Being Amber

Without any memory of her past and not knowing why people react to her as they do, Amber has to learn to survive in the hard underworld of the City, among gangs and the unwanted citizens.
Her appearent resemblance with Ben's dead girlfriend, places her in the middle of a war that easily can cost her and others their lives.
In her quest to find her identity Amber has to learn to tell friend from foe, see behind the lies and decide if Ben's past matters at all.
When Ben asks Tom to train Amber he gets pulled into the war happening around him, far more than he wants to be.
Tom's alliance with Ben hangs in a thin tread when he not only falls in love with Amber but also starts a relationship with Kattie, who already has a boyfriend in Clay, Ben's second in command.
Will Amber ever find out who she really is ?
And how Will they get through the war ?

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27. Clay's true colours and figthing Zombie

 

 *Amber*

 War.. I repeated the word out loud to myself several times. I had found out that if you said a word out loud enough it would loose it's power at some time. It didn't work with war. No matter how much I said it a war would mean deaths, even the people that ended up winning could die.

 But I knew it was inavoidable. Not as long as Ben and Zombie was steadfast on that the underworld didn't have room for both of them. Ben I was sure I could talk out of it if I tried, but Zombie would only let him surrender if he left the underworld. To Ben there wasn't any other way of life and I couldn't ask him to do that.

 Hope and Clay was still in the dark about it all and I didn't know the details. On that point I was kept out and no matter how much I tried pressuring the other three I never got an answer. KC claimed that he didn't know any more than me. Ben and Kattie kept saying I would know when there was something to know. Right now the only thing they would say was that both Tom and Kress supported the war over the alternative.

 I had taken on the responsibility for the club. That meant that every day I was responsible for selling half of the VIP tickets and four nights a week I worked behind the bar. I preferred that to the other jobs.

 I was done selling the VIP tickets early that day and that was why I was one of the first back in the apartment. The only one there was Clay, he was sitting on the couch reading a newspaper. "You are home early". His eyes rested on me.

 "It is really easy to sell the VIP tickets now". I answered. "I am just here to change my clothes, then I am heading over to Tom for training". When I was out selling tickets I wore some of Katties tight fitting clothes, it showed of my body and got the attention of the male tourists. But it really weren't practical for training.

 "What is going on between Kattie and Tom ?" Clay asked me. I could feel his eyes glaring holes through the back of my head.

 "Is there anything going on ?" I asked and turned around. "I know absolutely nothing about that". Which was the truth. None of them had told me anything.

 "You two are friends". Clay stood up". Women tell each other stuff like that". I didn't like the threatening stance he took or the knife I saw flashing in his hand.

 "She hasn't told me anything. So you have to figure out if that is because she is hiding it or there simply is nothing to tell". A part of me was screaming at me to run, but the part of me that Tom had trained forced me to stand my ground, ready to meet the challange.

 "And why haven't anyone informed me that Ben is about to start a damned war ?" Clay stepped closer to me. "Since when did I lose my position ?"

 "Do you think I am better informed ?" I was trying to read his every movement. Seeing how his muscles was tensing and I was ready to jump out of the knifes path or throw myself at him before he could reach me.

 "He should discuss those things with me. I am his second in command". Clay hissed angrily.

 "I agree". I tried to keep the conversation going, but my mouth was going dry. "Maybe he is waiting...".

 "You have ruined everything by coming here". He yelled. His hands was balled into fists and I noticed the way his entire body tensed up, when he got ready to throw himself at me. All those training fights had prepared me exactly for this moment.

 How well I could have defended myself in Katties skin tight jeans I never found out. Before any of us could make the first move KC stepped through the door followed by Hope. It only took KC a few seconds to decode the situation, he stepped in front of Clay prying the knife from his hand.

 "What the fuck do you think you are doing ?" KC sneered at Clay. "Were you seriously going to attack her ?"

 "Well no surprise you taking her side. Everyone is always taking her side". Clay mumbled angrily, and slumped back down in his chair. "Do you feel like a hero now KC ? Do you think Ben is going to give you a price for saving his princess ?"

 "Like you could take me". I hissed at him.

 "Amber, let it go". KC turned towards me. He might be only 18 and almost 6 years younger than me, but right now he was the grown up here. "Lets get out of here".

 "I'd love to, just let me grab a change of clothes".

 I could hear the others from my room, as I quickly changed into some of my own clothes. It wasn't excatly like they tried to keep down their voices.

 "Are you trying to get yourself kicked out ?" KC's voice was angry but controlled. "We are not going to start figthing internally in the gang".

 "She is not even a real member". Clay yelled. "She don't have the tattoo".

 "Neither do I". Hope said. "So don't you see me as a member either ?"

 "You are barely 16. You are not a member, you are a child". Clay's voice was hard. "You are only here because you are Katties sister. That is all you are usable for".

 "Watch out Clay". KC warned him. "You are standing on a ledge right now and you are for some reason trying to run right of it. Do you want Ben to loose all trust in you ? Do you want to be kicked out ?"

 "When I fall, I am pulling all of you with me. You, her and the princess in there". Now Clays voice was low and cold, I could only hear him because I was sneaking back into the living-room. "Do you think Kattie and Ben will still be proud of you when I tell them what you are doing with Hope behind their back ? She is a minor. She is their little girl".

 I realised that I needed to get us out of there now. Before Clay managed to get KC to attack him. I stepped into the room and grapped KC's wrist. He was already breathing hard and his hands were balled into fists, his whole body tense.

 "Lets get out of here". I said and pulled KC with me. I put a hand on Hope's back, pushing her towards the door.

 "Yeah please run away". Clays voice was contemptuous.

 "You don't belong here". Hope turned around, looking like she was going to attack Clay. "You never belonged here". KC simply grabbed her and carried her out the door and down the stairs.

 "Amber run down to Kress and get a phone, call Ben and Kattie". KC said. "Hope and I are staying here, making sure Clay don't leave the apartment".

 

 Kress' place wasn't very far and as I ran as fast as I could, it didn't take me long to get there. But the guards wouldn't let me in because I didn't have a tattoo to prove I was an allied or the necklace Kress used as a symbol, the same way as Ben's bracelet and Tom's ring.

 "My God, honestly ?" I didn't have time for this. "I need to talk to Kress or Zac right away or someone else who can get a hold of Ben". I was glaring at them. "Are you completely incompetent ?"

 "Oh insulting us is so much going to help". One of then said sarcastically. "Now run along". He looked at the other guard and rolled his eyes.

 "Did you seriously just roll your eyes at me ?" I turned angrily to walk away, but before I had even taken a full step I swung back around, swinging my arm with the motion and placing my fist in his diaphragm. Before the other one could grab me, I ran past him.

 An alarm sounded, which made me the center of everyones attention. I knew I couldn't run and I risked getting hurt. So I surrendered and kept asking for Kress.

 "Are you really so desperate to see me that you have to break in here ?" Zac's voice sounded behind me as he came strolling down the stairs, a teasing smirk on his face. I turned my head towards him, but as I was held, I couldn't turn my body. "Let her go guys. She is a friend".

 "I need to borrow your phone, NOW". I said out of breath. "I need to get a hold of Ben".

 "What happened ?" Zac was instantly vigilant and his whole demeanour changed. "Are you okay ?" He gently put his hand on my cheek, looking at me. His touch felt so natural. Not awkward and confusing like when Tom did it and there wasn't the rush of feelings like when Ben touched me. With his other hand Zac grabbed a small phone from his pocket and handed it to me.

 "Clay". I hissed as an answer while finding Ben in his contacts. The benefit of there being only a few phones in the underworld was that everyone had everyones number. Zac even had Zombies number in his.

 Ben picked up his phone almost immediately and with my voice shaking slightly I told him what had happened. That Clay had almost attacked me, that he knew about the war and that he had been ready to attack KC and Hope as well.

 "Meet me in front of the apartment. But none you you are to go inside before I get there". Ben said. "Unfortunately it will be some time". Ben hadn't said where he was going when he left.

 Zac took the phone from my hand. "Ben we risk Clay doing a lot of damage before you can get here. Do I have your permission to retain him in your name ?" His hand was still resting against my cheek. "Or at least help Amber and KC do it".

 I don't know what Ben answered, but Zac nodded to himself. "Okay". Then he hang up and put the phone back in his pocket.

 "Amber breathe darling". He said looking at me with a soft smile. "Everything is going to be okay".

 Just as he had said that Hope came sprinting through the gate. The guards tried to grap her, but Zac waved them off.

 "Zombie showed up". Hope maneged to press out. "They got KC. Clay double-crossed us, he is with Zombie now".

 "Of course he did. Ben should have listened to Tom". Zac hissed. "How many people did Zombie have with him and are they still there ? Did they take KC away ?"

 "With Zombie and Clay they are 12". Hope answered. Her eyes were huge and the fear in them clear to see. "They took him into the apartment".

 "Were is Kattie ?" Zac looked at me. "Is she out of town too ?"

 "I think she is with Tom". I answered. "I'll call her right away". Now when I said it out loud I realised something. She was always with Tom these days. She was the one handling all our business transactions with him and she had started training quite a lot. Was Clay right in his suspicions ?

 "Relax princess, we have taken care of things like this before". Zac handed me the phone again, giving my shoulder a soft squeeze and leaving his hand there. It somehow calmed me a lot.

 

 Kattie didn't hesitate when she opened the door to the apartment. She hadn't even pulled out a weapon. Clay was still sitting in the armchair. Zombie was sitting on the coffee table with KC in front of him on the couch. There was a knife at KC's throat and his hands was tied behind his back. But there was no fear in his eyes, only a stubborn anger.

 "So it is true". Kattie said in a cold voice to Clay. "Power is more important to you than anything else. More important than me ?"

 "Like I am the least important to you. Don't try for a second telling me that I am paranoid. I am a practical boyfriend, but you just can't let Tom go, can you ? What is it with him you women apparently can't resist ?" Clays eyes were cold.

 "Only because you stopped loving me". Kattie answered. "Because I lost all respect for you when you couldn't cope with Ben being happy".

 "Happy ?!" Clay snorted. "Happiness is nothing but an illusion".

 "You chose Zombie over me. Forget Ben. Forget The Shadows. What about me ? What about us ? Were we an illusion ?" Katties voice wasn't even angry. She sounded indifferent. "Were are the rest of your people ?" She turned to look at Zombie. "You are never going anywhere without your back covered, so were are the rest ? Alec and Sam ?"

 "I am not here to fight you". Zombie's voice was arctic. "I am here to deliver my declaration of war".

 "Please ask him not to do it". KC whispered sounding desperate, the hold on him tightening. "Don't ask were it is". His eyes burning into Kattie's.

 "I am not the one to deliver it to. I am just an ordinary member here". Kattie said. "Unfortunately it will be a few hours before Ben can be here".

 "Well then we'll just have to wait". Zombie smiled looking satisfied.

 Kattie shook her head. She whistled once, a simple clear tone. Both doors flew of the hinges as Tom and Kress kicked one in each. Kattie threw herself at Clay, and as the closest I jumped on Zombie. Not knowing how else to make him drop the knife he had against KC's throat, I hammered my own knife into his forearm and grabbed the wound with my free arm. I saw KC collapse, but I didn't have time to see what happened before Zombie was on me and I had to defend myself.

 I managed to knock the knife from his hand and my main goal was to stop him from getting another one. This was what I was good at, figthing. Closing everything else out and focus on only my opponent. And my opponent was finally Zombie. He was the first one I ever fought that I not only wanted to beat. I wanted to cause him pain.

 I didn't register anything around us. I hardly noticed the coffee table collapsing under us, making us fall to the floor. Our fight continued lying down. I was constantly aware of my own movements and how to block his. Several times I felt my hand strike him hard enough to send a shock up through my arm, but I didn't register the pain. I felt the places he hit me, but I didn't really feel it.

 "Amber, stop". Strong arms grabbed me and pulled me back. The adrenalin was still coursing through my body and I fought to get loose and get my hands on Zombie again. But I was held fast against a hard body. "You have won, you beat him". Zac's voice was a bit stern in my ear. I looked down at Zombie, who slowly sat up, cradling his bleeding nose. His right eye was swollen and he was bleading from the ear.

 "Who the hell trained her ?" Zombie said hoarsely, he looked dizzy as he tried to use the couch to get up.

 "Do you need a hand ?" Zac asked with a grin. "Funny how quickly your people surrendered when the realised you were getting your ass handed to you by a woman".

 I looked around. Everywhere our people were having a hold on Zombies people. There were injuries in both groups. Some people was still laying on the floor. Kress had a gun pressed to the back of Clay's head, he was now sitting in his chair again.

 "Get your people and fuck of". I hissed at Zombie.

 "This ain't over princess". Zombie growled. He waved his people towards the door. Alec and someone I didn't know was quick to offer him their help, but Zombie waved them away, looking annoyed.

 When we were finally alone in the apartment I could get an overview. KC was sitting against the wall, his hands clamped at his side. He was white as a sheet and his eye were unfocused. Kattie was laying unconscious on the floor and Tom was kneeling next to her looking worried.

 "Thank you for your help". Kress looked around at his members. "We can take it from here. Make sure the wounded get the help they need". They started leaving the apartment, when they were all out Hope came running in.

 "KC ?" She hurried to him, kneeling down beside him. "Why aren't you helping him ?" She looked pleadingly at Zac, who still stood by my side.

 "Belive me I have tried". Zac said. "But he won't move his hands and let me examine his wound, he threatened to shoot me if I touched him".

 "It is to late". KC whispered hoarsely.

 "Oh do shut up you prima donna". Hope slapped him on the cheek. "Wake up KC, forget it, it is never to late". She forced him to lay down, and forced his hands away. Zac hurried over, kneeling down to examine the wound.

 I turned my attention towards Tom and Kattie, asking him. "Is she going to be okay ?"

 "She should be coming around in a moment". Tom said. "Clay just managed to hit the rigth spot". Tom was glaring at Clay.

 "She deserved it". Clay answered icy cold.

 "You are not allowed to utter another word before Ben gets here". I said looking at Clay. "You can try and explain to him, because the rest of us don't want to hear a word you have to say".

 "Amber sit down". Tom suddenly stepped over, pushing me down on the couch. "You are wounded".

 "I am perfectly fine Tom". There was nothing that hurt.

 "That one I ain't buying". Tom said. "You are absolutely not fine. Lie down while I find what I need". He gently pressed me to lie down, before disappearing into the kitchen after a first aid kit.

 In the underworld a first aid kit contained everything for a minor operation. It had scalpels, needles and tread, pain relieve, both the numbing kind and the kind that sent you to sleep, and bandages, band aids, scissors and tape. And of course some of the medication Tom imported and sold. Blood thinners, something for blood poisoning, something for allergic reactions, several kinds of penicillin and antibiotics. Tom imported medicins for everything.

 "How can't you notice that you've had a knife stabbed through your bicep ?" Tom asked me in a rather shocked voice, as he started cleaning out the wound. I turned my head and looked at my arm. It was unrealistic that something could bleed that much and look that serious and I couldn't feel it at all.

 I did feel the needle though, as it pierced my skin, when Tom stitched up the wound. But it wasn't really a pain, more like a tickling feeling.

 After that Tom cleaned something over my left eyebrow, before I felt the needle tickle my skin there too. After that he checked my arm again. His hands ran gently down my legs, funnily enough I did feel his hands on me. As always it made me feel confused. He removed several plastic pieces from the table that had pierced my skin.

 "I need to ask you to remove your shirt". Tom said, looking everywhere but at me. And I could swear that he was actually blushing. "What ? Why ?"

 "Apparently you can't feel anything at all and I need to make sure you haven't been hid on the upper body". He said insisting, still unable to look at my face. At that moment Kattie woke up.

 "Tom ?!" She sat up, looking around, she seemed confused.

 Tom was beside her in a flash, helping her sit up. I could see the hate in Clays eyes, when Kattie placed her hand on Tom's cheek and their eyes met.

 "I am right here baby". He said, sending her a smile that almost melted me. "Clay has been told to keep his mouth shut until Ben gets here". Kattie looked around and spotted me and KC. "They are both going to be okay". Tom said before she could answer. "Are you feeling okay ?" There was so much love and concern in his voice that I couldn't help smiling. They were so adorable together.

 Katties eyes fell on Clay. And I don't know what went through her head, but I thought she might throw herself at him. Tom must have felt it too and he gently put a hand on her shoulder saying calmly. "He isn't worth it".

 "You are right". Kattie's voice was filled with hatred. "We are done Clay. We should have been a long time ago".

 We all looked with surprise as Kattie turned towards Tom and kissed him. Tom seemed to be just as surprised as everyone else, because it took some time before he gently pushed her far enough away that he could look at her.

 "Kattie, you and me shouldn't be just because you hate him". He said gently, his hand stroking her hair. He let her go when she stood up.

 "I need to be alone". Kattie disappeared into one of the rooms. I was about to get up and follow her, but a glance from Tom and a small shake of his head stopped me.

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