“Sonic…” I breathed.
“Open it” said Sonic.
I put my fingernail in between the crevice and popped it open. There was a picture inside: It was Grandpappy. It wasn’t the same picture as before, but an older one, taken before my time.
“I had some help from some people in town,” Sonic elaborated, “But someone managed to find an old picture of him and photocopy it.”
“How did you even get the money to do this?”
Sonic scratched the back of his head, sheepishly.
“I er, got a job.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Wha-at? You? A job?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yeah, the guy who owned the milkshake shop said he needed someone to deliver stuff for the holiday rush. Obviously, I am the best candidate for a delivery guy!”
“I hope you were careful…”
“Of course! I waited at least five minutes before ringing the doorbell!”
I laughed. Then, I put the locket around my neck. I grinned.
“This is the best Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten!”
“There’s one last thing to do to make this even better!”
I later printed out another photo, and filled in the other side of the locket. Now, it was perfect.