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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40. The war is on

 

 *Tom*

 I am still half asleep when I feel her slide down under the blanket and snuggle into me. I sigh happily and wind my arms around her waist pulling her into me. We have been so busy lately that we have hardly seen each other and we often even sleep at different times.

 "I missed you". I mumble against her neck, I can feel she is naked and that is a fact I most definitely won't complain about. She feels soft and warm. I let my lips run over her shoulder. My eyes still closed.

 She turns in my arms and I feel her lips trail up my jaw and find my lips, and I open my mouth to her as she kisses me deeply. But then I feel it, something is wrong, it isn't Kattie, she tastes different, feels different.. My eyes spring open and I see some young girl. I panic, what is she doing here, naked in my bed. "Fuck.. what are you doing here ? Get out now". I sit up, pointing at the door.

 "Are you sure ? I could make you really happy. I promise to do anything you want and I won't tell Kattie anything". She let her hands run up my chest, her voice sensual.

 I shake my head. "I am sorry if I in any way have made you think I wanted this. But the only woman that makes me happy is Kattie. So please leave and we forget this ever happened".

 "Sorry". She quickly climbs out of bed, grabbing her clothes and pulling it on, then she leave after looking nervously at something. I turn my head to see what she had been looking at, seeing Kattie leaned against the wall, her arms crossed.

 I shake my head trying to clear it. "How long have you been here ?" Had she just walked in or had she seen everything ? She couldn't be angry with me about this could she ?

 "Oh I have been here the whole time, I was the one who let her in". She smiles and walk over to my bed, she looks happy. "I am so happy you passed my little test".

 "You... You set me up ? You asked a naked women to crawl into my bed and try to seduce me ?" I stare at her. It hurt that she trusted me this little. And it hurt even more to know that it was my own fault, I had made this strong confident woman this insecure.

 She sits down on the edge of the bed, suddenly seeming uncertain. "Are you angry with me ?"

 "I am hurt Kattie, and so very sad that you feel you have to do this, that I make you this insecure and that you trust me this little". I close my eyes. "Maybe you are better of without me".

 Her eyes blows wide and her voice is shaking. "What ? Are you.. are you breaking it off ? Are we done ? Is that what you are saying ?"

 "Kat, baby.. no that isn't what I am saying. But I want you to be happy, more than anything else. To feel safe and loved. And apparently I am not capable of making you feel that way". My chest literally hurts. "Maybe you should find someone who can".

 She crawls up into my lap, her arms around my neck. "Please Tom, I am sorry, I shouldn't have done that. I don't want anyone else, I only want you. You do make me feel loved".

 "This is exactly what I mean Kat". I brush her hair from her face. "Were is my strong independent Kattie ? She would never have begged a man like this, especially not me. This is all my fault".

 She closes her eyes for a moment, then she opens them and sends me a smile, her hand running into my hair, pulling my head sharply back. "Forget it, you are mine and you are not allowed to leave me, so get used to it". I raise one eyebrow and she giggles before kissing me deeply.

 

 When something unavoidable and at the same time uncomfortable finally starts it will always be with mixed emotions.

That is how I felt about this war.

 The fear of which victims and sacrifices it would claim, made me look differently at everyone I passed by. Maybe this was the last time I would see them. The worry about the lives I would have to take gave me nightmares and the fear, the nerves and the combativeness all tore at me.

 And then the relief that the wait was finally over. That it was now possible to go out and do something to try and end this for good.

 As a leader it was an obvious choice to go with Ben to the park, where he and Zombie would finalise the rules.

 Lucas, KC and Penny had all stepped into adulthood. They were as grown up and responsible as I had been at their age, well actually a lot more so. That none of us had discovered Lucas leadership skill earlier was what surprised me the most. The other two we knew better. He had stepped up without hesitation and without in any way feeling inferior to the rest of us.

 Zombie had Christopher back as his second in command. You could see that from his place at Zombie's right side. The same spot Kattie was in beside Ben.

 I couldn't help glancing at Amber. She had trusted Christopher not to kill Ben. Was she ready to wish for his death for us to win ?

 Her face didn't give away any feelings or thoughts. She stayed a little back, standing between KC and Lucas.

 Clay was standing at Zombie's left hand, but he didn't have his tattoo. As the tattoo was demanded in the war, it proved that he was only here for the game, he wasn't going to fight.

 Zombie and Ben stopped three feet apart.

 "You keep surprising me Ben". Zombie was looking at Lucas. "Are you willing to sacrifice such young lives ?" He nodded towards Lucas, KC and Penny.

 "No one is getting sacrificed". Ben answered calmly. "You know what they are capable of, just as much as I do". He nodded towards Christopher. "So you are ready to give up your life in luxury and risk it here ?"

 "Well I am counting very much on surviving". Christopher said dryly. He was as he had been back then. Cold and ruthless.

 "So you are ready to sacrifice your status in Catristia". Ben ascertained.

 "I am counting very much on the threat against my status being removed very soon". Christopher looked at Zac with an evil grin.

 "Let's get down to business". Zombie cut him off. "The winner of this war is the one of us who are still breathing when the other is dead". He said. "As agreed the rules states that we both have to personally participante in at least thirty percentage of the fights, no letting other fight our war for us".

 I was impressed that Ben had had gotten this rule pushed through. Zombie usually had the same strategy as Kress on this matter. Let others fight and show up when it is over.

 "If I win your predecessor will make an alliance with The Stars and support them in their fight against Catrista". Ben said. "And they will give up any kind of claim the belive to have on Kattie and Amber due to the tattoos that was forced on them and they will never try to lay a hand on Amber again".

 "And when I win". Zombie said. "Then The Shadows falls to Clay and neither Kattie or Amber can ever feel safe".

 "Let the best man win". Ben shook Zombie's hand, before turning his back and ordering everyone back to their bases.

 The war was on.

 

 We had distributed everyone at the two bases. With me and with Kress. The groups had been divided and each gotten a room to sleep in and now it was time for the leaders to go to our starting points. Kress, Penny, Mike, Lucas and Zac went to the prison, the rest of us went back to the school. The first surveillance teams was ready as soon as Drew and Zac was ready to lead them.

 There was a tense silence on the school. Even though everyone had gotten a room, most people was gathered in the dining hall, waiting for things to happen.

 While Ben an KC went to the commando room, Amber and Kattie choose to lock themselves in my room. What they were talking about I am not sure I want to know. So I went to go through the hospital one last time, making sure it was stocked and ready.

 In the end I joined the others in the commando room.

 "Still nothing new from the front, everything is quiet". Ben told me. Hope and three other younger members sat at a computer each, wearing a headset. They were ready to assist if needed. Ben was pacing the floor. "So far, so good".

 "Why are you so worried ? You haven't been still for more than five seconds". KC asked him.

 "Because Zac is out there and it would crush Amber if he died". Ben answered. "Things can change really fast, and Christopher wants to see him dead more than anything".

 "You can't protect her from that pain". I pointed out. "No matter how much you want to".

 "Is it to much to hope that the people that means most to her comes through this alive ?" Ben asked, stopping in his track. "Zac is her brother, Kattie is her best friend". He glared at me. "Who is going to help her move on if I die and they aren't here ? You ? Oh you would love that wouldn't you ?"

 "No !" How could he even think that ? "Believe me Ben, I rather die myself and know she is happy with you".

 "Sorry". Ben shook his head. "I shouldn't have indicated that there is something between you".

 "Nerves". I brushed it of. "Of course I would help her if needed, but believe me, I wouldn't in any way love it".

 "Of course not. And if it means anything I would also die if it would mean you were here to make Kattie happy. I guess I never told you how grateful I am that you were there for her when I hurt her so badly". He finally sat down. KC had moved down to sit with Hope, to give us some space.

 "I have to admit that I might have had a tad selfish reasons for doing that". I admitted. "I have always had a rather soft spot for Kattie".

 "I am happy that she has you. After all this with Clay". Ben placed a hand on my shoulder. "And look how far you have gotten Amber, it is amazing. You truly are a great friend Tom".

 I was still searching for an answer to that, when one of the boys got a message through. He quickly put it on speakers and we turned our attention to the war we were in.

 "At least eighty men has just left the harbour". Drews voice sounded in the room. "They are moving towards the park".

 "Is Zombie with them ?" Ben asked.

 "I don't know". Drew answered. "Their formations are to close together and I didn't dare move closer to them".

 "Fall them in the back". Ben ordered. "I am sending Tom and KC of with two groups each to meet them". Ben turned to me. "You are on".

 "Thanks". I stepped up beside him. "Thank you for not sending Kattie out there". 

 He nodded towards me. "Just make sure to come back alive".

 

KC and I stayed in the back, when our groups collided with Zombie's men. There was no reason for us to be up front and risk ourselves to soon.

 I was pulled three years back in time. The sound, the smell and the fear was the same. Yells, shots and screams all mixed together and became the sound of war. The metallic smell of blood filled my nostrils and I knew I would soon go insane if I didn't throw myself into the battle.

 "Find out if Zombie is here. If he isn't we are going to pull back". I called over the leaders frequency. I knew they were all listening. Including Kattie and Amber, who was probably still in my room.

 I pushed the thought of them away and threw myself into the battle. I had to close everything else out of my head and do what I was here to do.

 I lost the feeling of time and place. It could have been minutes or it could have been hours. So far I had done very well, I had no serious injuries, but I had a feeling that our groups had been diminished quite a bit.

 "I don't think Zombie is here". It sounded from KC. "I wote that we pull back".

 "Fine then". I answered. "Everyone call your people back to the school". I changed frequency and called my own men back, looking around to get an overview. As soon as we got back someone had to go out to get the dead and injured. Part of the deal was that after each battle we could send out medics who was unarmed and wore white T-shirts to clean up and help the injured.

 "Ben, got a clean up team ready?". I asked him, looking around for Drew. He was engaged in a one on one combat and it didn't look like it would be over soon.

 "Do you need a hand Drew ?" I asked him there was no answer. But it would be a lot to ask for him to take his radio and answer in the middle of a battle.

 "Tom !" KC's yell hit me at the same time he do, a knife flying right over my head, slicing the air where my chest had been seconds ago.

 "Thanks". I quickly looked around to see who had thrown it, but Zombie's people was on retreat now. I let KC pull me back on my feet.

 "Drew ?" I called him over the radio. I can't see him any longer. There weren't many people still standing.

 "Drew is gone". Hope's voice sounded in my ear. "We lost contact". She sounded shocked.

 I fought my way through the wounded who wasn't able to retreat on their own accord. Making my way to were I last saw Drew.

 The knife was still lodged in his throat and his eyes were still open, but his gaze were empty and dead. Even though we had a clean up crew on the way, I knew that it was my job to make sure he came back home. Us working together had never really been a friendship, but we had respected one another and we had achieved a lot together.

 "I am so sorry". KC whispered next to me.

 "Let's get home". I pulled the knife from Drew neck and threw it away. Then I closed his eyes, before bending down and hoisting him up. KC helped get his rigid body up on my shoulder and stayed silently by my side on the way home. Not once he asked if he could help me carry or take some of the burden for me.

 Drew's death was a burden only I could carry.

 

 Ben, Kattie and Amber was waiting right inside the gate. As soon as we stepped inside Kattie came running to me.

 "Are you okay ?" She looked at Drew. "I am so sorry".

 "War is war". I said and stepped past her. I didn't talk to anyone before I had put Drew down in the room that had been made ready to keep them till they could be buried. The room had been cooled down for that reason and some of the most stable members was taking care of them.

 "You need at shower babe". Kattie's hand found mine. I didn't object when she pulled me with her into the bathroom. Instead I pulled her into my arms, holding her close. 

 "I don't want you to go out there". I whispered against her neck. "The thought that you could be the next ..".

 "Tom". She kissed me softly right behind my ear and looked up at me. "How do you think I feel when you are out there ? You didn't even come by before you went of to battle.

 "There weren't time". Truth is that I didn't know what to say. What do you say to the women you love before going out to possibly die ?

 "I don't know if I could live without you". Kattie was serious. "I don't want to find out. How can you ask me to stay away from the fighting, when you know I can't possibly ask the same of you ?"

 "Because I am very egoistical". I kissed her deeply. I kissed her because that was exactly what I wanted, what I needed the most. "I finally got you, and I am not ready to let go".

 "Promise me one thing". She whispered. Tears were filling her eyes. "Next time you get sent out there, tell me goodbye before you leave".

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