The Last Party

One by one, each of Lilly's friends move away to fulfill their dreams and aspirations. Lilly feels they are all doing this as a sign of betrayal. Little does Lilly know that the truth is far from betrayal.

But once a mistake is made, it cannot be taken back.


4. Amber

Lilly looked at the giant smoke cloud that had taken up most of the sky. This wasn’t supposed to happen! This is all... Chloe’s fault. If she hadn’t left, the weather would’ve been normal! Now Amber will be forced to leave all because of her! To think I used to call her a friend! Oh, who am I kidding? Humans can't even control the weather! Lilly thought.

Amber and her family had taken refuge in the storm shelter, although even that wasn’t safe, as the wind had torn open the door and sheets of rain were pouring inside. Her family was forced to huddle together in an attempt to ride out the storm, until a thunderbolt struck nearby. Amber had passed it off as loud but unimportant, until the smell of smoke wafted to her nose. Ignoring her own safety, she left the family behind and looked outside.

“Oh no...” was all she managed to gasp as she watched her house ignite into an inferno of raging flames, growing rapidly unstoppable, even in the driving rain. “Dan, we got a problem!” Amber tried to yell against the wind, unable to match its volume with her voice. The fire had managed to engulf the entire house by now, slowly gnawing its way at the walls and leaving charred wood behind. Amber quickly ran back down into the shelter. “Dan! The house... it’s on fire!” she shouted, fighting back tears.

Dan’s usually unshakably-calm expression dissolved into horror as he ran outside. He turned to see the once-grand barn they had called a house, and a home, for many generations rapidly turning into a blackened shell of its former self. A warm wetness began to emerge from his eyes as a tear slid down his cheek. Another crack of lightning shot nearby, making him jump. He turned in the direction to see the unfathomable happen right in front of his eyes - the orchard was on fire. The flames were wasting no time jumping from tree to tree, as if pursuing a target that was constantly out of its grip. The smell of roasted apples surpassed the smell of smoke, as their livelihood burned in front of his eyes.The rain was slowing the progress of the fire, but it wasn’t enough to put it out. His enormous shout had no problem penetrating the noise of the downpour. “Amber! The orchard!”

Amber rushed back outside of the shelter into the unforgiving embrace of hard rain drops, matching the tears she was shedding from the loss of the house she’d grown up in, the home in which she had spent her entire life. She turned to the orchard, to see it almost entirely consumed by flames, assisted by a few more lightning strikes to scattered trees all over the orchard. “Dan, why are ya’ just standing around?!” She pushed the him. “Do some... something... We ca... we can still save them...”

Dan rested his hand on his sister’s shoulder. “Sorry, sis... There’s just nothin’ we can do until the fire goes out on its own. If the rain ain’t stoppin’ the spread, we sure as heck can’t. Now, you just go back inside, wait until the fire’s done, an’ maybe... maybe there’ll be some trees that were spared.” His stoic expression was back. Amber couldn’t distinguish the tears from the rain drops flowing on his cheeks.

Amber slowly began her walk back into the shelter, followed by her brother. She turned to look at her little sister, who was wearing a mask full of horror and confusion. “Now, Courtney. What Ah’m about to tell you ain’t gonna be easy to take in, heck, Ah still can’t believe it happened so fast. But we’re going to have to move after this storm. Our house... just isn’t there anymore.”

Courtney looked up at her sister. “What’cha talking about, sis? Our house won’t get knocked over by some silly storm! Ah mean, you’re just playing a joke on me... right? Amber?” she asked.

Amber looked up at the wooden roof holding the rain back from its relentless assault on the family. “It’s true, no normal storm could do anything, but lightning ain’t so forgiving. A stray bolt from the cloud caught our house, and before we coulda done anything, it was up in flames. Everything we’ve ever owned is gone, sweetie pie.” Her eyes started welling again; Amber turned her head away, not wanting to let Courtney see her crying.

“That’s not true! We still have our orchard! We still have each other! We have friends and family that will always be with us! You can’t say everything we have is gone, because it’s just not!”

Amber looked at her younger sister, stunned. She had never expected to hear such strong words coming from Courtney. She looked over at Granny Smith, who was peacefully sleeping, muttering something incoherent. “You’re right, Courtney. We still have family all over the world. Say, how would you like to visit your uncle Brae for a little bit? I’m pretty sure you haven’t met him just yet.”

Courtney looked outside as the rain started to die down. A beautiful rainbow was visible in the sky behind the rain, growing brighter and stronger as the storm moved on. “Uncle Brae? In the countryside?! Would I?!” she gasped.

Lilly snapped back to reality. Everything Amber had told her of the fire and its aftermath was indelibly imprinted onto her mind. All of the details of the early morning disaster were as clear as if she’d witnessed them herself.

“Hi Amber! What can I get for you today? Cakes, cupcakes, muffins, eclairs, you name it, we have it! Baked fresh out of the oven!” Lilly said, her voice bubbling with excitement as usual.

“Uh, about that. Ah’ve been talking to the family, and... uh, we’re gonna move out to the countryside. Don’t worry though! As you know, Ah am the honest one here. Ah give ya my word that Ah’ll keep in touch, unless something comes up.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to have anything, Amber, even if it’s on the house?”

“Lilly, listen to me. Ah’m leaving, but Ah will be back.”

“Come, take a seat! I’ll make an extra special hot chocolate for you with a doughnut!”

“Lilly, listen.”

“Oh, we could talk about everything that’s happened recently! Did you hear that Leila and Ben finally got engaged? The wedding’s in about three mont-” Lilly stopped as a hand slapped her in the back of the head.

“Lilly. Listen to me. Ah know things are pretty rough right now, but they’ll get better. It seems like all of our friendships are fallin’ apart, but we are connected spiritually, or whatever fancy word Jade liked to use. No matter how far apart we may be, we’ll always be friends.”

“Then don’t leave, Amber! You can stay here with me! Oh oh oh, it’ll be just like a never-ending slumber party! This time without Jade screwing things up with her books! It’ll just be us two! Please, don’t go!” Lilly pleaded.

Amber pulled the short brown eyed girl into a hug. “Ah reckon Ah don’t like this anymore then you do, Lilly, but life don’t always work out the way we want it to. Things change, people change. Everything changes over time. Sure, Ah wish Ah could stop it all, but sometimes you just gotta let yer friends go.”

“There must be another way for you to stay, Amber! I... I don’t even speak to Rose anymore! You’re the one last true friend I have here! You have to stay, you just gotta stay! Please!”

“Ah’m sorry, Lilly. We’ve already bought the train tickets with the last of our money. There’s no going back anymore, an’ what’s done is done,” Amber stated, as a tear escaped her eye.

“Then get out,” Lilly responded.

“Beg pardon?”

“I said get out!” she yelled angrily. “D-d...on’t e...ver let me ca-catch ” - she sniffled - “catch you ar...around again!” Lilly shouted, choking back tears.


“P...please just l..eave me alone!” Lilly screamed. She couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. Eyes suddenly streaming, she seized a cake from the counter and threw it at Amber, who dodged it with a swift duck.

“Fine! Ah’ll leave. Ah hope yer happy Lilly! You’ll... n...ever see me... again!” Amber managed, before bursting into tears herself. “You or this silly little town!” she shouted, spinning around and charging out of the house.

Lilly slowly walked over to one of the seats and slumped into it. I’m... sorry, Amber. I hope you can forgive me... She laid her head in between her hands and cried to herself for what seemed like an eternity as the conversation replayed itself in her mind, over and over, until exhaustion took over, and she fell asleep.

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