Loving You

Amber Lee Taylor. Popular, Blonde, Cheerleader. Amber doesn’t know like what it feels to be neglected, to be alone. When Amber's sister is murdered, and she is blamed, she flees to the only family member who doesn’t blame her...or simply can't. Amber promises never to love again, to hide in the shadow of who she used to be. That is before she meets Aiden, the familiar yet quiet guy that Amber feels has more to hide than she does...

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1. Chapter 1

 

I grinned, turning before my full length mirror satisfied with my look. I ran a hand through my hair, and rubbed my lips together to spread the new Kate Moss lip gloss that I was currently wearing. The weather was hot in Michigan, Detroit and my outfit consisted of my red mini skirt and black satin halter neck, I slipped on my black louboutin’s, a present from my step-dad Adam on my 15th birthday. With a final glance at my retreating image, I sashayed out of the room. Glancing down the hall, I slipped into my sister’s room, and smiled at the image of her curled into the corner, focused intently on a battered copy of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries.

“Harper” I whispered making her jump. She grinned when she saw me, and beckoned me closer. I smiled, knowing that playing nice would help me out.

“Where are you going?” she asked me, brows furrowed.

“Cassidy’s”.

She raised her eyebrows “Cassidy Van Lough? You can’t stand her”.

“That I know” I assured her rolling my eyes “she thinks she can start ruling things, but she needs to remember whose boss”.

“But you don’t need to be popular, you’re much nicer at home” her face clouded and I winced. At school my façade had to be kept up. I needed to be the most popular girl in school, and associating myself with the mathletes like my sister was, would be a big crush on my social status.

“I’m sorry Harpy” I whispered pulling her close.

“You won’t be allowed” she annoyingly stated.

“Obviously” I snapped. Her eyes widened, and I sighed.

“I really need to go Harper, you need to understand”.

“You’re meant to be babysitting me” she added, looking for excuses.

“You’re 14, most girls you’re age would be partying by now” she blushed. I felt bad and put my arm protectively round her shoulders.

“Fine then” she said voice shaky. I sighed in relief, and got up.

“Mom and Adam won’t be back till at least 1am, 2 tops” I told her smoothing out my skirt “I’ll be back as early as I can, go to bed and if they turn up early, tell them I’m in my room ill and I don’t want anyone coming in”. I turned back round but saw her throwing on a dress and some converse.

“Harper what are you doing?” .

“Girls my age shouldn’t be at home reading books they’ve read at least 10 times over” she said as she gestured to her book.

“No, way”.

“Yes!”

“Harper-May, you are not coming!”.

“Oh come on Amber, I’ve never been to a high school party, and I’m in high school”.

“You’re a freshman Harper, if it’s illegal for me to go to a party, God knows what’ll happen if you’re caught!”

“I won’t drink” she assured me “I’ll just stick by you or something”.

I shook my head, adamant “Never”.

She turned to glare at me “If I can’t go, I’m ringing mom right now”.

I scoffed “You wouldn’t dare!”.

“Watch me!” I saw the look of challenge in her eyes, and gave an exasperated sigh.

“If anyone offers you a drink do not, I repeat do not accept, do not go off with strangers, do not leave my side for any reason, Harper do you understand?”

She rolled her eyes “yes ma’am”.  I took a deep breath.

“Let’s go”. I glanced down at my sister, and took in a sharp intake of breath.

“Harper go change” I ordered.

“Why?” Harpers once frizzled brown pony tail was now a wave of cascading curls coming down past her shoulders. Her grey sweatpants and oversized tee were replaced by a black dress clinging to her somewhat fragile frame. She looked good, too good.

“Throw on a pair of jeans or something” I quickly added, trying to make it sound like fashion advice and not the worried plea of an older sister trying to prevent her sibling from being hit on all night.

“No, I like it like this” she shrugged brushing past me.

“Harper” she spun around, sensing the urgency in my voice.

“I’m 14, no one is going to look at me twice, not when you’re standing next to me anyway”.

“I’ll make sure Brent sticks by you” I promised grabbing my car keys.

“I don’t need your jock of a boyfriend watching me all night”. 

“Let’s just go!”. She followed me out and I opened the door to my black convertible. Having a loaded stepdad had its benefits. The ride to Cassidy’s wasn’t long; I knew the way, seeing as we used to be best friends.  As we neared, the music pumped through the speakers and I immediately recognised the familiar tune of Nicki Minaj. Harper moved her head to the beat and I suppressed a giggle.

“Come on” I ushered her through the cars parked on Cassidy’s large drive and we slipped through the door.

“AMBER!” I heard the familiar screech and southern drawl of my best friend Lizzie as she pushed her way towards me.

I laughed “How you doing?”

“I just can’t get over how much better Michigan is than Dallas, I’m in heaven!” she swayed her hips to the new song pumping through the stereo and I realised she was drunk.

“Come on Liz, no more” I grabbed her half full can of beer, and chucked it in the nearest trash.

“No fair, Amber” she pouted, then giggled. Harper gave me a look, and I sighed.

“These parties are way to mature for you” I said instantly regretting bringing her here “One hour, then we’re heading home”. She nodded following closely behind me as I made my way to Cassidy’s lounge which had been turned into a makeshift dance floor. Harper made a face at the mix of sweaty human bodies mingled together, dancing to the music.

“Look there’s Brent” she said pointing at group of “popular” in the corner. I turned my head to see him standing very close to Cassidy, as she trailed her hand up his cheek. I grounded my teeth together, jealousy burning inside of me.

“Be right back” I assured Harper, pushing through the throng of people.

“But Am…” I ignored her protests and came to stand by Brent.

“Cassidy” I sneered, before smiling up at Brent.

“Hey babe” he smiled, but he soon turned his attention back to Cassidy. She gave me a triumphant smirk.

“Oh Amber, nice to see you” I felt like slapping the fake smile right off of her face.

“Brent do you want to dance?” I asked ignoring her.

“Not really” he shrugged chugging from his beer. I clenched my jaw, annoyed.

“Fine then”, I just wanted to get away so I made my way back to the spot I left Harper. She wasn’t there, but I shrugged it off, feeling deflated. An arm lazily snaked around my waist and I turned to acknowledge Connor, Brent’s best friend.

“You alright?” he asked, I nodded, but he didn’t let me go. I glanced over at Brent whose attention had now left Cassidy but was on me and Connor. I smirked, and began swaying to the music. Connor did the same and the look of jealousy on Brent’s face gave me a sudden rush. I continued to provocatively move around, as people started to wolf whistle. In a flash, Brent was by my side glaring at Connor.

“What are you doing?” he asked me.

“Dancing” I simply stated.

“Not like that” he hissed at me, hand on my wrist.

“Just get off her man” Connor interjected.

“I thought you’re meant to be my best friend” Brent said coming nose to nose with him.

“Not when you’re screwing Amber over with Cassidy” Connor retaliated. Brent’s fist connected with Connor’s jaw, and all hell broke loose.  I heard screams of ‘fight! Fight! Fight! And I took off into the corridor. I needed to find Harper, we needed to get out of here. I pushed my way past people not so nicely yelling “Move!” and came across Lizzie in the kitchen pouring herself another glass of wine.

“Oh Amber! Baby!” she threw herself at me and I shrugged her off.

“Lizzie you really need to get a ride home”

She glared at me “I’m not a kid, I can take care of myself thanks”. I sighed and continued to search for Harper, looking through Cassidy’s big house was a nightmare and I screamed frustrated. I pushed open the door to the bathroom, and saw my sister making out with some delinquent.

“Harper!” I screeched as they jumped apart. She giggled and I groaned. She was wasted, and I was going to be killed by my parents. I picked up her discarded clothing and kicked out the boy while I dressed her up. I silently thanked the Lord I turned up early.

“Hello, you look funny” Harper said, grabbing a chunk of my hair.

“Thank you” I told her picking her up and dragging her by the arm. Together we staggered down the stairs, and she suddenly thought it would be funny to start playing tag.

“Tag!” she screamed slapping my arm and running towards the kitchen.

I screamed out in defeat running after her. It was difficult to do so with heels, while she was in very comfortable converse. She slipped through Cassidy’s back door and I swallowed. Behind Cassidy’s house were the woods, I hated the woods. Thinking about what deep crap I would be in if Harper didn’t come back in one piece, I chased her into the trees. The music still thumped from there, and I no longer heard Harper’s loud elated giggling. I panicked and raced further into the trees, to find her surrounded by two teenagers in hoodies. I gulped, and tried not to make a sound, but a branch cracking gave me away.

“Well, well two girls to play with” the biggest one mocked, his eyes were a horrible yellow shade, and I resisted the urge to gag, the other kept quiet hands in his pocket.

“Let..her..g..go.” I stammered as he came closer.

“What’s the magic word?” he sneered.

“Please?” he laughed a sickening guffaw “Carter did you here that? She said please!” and he grabbed me by the hair, I yelled out in pain and he threw me towards Carter, who held me by the arm. I decided to take my chance and gave a blood curdling scream, in two strides the yellow eyed one slapped me full across the face.

“Shut up”. Silent tears rolled down my face as I saw Harper’s terrified face, she screamed as he advanced towards her and the man gave a sickening laugh. I struggled in Carter’s grip and turned and ripped at his hoodie as hard as I could, it was weak and revealed his tan chest with a tattoo of lion, it was perfectly drawn, but it had a sickening twist to it, as the lion was in mid snarl. I jumped back terrified he was going to hit me for ruining his hoodie, but Carter’s blue apologetic eyes stared into mine.

“Run” his husky voice whispered, and I didn’t need to be told twice. The other guy yelled for him to chase me and I heard his footsteps thudding behind me. Harper’s screams rose into the night and I sobbed as I stumbled in the dark. I felt blood running down the side of my face, and my ankle was painfully throbbing. Harper. Harper. Harper. I whispered her name feeling sick inside. I left her, I left her all alone. I didn’t get very far as I sprawled out behind a bush, ignoring the pain which was increasing on my ankle. Before I blacked out I heard a deep growl and annoyed voice spitting “Carter, shut her up” and Harper’s screams subsided into the night.

 

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