"Ms. Rose! Can I please have my smoothie?" A customer could be heard, impatiently.

"I have it right here," Amy responded, handing the customer their smoothie with a straw and a few napkins. She surveyed the area, and to her relief, she had survived the lunch rush. Taking a deep breath, she cleaned up, preparing for the rush that would arrive after everyone was off work.

Today was her day off. However, late last night, Amy received a phone call from her manager stating that the scheduled employees had injured themselves and nobody else wanted to take the shift. As much as she looked forward to her day off, she couldn't turn down the opportunity to earn extra money, even if it meant opening and closing by herself and experiencing moments of burnout.

She's only had this job for a couple of months but has already built a reputation for being reliable and hardworking. It was flattering that her manager could trust her to run the smoothie shop independently. Not wanting to disappoint, she clearly underestimated the difficulty of working without anyone else. Up until now, she had always worked with either one or two coworkers.

The smoothie shop was well known for its fresh and natural smoothies. The fruits were always brought in fresh from farmers or farmer's markets. However, there is a secret ingredient that is added to make it even tastier, but that remains with the employees. It's located in the heart of the city, which is why there is constant foot traffic.

Amy sat down, regaining her energy with a strawberry banana smoothie she had made for herself. A strawberry banana smoothie was her go-to. Her taste buds burst as the sweet and slight tartness of the strawberries meshed well with the overpowering, sweet banana flavor. As she sipped her smoothie, she heard the bells from the door jingle. A customer walked in. Setting her smoothie down, she stood by the register, smiling.

"Hi, how can I help you?" She greeted.

"Hey. What's your most popular smoothie?" he asked, eyeing the menu.

"Um, well, they're all quite popular. Can I introduce you to our smoothie of the week? It's a berry smoothie containing strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries," she suggested.

"Sure. That'll be fine."

"Your name?"

"What?"

"Can I have your name for the order?" Amy asked, awkwardly.

"Oh, sorry. Sonic." He responded.

Amy nodded and wrote his name on his cup. She began to prepare his smoothie, walking into the cooler to retrieve the berries. Grabbing an equal amount of each berry, she finished it with a few other ingredients and placed it in the blender. Hearing the blender go off, she turned around, surprised at Sonic staring at her. When she noticed him staring at her, he quickly turned his head.

She quickly turned back and poured the smoothie into the cup. Placing the lid and grabbing a straw, she walked up to the counter and called out his name.

"Sonic, your smoothie is ready."

He turned to the sound of his name being called and walked up to the counter to retrieve his smoothie. Placing a few coins into the tip jar, he smiled and thanked her. Without saying anything else, he walked out. Amy watched him leave, but she couldn't describe the feeling of their interaction. She had never seen him before. During her short time, there were more regulars than new customers, but even then, she had gotten good at recognizing who was a regular and who was new.

For a Friday, Amy was surprised that there wasn't much of a rush nearing closing. She was relieved, as the earlier rush had tired her out. This would be her sixth day in a row working, and a day off was desperately needed. However, she couldn't turn down any shifts if it meant she could earn extra money. Living in the city isn't cheap, and Amy can't imagine living elsewhere. It's all she's ever known, and she's happy.

When her phone rang, she had just finished closing the shop and was ready to lock the doors. Taking it out of her purse, she saw that it was her manager. Having an odd feeling, she answered.

"Hello?"

"Amy! How are you?"

"I'm good. What's up?" She asked, guessing what they might ask her.

"You see, I don't have anyone else available to work tomorrow. I know it's your day off, and it would be a week straight of you working, but if it's okay with you, I will give you a bonus—just until I can hire more employees."

Amy wanted to sigh but didn't want her manager to listen. Part of her was telling her to decline and take the day off, but the other part was urging her to take the bonus. After listing the pros and cons, she decided another day wouldn't hurt.

"Alright. I'll be here tomorrow." She replied.

"You're the best! Have a good night."

Amy put her phone away and started walking down the empty and quiet sidewalk leading to her home. The streets were dimly lit, enough for anyone to see their surroundings. The night was calm, emitting a warm summer breeze. The sky was clear, with a few stars visible to the naked eye. The moon was full tonight, and its light surrounded the city with purity.

Amy appreciated these small moments the most because they were the only time she ever had to herself. One could say this was the most time off she normally got. The walk to her house wasn't far, but she purposely took her time to spend more time outdoors. As she was walking, a sudden gust of wind startled her.

Amy looked around, wondering what had caused the gust of wind. To her surprise, a familiar figure stood in front of her up ahead. She walked towards it and recognized the customer she had served earlier.

"Sonic?" Amy asked, confidently remembering his name.

"You're that girl from the smoothie shop. I never got your name."

"Amy."

"Nice to meet you, Amy."

"What are you doing out here? Was it you that caused that gust of wind?"

"Taking a nightly run through the city. It's a lot easier to do than during the day. What are you doing out here?" Sonic asked, curiosity getting the best of him.

"I just got off work. Heading home, actually." Amy replied.

"I see. Would you like for me to accompany you?" He offered.

Amy normally enjoyed her walks alone. She couldn't remember the last time she walked with someone, much less have any company. Everything she did, she did alone. Though he was a stranger to her, something about him didn't give off any suspicious or weird vibes.

"Sure, I'd like that." She smiled.

Sonic began to walk next to her, a change of pace that he'd recently learned to get used to. Amy didn't know whether she should say something to start a conversation. The silence wasn't awkward, but it couldn't be denied.

"So, how do you like the smoothie shop?" Sonic asked, breaking the silence.

"It's good. It has definitely kept me busy, but I have no complaints." She smiled, sincerely after her response. Amy was not lying. Despite working nonstop, she enjoyed the atmosphere her job exuded. Her manager was great, and she loved interacting with customers. The only problem she had was with herself, as she couldn't get herself to say no.

"Was it your first time working alone today?"

"Yeah, how did you know?" Amy asked, surprised.

Sonic shrugged, "You looked tired when I came in. By the way, the smoothie you made me was delicious. I have never had such a great-tasting smoothie."

"Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was tired, though." She admitted.

"When is your day off?"

Amy bit her lower lip softly, "Today was my day off. As well as tomorrow, but I decided to take another shift."

"Why?" Sonic asked, flabbergasted.

"It pays the bills. Besides, it's not like I do anything else anyway. It doesn't hurt to earn a little bit more money."

"I understand that, but haven't you heard of burnout? When was the last time you were out of the city?" Sonic asked, genuinely shocked. The questions wanted to keep pouring out.

Amy sighed, "I know what burnout is. Right now, I can use the extra money. Once I've saved enough, I will take a few days off. And no, I don't think I have."

"You need to take tomorrow off."

Amy was taken aback by what he had said. She wondered who he thought he was to order her around the way he did. He knew a few things about her and already felt he knew everything and what was best for her, which began to upset Amy.

"Sonic, I can't. Look, it was nice chatting with you, but I should be heading home now." Amy said, speeding up to get away from him. He caught up to her, startling her.

"Amy, I know we've just met, and you probably think I'm a crazy stranger asking you to take your day off. But please, believe me. You look exhausted."

"Why do you even care? You don't even know me."

"I know enough that you are a hard worker who doesn't like to fail or disappoint. You put your whole energy and soul into anything you do, and you're happiest when you do things you love." Sonic said, chuckling at her reaction.

Amy's mouth slightly opened, her eyes wide. She didn't know what to say, as she felt like she was just exposed. He wasn't wrong, but hearing him say it hurt her in a way. Nobody had ever understood her, and that alone made her heart flutter a little.

"Sonic…"

"Please, take your day off. I want to show you life outside the city. You won't be the bad guy if you say no." Sonic reassured her.

Amy was hesitant. Some of her now wanted to believe him and give him a chance. However, the other half yelled at her to ignore him and take the shift. As much as she liked the idea of extra money, she knew it was time for a break. Her body needed rest, and the last thing she wanted was to start hating her job because she was always there. Amy questioned if missing a shift over a stranger was even a good idea.

"Alright, fine." She agreed.

"Awesome! Meet me in this exact spot tomorrow before sunrise." Sonic said, disappearing within a blink of an eye. Amy blew the dust away with her hands and was surprised to no longer see Sonic where he once was.

"Before sunrise? I wanted to sleep in…" Amy said, already regretting her decision. She walked a bit more until she finally arrived at her house.

Amy placed her purse to the side and locked the door behind her. Her house wasn't much, but it was more than enough for her. It had everything she needed. Walking to her room upstairs, she started her nightly routine. As she was combing her quills, Amy began to think about her interaction with Sonic. Never had she conversed with someone the way she did. Her curiosity led her to wonder what made him interested in her. It was definitely flattering.

Amy never made time for romantic relationships, as they just weren't in the plans. But when Sonic made the observation about her, she felt a flutter in her heart. She was being seen and heard, even though she was silent. There was something calming and freeing about him. There was a bit of mystery, but she didn't mind. That's what made him interesting.

Making her way to her bed, Amy began to wonder what plans he had in mind. A small part of her was worried that everything could be a trap, but as she had recalled earlier, Amy had never felt anything odd towards him. Setting her alarm, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Amy groaned at the sound of her alarm going off. It felt like she had only slept for a few hours. Double checking, her alarm was correct. She got out of bed and started to freshen herself up. Amy was unsure if today would be a hangout or a date, so she wore her usual red dress. Casual and simple. Walking downstairs, she grabbed her purse and walked out. The morning wasn't as cold as she thought. The sky was still dark, but it was a faint blue and purple. The stars were still out, but if one looked closely, one would see that it was almost time for the sun to rise.

She could see Sonic waiting for her at the spot he said. Amy caught his attention when she stepped on a snapped stick. He smiled and waved at her. She waved back, a little tired still.

"Well, I'm here." She said, trying to sound excited.

"You're going to love it! I have everything planned out." Sonic beamed.

"What exactly do you have planned?"

"Well, you want to know why I asked you to meet before sunrise? You're going to watch it. I know this spot outside the city with the perfect view. We must leave now, though, if we don't want to miss it."

"But how are we going to get there on time?" She asked, looking around, but the streets were completely empty.

"You're gonna have to ride on my back."

Amy looked at him with uncertainty, "Uh…"

"Trust me." He said, confidently. Amy felt chills when he said that.

She carefully got onto his back as he made sure she was secured. Amy placed her arms around his neck, unaware of what would happen.

"Okay, make sure you hold on tightly. Feel free to close your eyes and try not to scream." Sonic advised.

"What the heck are you going to do?"

"You'll see."

Before Amy could reply, her heart began to race out of fear. She couldn't describe it, but the best way she could put it was by going down on a tall roller coaster. The feeling in your stomach that either tickled or made you sick. Amy wanted to keep her eyes open, but the breeze made it hard for her to do so. All she could see was a blur of green, indicating they were no longer in the city. She wanted to scream but couldn't get herself to do it.

It took her a few moments to realize that Sonic was running. Thinking more, Amy understood a little more about him and why he appeared carefree and relaxed. His ability created a freeing feeling that she had never felt before. She felt light and could easily forget her worries. Amy was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't notice the two had come to a stop on a hill that appeared to be the tallest out of the others around it.

Sonic carefully placed her down and stood before her with his arms out in case she fell. He chuckled when he saw her legs shake. Amy began to laugh.

"That was so cool. But I can't feel my legs." She said, trying to keep her balance.

"Yeah, it's kind of my thing. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip!" Sonic exclaimed.

After a few minutes, Amy regained her strength and faced the direction of where the sun was slowly beginning to rise. She sat down, hugging her knees. Behind two hills in the distance, she could see the bright glow of the sun peeking out. Sonic sat next to her, admiring the view. The spot he took them to consisted of a lot of green hills. Some had flowers, and others had palm trees. It was an area that wasn't easily accessible, so the spot remained spotless.

It was his spot, but he didn't mind sharing it with Amy.

"It's beautiful, right?" Sonic asked, looking at her.

She nodded, "I can't believe the sunrise is this amazing. You can feel the start of a new day."

"I like to look at it sometimes because it's just a reminder that anything can happen and a new day means new opportunities."

Amy looked at him, admiring his outlook. It was refreshing and very different from hers.

The sun was beginning to come out fully, and it was satisfying to watch the light illuminate the ground. Amy's eyes sparkled as the beauty of nature itself was mesmerizing. She couldn't believe she had turned her back on this by always remaining within the city.

Sonic gazed in her direction, smiling at her reaction. He was glad and relieved that she was enjoying it. He didn't know why he wanted to do this for her. After all, he barely knew her. However, something about her caught his attention. He could see behind her smile and eyes the exhaustion of countlessly working. Sonic could also notice the burnout that was slowly taking over. He's been through it before and knows exactly when someone is about to have a meltdown.

He was just being kind.

Amy closed her eyes, and for the first time in a very long time, she felt at peace. She had forgotten she was supposed to come in today, and her responsibilities, everything, were pushed aside.

"You're the only one I've ever brought here," Sonic spoke, clearing his throat.

"Really? What made you want to share this spot with me?" Amy asked.

Sonic shrugged, "I'm not sure. I guess I just felt like I couldn't show it to anyone who wouldn't appreciate it."

"Makes sense. Besides, I trust you won't trash or show it to anyone else."

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. I have no friends." Amy soon realized how lame she sounded when she mentioned the last part.

Her cheeks turned into a light reddish color.

"You have no friends at all?" Sonic asked, feeling a little sorry for her.

"I mean, I have my co-workers and a few friends outside of work, but they don't live close. But if you mean like close friends, then no. I've mainly been a loner for the most part, but it doesn't bother me." Amy admitted,

Sonic slowly nodded, "I guess you can say I'm somewhat of a loner too. I have really good friends who all live here, but I spend most of my time alone. I know what you mean by not feeling bothered, but I also can't imagine being alone, if that makes sense?"

Amy thought about what he said. She knew exactly what he meant. As much as she would like to have a close group of friends, she feared having the wrong friends. Amy had friends she thought would last for a long time, but they ended abruptly. It was the fear of growing close and attached only to be hurt afterward that made her decide she was better off alone.

Even though deep down, she yearned for a genuine connection.

"Yeah…I know what you mean." Amy responded with a hint of sadness that could be heard. She then looked in the opposite direction, hiding her face as she felt her eyes swell with tears. Talking about this stuff with Sonic, she didn't realize how sad and lonely she felt. Perhaps working non-stop was her way of distracting herself from those thoughts and feelings.

"Is everything okay?" Sonic asked, placing his hand on her shoulder.

Amy could only nod, as she felt her neck surrounded by barbed wire. It was painful, but if she spoke, it would be nothing but waterfalls. She was fighting hard to keep herself from crying.

"You know, it's okay to cry and let it out. I can tell you've bottled up some feelings for a long time now. It's not healthy, and well, I won't judge you." Sonic reassured her.

Not long after, he could hear her silently cry. He didn't say anything, waiting for her to release everything. If she wanted to speak, she would do so when she felt better and comfortable. Sonic continued to gaze at his surroundings, taking in the gentle and warm breeze that was hitting his face.

"I have never cried to anyone about this before. I didn't notice just how lonely I truly was, and it made me sad. I work nonstop to distract myself, but I was only hurting myself even more." Amy cried, rubbing her eyes.

She continued, "I am scared to let anyone in. I have learned and gotten used to being on my own, and I've grown to enjoy it. But there have been times when I felt lonely, but I had nobody to turn to. I want to make genuine friendships, but I am also fine on my own…I am so pathetic."

"You're not pathetic. It's completely normal to feel that way. I'm sorry that you've been hurt, and I hope you know that you now have a friend to turn to for anything." Sonic smiled.

Amy turned to him, "Really? You want to be my friend?"

Sonic nodded, "I don't know if you know this, but you're actually pretty cool. I'm positive that you are a friend anyone would wish to have. You'd do anything for them, and I am all about that."

"Gee, you know how to make someone feel good about themselves. But thank you, that truly means a lot to me."

Sonic and Amy both stood up. Amy caught him off guard when she hugged him. It was the warmest and most genuine hug she had ever given someone. She was grateful to him for listening to her and understanding her. It could be that she never shared her feelings because she feared being misunderstood.

Sonic hugged her, "Say, you want to get a smoothie?"

Amy's eyes widened, and she released Sonic. "Oh my god! I never called my manager about not coming in today! You have to take me there!" She cried, jumping on Sonic's back.

Sonic chuckled, "Don't worry. I can get you there before you can even blink," he said, taking off.

At that moment, Amy decided to take her days off and make more of an effort to socialize and do things that she loved. The best part was that she finally had a friend she could turn to.

A friend that she had longed for.