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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33. Getting mom to accept her new life

 

 *Tom*

 I knew it would be very hard to get Pricilla Nobel to accept the life that I could offer her. Much harder than it would be with the three young people that had chosen to come. But I had to try, for Amber and Zac. It was very possible that they wanted nothing to do with her right now, but they would regret later if we had killed her to.

 For the first time I took care of the introduction myself. Pricilla was sitting stiffly in the chair opposite me in my office, while the three stood looking humble, their eyes at their feet.

 "Firstly". I started out. "You will get nothing from looking at the floor. Here we look at each other and we are all worth the same".

 Impressively enough it was the young girl that looked up first. The two boys was a bit more hesitant. They were all a lot younger than me, but it didn't mean that they hadn't been under John Nobel's power for many years.

 "As long as you stay behind these walls you are safe. No one can touch you here. If you leave the school grounds, I can no longer guarantee your safety, so please don't do that before I tell you, that you are ready to do so". I was looking at the three yong ones. Those were the ones that could possibly turn into an aktive.

 None of them reacted while I told them about the way the underworld was build, about the gangs and how we live. There was no protests when I told them how everything worked and what I expected from them as payment for food, lodging and safety.

 "You have to decide pretty fast if you are happy just living save and secure behind these walls, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. Or if you want to be active members and take care of other jobs outside the walls". I explained.

 "Which jobs would that be ?" One of the boys mumbled. He still didn't dare looking into my eyes.

 "Security work, picking up goods, sales jobs, fights". I shrugged. "Which jobs you would get depends on were your skills are. The question is if you can be happy being inside my walls, or if you would like the freedom to move around outside".

 "They are children". Pricilla lifted her head and looked me into the eyes. "They are only children and you want to make soldiers of them".

 "Children ?" I looked at her. "Do you want to know how old your son was the first time he fired a gun ?  How old I was when I first watched someone die ? Here you don't survive as a child when you have turned 13".

 "Don't use my children against me". Priscilla said angrily. I had to admire that she had the courage to look directly in my eyes despite the live she had lived. "I have never been a good mother, I know that. But I am not going to let you abouse kids to further your own position. I am done with doing nothing".

I returned her glare. I had to stand my ground here, I couldn't give in or she would never respect me. When she finally looked away, she was more angry than I was. I could easily see were Amber got her stubborn streak from.

 "What is your names ?" I asked the three kids. I looked at the youngest of the boys first. "And age please". I added.

 "Elijah". The first one mumbled. He had dark skin and his hands was sligthly shaking. "I am sixteen". He added without looking at me. To have dark skin wasn't easy in a town like Catrista. It was accepted that the tourists were, but it was seen as a genetic flaw in it's citizens. A reason to become unwanted. It could be interesting to know what the reason had been to keep this boy alive and why Nobel had bought him.

 "Elijah you are free to make your own decisions now. I don't belive in physical punishment of any kind. Do you want to start your training ? Or should I send you to work in the garden ?"

 "Training please". He glanced at Priscilla.

 "And you ?" I looked at the girl.

 "Rachel". She had her eyes focused somewhere over my shoulder. "I am 14 years old and I want to be a soldier". She straightened her back. "But if it isn't possible I'll be okay with working in the garden". She added, and let out a breath.

 "And why shouldn't that be possible ?" I asked her wonderingly.

 "Because I am a girl". She said.

 "Some of the very best so,diers I know are girls". I told her. "There might still be people in the underworld that has the idea that women shouldn't be active, but I ain't one of them". I looked at the last one.

 "Marcus". He said with a deep voice. "17 years old and I also want to train". His eyes was at the ceiling. This was three very different young people, but they had all taken a brave decision.

 "Very well. Elijah, Rachel and Marcus. I am going to assign you to a trainer who will take care of your personal development. You will train to build your muscles, learn how to use a gun and a knife, you will learn advanced first aid and you will learn how to fight and especially, when to fight. When youmhave the practical things in place, you will each gat a mentor, who will teach you everything about being an active member. When your trainer and your mentor says that you are ready, you will have a test with me and if I deam you qualified you will from there be an aktive member equally to everyone else".

 I got Mike to come and pick them up. It had to be his job to show them around, show them were they could sleep, tell them about house rules and find them a trainer. 

 I turned to Priscilla. "It was intentionally I didn't offer you to start training". I started.

 "I think I have reached an age were it is to late to learn how to figth". She said. "But I would like to learn how to shoot a gun".

 "You will have no need for that". It was a gentle rejection. "I am offering you food, a clean bed and protection, if you agree to help in the kitchen and with the laundry on the same conditions as my other passive members".

 "While I silently watch you train kids to fight ?" She was shaking her head. "Do you think you are any better than John ?"

 "Do you want to hear the alternative ?" I asked her calmly. "Because the only alternative you got is that I don't take you under my protection and were do you stand then ? Under Christopher's ? Or Rene's ? Do you really think Amber or Zac will take you in ? And the alternative is their enemies, how well do you think you will fare there ?". I stood up. "Your children hates you and their enemies want to use you against them. I am you only possibility to have a life". I walked over to open the door. "There is someone I want you to meet".

 I lead her down to the kitchen. As always when I entered the young women stopped and watched me. Only my mother dared to approach me.

 "Priscilla this is my mother". I presented. "Mom, this is Priscilla, Amber and Zac's mother". They shook each others hands and I could see how they measured each other up. "Mom Priscilla is getting the extra bed in your room".

 "Why ?" My mother took a step back and krossed her arms.

 "Because I say so". I stated. "And she is following you around the next couple of weeks and you will make sure that she fits in and feels welcome".

 "Of course". My mother gave me a light bow , but I could see the irritation in her eyes.

 "Do you really let you son, your own child, talk to you like that ?" Priscally asked. She left no doubt about what she thought of my upbringing.

 "Oh this one has never been a child". My mom answered. "And he might be my son, but first and foremost he is a leader. The best leader the underworld has ever had".

 "I put my gang above everything else". I told her. "My position demands that I am fair and that I sometimes have to make decisions that aren't fun. It is to late to try and change me and my ways". I nodded to Priscilla. "For your sake and for Ambers and Zacs, I really hope you can fit in".

 

 I went with Zac, Ben and Mike to the club that evening. We sat down at our usual table on the second floor. From were we were sitting we could just exactly see Amber and Kattie who was working the bar. They both looked comfortable there and none of them seemed to care about the men coming on to them.

 "Isn't it about time that you start being there for fight nights again?" Mike asked, looking at Ben. "You must be in shape to start accepting challenges".

 Every second week we had a fight night in the arena where members of our alliance could pay for entrence. We made good money on salling beverages and taking bets on who won the games. Between each fight our resident band would play to keep up the mood. Ben hadn't let Amber participate yet and neither he nor Kattie had been there for years.

 "Well I happen to think that I have more important thinks to spend my enegi on right now". Ben answered. "Like how to tell my members that I have decided to send them to war, because I refuse to give her up". He lifted his glas towards Amber in the bar. "I am starting to understand Kress, when he says that love makes it hard to run a gang".

 "Make them understan". Zac suggested. "Let them see the real Amber. The Amber who is worth going to war for".

 "They will never understand". Ben was shaking his head.

 "If you do it the right way they will". Zac leaned forward in his seat looking at us. "Stop hiding her away Ben. Put her out in the light, all spots on her".

 "Let her fight tomorrow night". Mike said.

 "No". Ben was shaking his head. "That isn't going to happen. I am willing to let her participate in more things, but I am not sending her in the ring. Not on a fight night".

 Zac sent me a resigned glance. Ben is to protective of Amber, he isn't ready to risk her even knowing how strong she is. We didn't press him further for now. There was no reason to end up in a discussion with Ben over it.

 I looked at Zac. "So how does it feel to have Nobel genes ? Do you feel any urge to eliminate us yet ?" I teased him.

 "Ha ha very funny. Eliminate you, always". Zac answered. "But hey now you say it that could be the explanation that I am still undefeated at fight nights".

 "Almost undefeated.. remember". I pointed out.

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