Imagine hell. Probably a lot of fire and suffering with the occasional demon, right? It is the purgatory that you have wrought on only yourself because of the sins you made. And you see people you know suffering the same fate of eternal damnation and torture. You wonder how nice people like them got caught up in all the destruction. You wonder how you got caught up in all the destruction.
Well, this was not hell. He did not do anything wrong, but he was still in his personal version of the fiery pit. He was the icon of a generation, a hero if you will. Everyone looked at him as the knight in shining armor, the guardian angel that was blessed with the speed of Hermes. His smile was infectious, and many a woman and the occasional man wanted him for their own. If he was so perfect, then how could he ever suffer? One of his many supervillains or enemies? No, this was much worse. This was six preteens talking about makeup… and boys.
Poor Sonic was told to keep an eye on the Gracie and her friends while Amy dropped off the twins. Knuckles and Rouge would be looking after them tonight since Tails and Cream were not available as they were on an overdue date night, and having Chloe spend the night at Sonic’s was a great chance for them to get some needed alone time. However, if he had the chance to go back in time, Sonic would instantly say “no” to Gracie, Chloe, and their friends sleeping over.
In the meantime, Sonic was lounging on the couch in apparent torture. He promised Amy that he would look after the girls, but all this talk about Manny the Jaguar and other cute boys was driving him to insanity. The line that best summed up how “hot” Manny was? It was when Gracie said, “He’s so hot I want to bake cookies on him!” First off, too much information! Secondly, Sonic gagged when she said it so dramatically, like she needed and wanted him. Thirdly, if you try and bake cookies on him, then the only things you would have would be a waste of good cookie dough and a sugary, sticky jaguar, neither of which seemed like a good idea.
He was having a hard time surviving this. He was used to living in a house of estrogen since he lived with three girls, but this was too much! They were getting their glittery makeup all over the living room rug, they could not and would not stop talking about Manny, and they would not shut up! Manny this! Manny that! Oh, they just called Manny the hottest thing ever for the 45th freaking time! Yes, he was keeping count! Sonic was extremely pissed off at Manny, even though he had not done anything wrong! He wanted to go to his house and beat up the poor sap up just because the girls would not shut up about him! It was either that, or Sonic would throw his head through the glass coffee table that was to his right. Both seemed satisfying to do at that moment if it meant that they would stop talking about him for only a minute.
“Girls,” he said in a weak and annoyed voice, “is there anything else that you can talk about besides boys?”
The six females looked at him as if he had lost his mind. “No!” Gracie screamed. “Boys are everything, dad! It’s a girl thing. You wouldn’t understand!”
“What I don’t understand is why you’re talking about how hot boys may or may not be! And especially at your age! You’re way too young to be thinking about this!”
“I am too old enough!” The other girls stayed silent as the father and daughter started to go at it. This was starting to get as good as a WWE pay-per-view!
“Gracie, you’re nine years old,” Sonic said flatly.
“No, you’ll be ten next week.” Sonic groaned. “Good grief! I’m arguing with my kid on when the appropriate age is for checking out boys for Pete’s sake!” The girls all chuckled at his realization. “But seriously, you can talk about anything else! The Packers, Eggman looking a fool, the over/under on the amount of times Knuckles yells at the twins tonight! Anything!”
“What part of 'It’s a girl thing,' don’t you understand, Mr. Hedgehog?” Chloe asked.
Sonic groaned in defeat. There was no reasoning with these chicks. In a symbol of defeat, he turned away from them and grabbed his phone off the table. He scrolled through his social media platforms to see what was new in the world.
“Let’s see,” he thought, “Saved the day, Spring Training in full swing—no pun intended, college basketball conference tournament upsets, politicians at each other’s throats, fangirls and fanboys sending me their fan-fictions of me, a crap-load of fangirls who want to get freak—. Oh, Chaos! This chick wants to—?! Chaos, I’m gonna be sick! What is your damage, lady?! Wait, is that even a—? Oh my! No! Nooooo! Oh, Chaos, why have you forsaken me?! Please tell me that’s not a…. Ugh… yeah, that’s what I thought it was. That’s a guy with big ol’ hairy man-boobs.”
Sonic nearly puked up the lasagna that Amy made him for supper. As if the room was not messy enough from the girls’ makeovers, this would have been the icing on the cake. Jeez, if the girls were not ticking off Sonic enough, this internet psycho was! What he was suggesting… holy crap, I hope you do not have a weak stomach.
He could not put his phone down fast enough after that. When he tuned back into the land of the living, the TV was now showing some girly show that the girls were not even watching. But that was just the beginning as that they continued to talk about hot and cute boys in addition to making an even bigger mess of the glittery makeup on the living room rug. Sonic wanted to flip out when he saw them. The TV was on without anyone watching it—meaning the electric bill was going up, the girls had not changed their conversational topic of choice, and the mess was not getting any smaller anytime soon. The cherry on top was that Amy was supposed to be back about 30 minutes ago. All she was supposed to do was drop Swift and Kelly off at Knuckles and Rouge’s place. What was taking her so long?!
Sonic covered his face and groaned in agony. He had enough of this crap. He really did. He promised Amy that he would keep an eye on the girls, but this was too much for one man to do alone. There were two things that helped him take the edge off. The first one involved Amy with a few scented candles and a locked door, but she was not back yet, so that was out of the running. The other one was downstairs, and he made his way down there with his hands in a tight bind behind his head. He sighed heavily and groaned loudly, getting the attention of the girls as he stormed out of the room.
“What was that about?” Chloe asked.
Gracie replied, “Mom says that certain people can be really irritable at certain times and that it usually happens once a month. Maybe it’s my dad’s time of the month.”
Sonic heard that little tidbit, and it made him even more frustrated. “If that’s what Gracie thinks is happening, then what the hell are schools teaching nowadays?!”
He quickly descended the staircase and clapped his hands to make the lights turn on. It was a quaint enough mancave for the blue hedgehog and his family. To his left was a refrigerator and the bar, which was filled with various drinks and liqueurs. To his right was his movie and sports memorabilia collection (of which his prized possession was a signed Paul Molitor Minnesota Twins jersey, which he had received from the hall-of-famer after saving the Twins’ manager from a fire in downtown St. Paul).
Ahead of the hedgehog were two beige couches that were perpendicular to one another, but faced the 60-inch TV in the corner. There was a table for each couch so that people could set down their food and drink. On the far wall were two doors. One was all the way down on the left side (the office/computer room) while the other was smackdab in the middle of the wall (Amy’s sewing room). What was situated between the doors was the item that would help Sonic blow off some steam since running was so important to him.
It was a modern marvel. It was not just any old treadmill that faced the TV. It was a highly supped-up treadmill that could allow the person operating it to walk at a slow, peaceful pace or run at speeds that would break the sound barrier. Unsurprisingly, the latter reason was what Sonic used it for more than anything else. It had been a “thank you” of sorts from the G.U.N. Commander after Sonic came along with Silver and Shadow to take care of a black-market deal that Eggman was running in England a little more than three years ago. The Commander had it personalized and customized to fit Sonic’s need for speed. This way, Sonic could run at high speeds from the comfort of his home. Even though he preferred running outside in the fresh air, this ensured that even on the crappiest of days (weather-related or otherwise), Sonic could still get his high octane running in and not get a case of cabin fever. Not only that, but whenever somebody ran on it, it would generate electricity for the house. Economical? Yes, but for that function to kick in, the runner would have to consistently stay running at a high speed, something that only Sonic or Shadow could do.
Sonic quickly stretched himself out and turned the machine on. It took a few seconds for it to get rolling, but when Sonic was warmed up, that meant that the treadmill was in for a workout.
In a flash, Sonic was already approaching 100 miles an hour, and he was not slowing down. 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 250, 300, 400 miles per hour! The sound barrier was roughly 767. Sonic did not want to break it because the moment that it would happen, the whole house would shake (not that it could not take the seismic shock), and he did not want to scare the hell out of the ladies upstairs, even if they deserved it.
Sonic kept running fast and faster. It was not long before he came up on 450 and then 500 miles per hour. When he was on this thing, he was back on the track in high school and college! He could envision the poor saps in the lanes beside him and blowing their doors off, setting new state and world records without breaking a sweat! He had no signs of slowing down in his mid-30s. In fact, he knew he was still getting faster. It was not that much of a stretch. He was in the prime of his life! He was in the best shape of his life! Amy cooked a good meal, but he would always burn it off in a flash!
The anger and frustration of the night’s festivities were getting taken out to pasture as Sonic dug deeper and deeper, trying to get back at them! Faster and faster and faster he went!
He was getting close to breaking the sound barrier. He might have been getting carried away since he was within spitting distance of it, but he showed no signs of stopping! He was determined! He was poised for it! He was a man on a mission!
No stock car could keep up with him! No black and red fake hedgehog could hold a candle to him! He was the Fastest Thing Alive! He was the greatest hero on Earth! He was a father and a husband!
He was Sonic the Hedgehog!
“Having fun, are we?”
Sonic nearly broke stride and fell over in surprise, but he regained his footing and began to slow down. Who managed to sneak up on him? The only woman who ever could, and she was holding a water bottle in her crossed arms.
“Oh,” he said, looking to the pink lass on his right. “Hey, babe. Just get in?”
“No, not exactly,” she said as she shook her head. “I got back about 30 minutes ago.”
“That so? Why didn’t you let me know sooner?”
“I tried, but you didn’t hear me over your running. You were in the zone.”
“I was? Yeesh, how long have I been running?” He looked at the clock. 10:19 p.m. “Jeez! Almost an hour?!”
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” she said in a deadpan voice. He noticed how unimpressed she looked.
“It’s what I do, babe. Something bothering you?”
She groaned. “Well, I got stuck talking to Rouge at her place. That’s why it took me so long to get back. We both had a coffee, and we were having a good time watching Knuckles try to nab Swift.”
Sonic chuckled. “Swift definitely takes after his old man,” he said proudly.
“Too much. But that’s not why I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed because some 9-year-old and her friends thought it was a good idea to break out the glitter and makeup and leave a lot of it on the rug!”
“I saw that they were doing that. I kinda figured you would not be happy.”
“Oh, I’m still not. I don’t want to chew out Gracie for making a mess of the house, but seriously, why the living room?! Why not make a mess in her bedroom?”
“Because that’d be too easy, and it wouldn’t get under your skin.”
“I didn’t ask for an answer, you smug son-of-a-gun,” she mildly hissed.
“Okay, okay, I get it. Rhetorical question. So, did you do anything about it?”
“Me? The only thing I did was make Gracie get the vacuum and clean it all up. Her friends weren’t happy that they had to clean up too.”
“Hey, they made the mess, they get to clean it up.”
“And then Gracie had the nerve to say that they should be having fun at a sleepover and not doing housework. I swear, she’s getting a serious attitude! Honestly, I don’t know which one of us she got it from.”
“And she wonders why we don’t allow her to go to more sleepovers.”
Amy laughed. “No crap. So, what’s got your panties in a twist?”
He shot her a confused look. “Huh?”
“Why’re you on the treadmill?”
“Can’t a guy stay in shape for his drop-dead gorgeous wife?”
“Yes, but that’s not why you’re on it. I saw the face you were making earlier. You looked like you were mad at something. Someone or something piss you off?”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because I can tell when you’re running for fun and running to blow off steam.”
Sonic shot his wife a judging look. She wasn’t budging. She knew him too well.
He sighed. “I could only take so much of the girls. They wouldn’t stop with the makeup or talking about boys.”
“They’re girls, Sonic. It’s what they do.”
“Maybe, but talking about how hot they are? Don’t you think Gracie’s a little young for that?”
“I think that you don’t want your little girl to grow up,” she said in a tone that talked down to him.
“Oh, hush up,” he said quickly.
Amy smiled confidently. “I rest my case.”
“Whatever,” he said in a low tone. “What’re the girls doing now? Still cleaning?”
“No. After the discussion I had with them, I sent them to bed.”
“I just hope that ‘going to bed’ doesn’t mean that they talk loudly at 2 in the morning like last time.”
Amy groaned. “Don’t remind me. Neither of us got much sleep that night. But I think this time’ll be different considering that I didn’t mince words.”
“I know that feeling.”
Amy chuckled and walked up to the treadmill. “Are you getting off anytime soon?”
“Um… I can. Why?”
“After dealing with the girls, I’m the one who needs to wind down.”
“Hmm. And how do you plan on doing that?” he asked in a flirty tone.
“Get off this thing and clean yourself up. Then you’ll see. Besides, you look like you still need something to calm you down. I can help with that.”
Sonic chuckled, thinking of what that might entail. He turned off the machine and got off as it slowed and powered down. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Don’t take too long. And take this,” she said as she lobbed the water bottle to Sonic. He caught it and downed it in one hit.
“Don’t mention it.”
He zipped up the stairs and walked through the living room. He flipped on the light, and saw that, surprisingly, everything was cleaned up! The girls did a really good job! But why did it take Amy’s stern mouth to force the kids into action? Why couldn't they not be sweet, little girls and keep the place clean?
He went into the bathroom and was in and out of the shower before he knew it. He hated swimming, but he liked the feeling of warm water. Amy loved it, so he made sure to lightly dry himself off. With a small spritz of cologne, he zipped back downstairs. Amy was behind the bar with a pair of ice-filled mason jars, two cans of Coke, and a bottle on Tennessee whiskey. He chuckled as she poured the Jack all over the ice. It was followed by the natural flow of Atlanta’s favorite soda, and they mixed perfectly. But just to make sure that everything in the jars was up to snuff, she stuck a stirring stick into each jar.
When Sonic got to the bar, he rested his arm on the bar as Amy slid him his cocktail. “You make the best drinks.” He took a sip. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh… refreshing.
“Come on,” she said as she grabbed her drink and made her way to the couch on the right. He sat down first, and she followed. They put the drinks down on the table as Amy snuggled in close and wrapped her arms around Sonic’s torso. She was right. This did help take the edge off. She even rubbed her head against his like she was a cat. She gave him a wink, and Sonic’s face went from pale to beet red in an instant. With a nervous smile, he grabbed his Jack and Coke and took a swig to cool himself down.
Though he was hot under the collar and a little nervous, he had nothing to fear. Amy was not interested in getting that busy. She just wanted to push her beau’s buttons a little bit and wind him up. She was such a tease, and he was so easy.
“Ease up, cowboy,” she said with a quick peck. “I’m just getting under your skin.”
Sonic sighed in relief. “Well, consider yourself under it.”
She took a quick whiff. “But I do appreciate the hint of cologne. Dark chocolate… my favorite~!”
He gave her a slick smirk and kissed her head. He grabbed her drink and offered it to her. She accepted it and took a large sip before easing into him again and locking her lips with his. The two felt an instant pleasure that caused them to wrap their arms tightly around each other. Amy’s arms were still around his chest. One of Sonic’s hands slid around her waist while the other cupped the back of her head and lightly forced her lips onto his, more than they already were. She was more than happy to oblige and throw him a bone.
The more they stayed like this, the better he felt. It was not just because this was his wife, who still looked like a knockout, even after three kids. All she did was please him to his heart’s content. Being a hero was stressful. She knew that. Dealing with a half-dozen preteens was even more stressful. That was why she willing to help him calm down and be his devoted wife. She was always going to be there for him.
Their slow make-out session stopped for the moment as they continued to lay on the loveseat, enjoying the couch’s and each other’s comfort. He began to rub her back, which sent a joyous feeling up her spine. She groaned lowly as he stroked her back slowly up and down. Up and down. Up… and down. Slower. Slower. She was putty in his hands. He had the touch of an angel. Soft and caring, but also firm and steady when necessary.
The two quickly finished their drinks and set both glasses back on the table. They did not bother to do anything else since they were so comfortable. The windows were all open, letting in the early summer air. The humidity was down, and the cool air seeped its way into the house. It was good sleeping weather, and Amy yawned as a result. Sonic noticed that and quickly got up, much to her dismay. She shot him an angry look, but softened when he came back with a soft, cozy blanket. They reassumed their previous positions as the brown blanket covered them nicely. She snuggled back into his soft, furry chest as he breathed slowly. The sound of his steady heartbeat began lulling her to sleep. So fuzzy… and so warm, just like when they first met.
Before nodding off, Sonic gave her a long, slow kiss to take in her strawberry scent and the taste of her drink. The drink was bitter, but he wanted more of it. But that would have to wait until morning as she backed away from the kiss and rested her head on his chest. She squeezed his body one more time, to which Sonic returned the favor by rubbing her back. With her soft snoring, that was his cue to stop and let his tired body do the same.