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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2. She is Amber

 

 2 years later

 *Tom*

 It was Thursday, which meant I got a new delivery of goods. Goods meant weapons and ammunition which we sold to the others.

 As it wasn't really possible to have an illegal ship unloading illigal goods in the middle of Catrista's fancy tourist area, I had to pay Zombie a large sum every month to use the harbour he claimed ownership of. Only on Thursdays could I be there without risk of getting shot.

 And because I was on the harbour I learned of the battle right away. Such a large group of Zombie's gang didn't get injured in our every day scrabbles and the traning fights only gave bruises. There had been a real fight and when Zombie came from a real fight of that magnitude, there were only one logical opponent.. Ben.

 Even now, two years after the war and Ambers death, they still blamed each other and they only lived to make life troublesome for one another.

 I left the responsibility with Thorn, one of my older members and ran back to the car. To be worried about one another in our part of town was unavoidable. I should know better than anyone. I was the one selling the weapons people used to defend themself and to wage war on each other with.

 My worries was as always for Kattie and the kids. The kids whom I could hardly call kids any longer. Ben I felt no loyalty towards any longer, and Clay, Katties boyfriend, I'd be happy to see him gone. He had come along a year ago and had swept Kattie of her feet, even though she had sworn she didn't believe in that kind of love. He had pulled The Shadows from the deep hole Ben had lead them into. He was the hero who had done what I couldn't.

 Our part of the city was relatively small. The people in Catrista had started calling it the underworld and we who lived there was mostly mentioned as the unwanted.

 That was what we was. Catrista's underworld. The place were it's secrets was buried and the unwanted citizens disappeared to. We were that secret that could make the goverment of the country punish the entire city for our mere existence. We should either never have been born or we should have died a long time ago.

 The citizens of Catrista had nothing to do among us and there was no danger they wandered down here by accident. And there was made sure the tourists didn't end up her either. Not that we would harm them, but the goverment of Castrista seemed to think we were all rapists and murderes.

 So the size and the lack of traffic made me reach the apartment in ten minutes. We were few who had transportation. It was a privilege the leaders usually kept to themselves. And the gangs that needed it had a couple of cars for transportation.

 Not that the cars and motorcycles that existed here was legal. It wasn't easy to buy and pay for a car, when you in theory didn't exist at all and therefore couldn't have it registered in a name.

 As soon as I stopped the car on the curb, I knew something was wrong. Kattie sat on the fire escape ladder leading to their apartment on the fifth floor and her whole posture made me worry.

 She looked up with a guarded glance and our eyes met. There was sorrow, fear and worry in her green eyes. It was something I hadn't seen since Ambers dead.

 "What happened ?" I felt my hands get sweaty with worry. Whom had died ? Kattie had only cried once, and that was when Amber died. Not even in the hard times rigth after, were anyone else would have broken, had she cried. Not that she hadn't seeked comfort and safety. But never with tears in her eyes.

 "Clay is hurt". She whispered in a raw voice. "And Ben found a girl.." Kattie's breathing got faster. I sat down next to her, pulling her into my arms. They still fitted perfectly around her, Clay being in the picture hadn't changed that.

 "Clay is going to make it". I whispered back. And I couldn't stop myself from pressing my lips against the top of her head. That was the closest I would get to her now a days.

 "Yeah Kress and Zac said the same". Kattie mumbled. "But the girl..". Her voice broke and a tremble went through her body. "She is Amber".

 I must admit that for a moment I feared the worst. That Ben had snapped and dugged up the body, bringing it home, but then the sensible part of my brain kicked in. "Amber is dead Kat". I whispered. "Who she is I don't know, but she isn't Amber".

 "Please talk to him Tom". Kattie pulled away and looked pleadingly at me. She had tears in her eyes now. I just wanted to take her in my arms and make her pain and worries go away. "Make him understand that she can't stay here".

 It was a fools prayer. ben had never in his life listened to me. It wasn't due to friendly feelings between us that The Shadows and The Eagles had an alliance.

 

 Inside the apartment there was an almost scary calmness. From the kitchen I could her Kress and Zac's mumbling voices, while they were standing around Clay who were laying on the kitchen table. Ben was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living-room, biting his nails. He hardly registered me being there.

 KC was squatting next to the couch, cleaning a wound on a slim person, while Hope sat on the empty beer crates, that made it up for a coffe table and handed him what he needed. Those were the kids I worried about. Kids that managed to care for the wounded. In the underworld you grew up way to fast. Nowhere else a fifteen year old would act as nurse to a seventeen year old.

 I knew Kress and Zac would call me if they needed my help, so I decided to take a look at this girl they had found.

 Kattie was right. This was Amber or someone who looked amazingly much like her. The long blonde hair with the natural curls, the slightly round almost doll like face with the slightly crocked nose. She even had the same little beauty mark on her ear. I didn't have to see her eyes to know they would be the same crystal blue colour, as Amber had.

 I only knew Ambers face this well because I had watched her after she died. I had tried to figure out what made two men, brothers even, become mortal enemies over her. Tried to understand how her death could end the war without a winner.

 "I know it, she looks like Amber". KC said in a low voice, while he was sewing up a gash on her arm with hands that were way to experienced for his age . "But it isn't her".

 "Well Amber has been in her grave two years, she definitely would be much less pretty if we dug her up". I pointed out and kneeled down next to KC. I had spotted a bullet wound on the back of her head.

 I didn't need to ask Hope before she handed me a small flashlight and a scalpel. When it came to things like this she knew as much as the older ones that were trained in it. With Hope it was reality that had trained her.

 "What happened to her ?" I asked as I started examining the back of her head closer.

 "She got caught in the middle of our shoot out with Zombie". KC was still talking in a low hushed voice, like he was afraid someone would hear us. "Someone hit her in the back of the head, but she has a lot more injuries that are not from the battle".

 "Who is she ?" I was holding the flashlight between my lips and it warped my words a bit. But I needed both my hands to make the tiny cut and remove the bullet from her head.

 "Sarah Nobel". KC whispered and glanced at Ben. I had to close my eyes for a couple of seconds. The Nobels was one of the seven families that practically ran the city of Catrista. She had family in the board of directors that right now kept our existence hidden from the president of the country, but who could blow our cover any minute and throw us into a battle we couldn't win.

 I didn't say anything else before I could place the bullet on the table. Hope hurriedly handed me something to clean away the blood, then needle and tread to close the wound.

 "How did she end up down here, with us ?" The question was mostly to myself, but KC answered me anyways; "My best guess is The Suns". He said meeting my gaze.

 The Suns made a living of making people disappear without a trace, of torturing and teaching people a lesson. Not only the inhabitants of the underworld, but also for the rich families of Castrista. The ones that could pay their prices. It was a logical guess.

 "Unless she has run of on her own to be here". I suggested.

 "She hasn't got the brains". KC said shaking his head. "The girls of the upper class are pretty, but stupid. That is how their fathers and later their husbands want them. Stupid women don't ask questions. I knew KC was right. If the women of the upper class was smarter, more of them would make their way out here to us.

 "The question is why and who paid him to take her ?" KC looked at her thoughtfully again.

 "That isn't only Sunny". Hope chipped in. "Look at her neck and her wrists. The Suns never keep their hostages more than a couple of days".

 Hope was right. There was marks after rope around her neck and it looked like her wrist had been cut open several times, possibly by thin rope or handcuffs. This wasn't Sunny's doing.

 "It isn't easy being a daugther of the upper class". KC dryly ascertained. He is anyone knew that. He had lived in Catrista before coming here. "Lets move her into a bed".

 I gently lifted her from the couch. She felt so light in my arms. So fragile, not cut out for a life here among us at all.

 When she lay in the bed I gently removed the clothes from her body, so I could check all bruises and abrasions. Her skin had more scars and marks than ours, and we lived among weapons. That alone was grounds for worry.

 "I know it is stupid to let her stay here, but I don't like to send her home to that treatment". KC said behind me. He reminded me of myself, when I was his age. Wanting so much to learn and impatient to grow up and be taken seriously. His dedication and maturity would give him a great career among us.

 

Ben and Kattie was standing in opposite ends of the room and refused to look at one another. "Could you two forget your biggering for a moment". I asked both of them. I had draped the blanket over the girl, hiding her body from them so far. "Forget that she looks like Amber and think of her as any other girl, just for a moment".

 Ben made a sign for me to continue. His dark eyes told me about the pain he had been through the last two years and his stance told me that he didn't give a shit about my opinion.

 "Her real real name is Sarah Nobel". I told them. "KC recognised her. She is the daugther of Nobel". This was important information.

 "John Nobel". KC chipped in. "The deputy mayor". Not that it changed anything. One brother or the other, it was the same mess for us.

 "During your fight she got hit in the back on her head. KC and me are guessing that she has been kept by Sunny for a couple of days. But it doesn't explain the rest". I pulled the blanket away, revealing her body to the others.

 "Honestly Tom". Ben stepped forward sending me a reproving glare, like I was still the kid that spend his days climbing trees and sneaking into amusement parks.

 "Science Ben". I said, sending him a strict glare back. "Look at the marks on her neck and arms". I pointed the light at her and they both stepped closer. I could see the fear in Katties eyes and the anger in Ben's.

 "Someone held her down". Kattie let a finger run along the marks on her upper arm. Of course those were the first Kattie noticed. How often hadn't she come to me bearing those same marks ? Marks after strong hands, holding her down. Katties eyes had moved on and I knew she was looking for the same signs I had been looking for.

 "And tried chooking her". Ben commented. "It isn't just Sunny who has put his mark on her body".

 "Her father". Katties voice was little more than a whisper. "Or maybe a husband ? The women of Catrista usually gets married pretty young". I could feel the lump growing in Katties throat. "She has been raped".

 Ben's gaze finally followed Kattie's.

 "Are you.. ". Ben stopped himself and for the first time I saw a glimpse of regret in his eyes. So he knew what he had done to Kattie.

 "Shit". Kattie turned around and smashed a fist into the wall. "Now I can't keep arguing that she need to leave". She shook her hand before cradling it to her chest.

 "I can take her with me". I was looking at Ben. "There is no reason for her to stay here and rip up in you loss and pain".

 "Yes". Ben's gaze turned hard as steel again. "She is staying here. I was the one who found her and it's me who has a responsibility towards her". I could see hope leave Katties eyes. KC put an arm around her shoulders and to my surprise she accepted it.

 I didn't know if Ben rejected my offer because she looked so much like Amber or because he didn't respect me as a leader. But honestly I didn't really care what he thought about me.

 "Just remember, it isn't her. No matter how much she look like her". I pulled the blanket over her body again and left the room.

 

 As waited Kattie followed me and in the hallway I pulled her into my arms again. "It is going to be okay". I promised her. "KC is strong and almost grown up. You got Clay here this time. Hope is older too..".

 "Clay is hurt". Kattie cut me of. "Ben ends up on the drugs again. He hasn't touched them for eighth months..".

 "Stay as far way from him as possible when he is using". I whispered to her. "Let him destroy himself, no need for you to try and save him on your own account".

 Kress and Zac came out carrying Clay rigth at that moment and Kattie pulled away from me to open the door to their room.

 "He is going to make it". Kress promised. "Make sure he stays in bed and that he don't do anything that makes the wounds open. If he gets his eyesight back only time will tell". He clapped Kattie gently on the shoulder, sending her a small smile. Kress wasn't really good at comforting or handling women.

 "The girl ?" Kress looked questioningly at me and I told him everything I knew. Everything. Every mark and every guess we had. "She doesn't belong here". Kress pointed out when I was done.

 "Who does when they first arrive ?" I asked. "I am more worried about Ben. This is going to do a number on him".

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