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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11. Tom's impossible shirt and watching a fight

 

 *Amber*

 I have to admit that Tom was right and he knew very well what he did when he made my program. Even my days of relaxation was carefully planned so my muscles got the rest the neede to recover from the hard work out.

 Of course it cost me pain, sweat and tears. But I made sure no one saw me cry about the pain in my muscles and I quickly learned to ignore the pain in my chest when my lungs screamed for air during my runs.

 My program was changed along with my body. I was soon of the training machines and working with the loose weights instead. Mostly Tom was there himself to help me or he made sure that someone else was. The runs was no longer at painful experience and Tom made sure I got the clothing and shoes I needed.

 One afternoon he stepped into the training room just as I was getting ready to start my training. A couple of younger girls had been cleaning and when they saw him they immediately got all flustered and giggling making me roll my eyes. 

 "Good afternoon ladies". He said flashing them a smile making them blush and giggle even worse before they scurried out and he walked over to me. "Hi Amber, why the frown ?"

 "You are such a .. such a..". I didn't really have a word for it. He was looking rather amused, raising one eyebrow at me. "I am waiting darling.. what am I ?"

 "Impossible is what you are". I made a face at him and he threw his head back laughing, before looking at me with that twinkle in his eyes. "Oh so I am impossible now, am I.. how so ? If I may ask".

 I rolled my eyes again, I was pretty sure that he was more than aware of the women around him and the way he seemed to affect them. Every girl there between 15 and 25 turned into a giggling mess every time he was near, the older ones were battering there eyes, trying to catch his attention and the old ones were clagging there teeth seending disapproving glances. "Like you don't know. The way all the women are swooning for you".

 "Well I can't help my charms, can I now ?" He said grinning at me. My eyes running over him and stopping when our eyes locked. "Yeah, I think it has more to do with those shirts".

 He looked down himself, he apparently had a liking for snug T-shirts in some material that kind of clung to him making them slightly see through, there weren't a woman alive between the age of 15 and 50 that wouldn't appreciate the sight. Todays choice was dark blue, a colour that fitted him very well. He pulled out at the bottom of the shirt like he was examining it, giving me a clear view of his abdomen as I was sitting down, making me bite my lip not to groan in frustration. "My shirts ?"

 "Oh stop it Tom, don't play innocent with me". I slapped him hard on the stomach and he jumped away chuckling. "No seriously, what is all this flirting about ? I mean we all know you are handsome, but there is more to it".

 He sighed and sad down across from me. "You want to know the truth ?". I nodded. I wanted to know more about him. We spend quite a lot of time together, but he rarely opened up about himself. "Do you know what the key to my success is ? Why my gang is by far the biggest end most triving ?"

 I look expectantly at him. I had actually wondered. I mean he seemed to be a great leader, but I wondered what set him apart from the others. "Actually yes".

 "I never underestimates the power women holds. That is were Kress fails. Not only does some women hold power as active members were they are just as usable, sometimes even more than men. But even the women that are not active, the ones that takes care of the food, the children and everything else, they hold much more power than most, even themselves realises". He was biting his lip.

 I am looking at him, intriguinged. "So what you saying that they women has the real power ? You control the women, you control the power ?"

 "I wouldn't say control.. women shouldn't be controlled". He said with a small lopsided smile. "I figured out pretty fast that I could play to my strength. I have the women here on my side, when I have the women, I have the men. It's as easy as that. I flirt a little, keep them happy and well it makes everthing easier".

 "Oh and you are telling me you stick to flirting". I had heard some of the women gossiping about him. He chuckled lightly and shrugged. "Well, some take a little more persuasions".

 "As I said.. you are impossible". I rolled my eyes again and he winked at me with a teasing smile. "But you still like me".

 I couldn't help blushing slightly, not even knowing why. "Let's just get going with the training, we can't all rely on our charms".

 Honestly I didn't really know what to think. I liked Tom, and I guess I got his point. I also liked that he as one of the only men here saw women as having just as much worth as men. He had trained Kattie when no one would because she was a girl and made her one of the best fighters and now he was training me. But I kind of felt he was taking a bit advantage, but I guessed he had to, it couldn't be easy keeping control of all those people, a lot of them older than him.

 I was watching him as I went through my rutine. Honestly I had a feeling he put up a facade, he wasn't as confident as he seemed. But it totally got that, he had been handed at very big responsibility at a young age, if he had seemed weak in any way he would have been ripped apart.

 

 Most of my evenings I spend back in the apartment, learning how it was having friends. Kattie was actually loads of fun when she wasn't under so much pressure. And it felt good seeing KC and Hope fool around acting childish and not like adults. Clay was close to being back on his feet. Ben still had several days each week were he didn't come home. But when he was home it was always those beautiful gren/bly eyes I found resting on me. Those dark scary predatory eyes I hadn't seen again.

 The first fight I got to witness was between Ben and Drew. I was stil pretty far from getting to that, but they wanted a training fight and I wanted to watch and maybe learn. Tom was there too, sitting next to me on the benches.

 Of course Tom had an entire arena made for shows and training battles in hand to hand combat. Who else would get such an idea ?

 "Are they going to fight in their normal clothes ?" I asked Tom a bit surprised, when they stepped into the arena. The had only removed their weapons.

 "It needs to be realistic". Tom answered. "When we run into Zombie or his gang on the street, we don't exactly have time to change clothes first. That is why we wear clothes that are easy to fight in. Well except Kattie. It is still a mystery how she can defend herself in those thight jeans".

 Tom was biting the inside of his bottom lip, it was clear to see from the way his lip pulled back. He did that quite often I had noticed. In the beginning I had thought it was a nervous thing or that he was speculating, but it seemed very random and I didn't think he even realised himself.

 Ben and Drew stepped towards each other, exchanging some words I couldn't hear. There was no warning before they attacked each other.

 They moved at the same time, blocking each others movements, like it had been coordinated and throughoutly trained.

 If I hadn't known that they were trying to hit each other, I would have compared it to a dance. Their movements mirrored each others and they reacted instantly on the opponents distension.

Ben lifted his knee to hit Drew, but Drew switly turned away and the knee hit nothing. Instead Drews hand went for Ben's jaw, but he moved and his forarm pushed Drews hand away.

 It was fascinating to watch. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, noticing every movement they made. How it all melted together to one unity.

 The slam when Ben's elbow connected with Drew's nose echoed through the room. And shortly after I could easily heard the unhealthy sound when Drew hit Ben in the chest, sending flying into the wide elastic bands that ran around the figthing ring. Ben was luckily on Drew again in seconds.

 I got on my feet trying to see everything. I had started to realise the severity to this. Understand that they could hurt each other for real. Hurt each other badly.

 "Relax darling. It is all just for fun". Tom said, clearly having felt how nervous I was becoming. "They have full control over the situation". He was sitting totally relaxed, one long leg across the other.

 "Easy for you to say". My voice was almost a whisper. "What if they make a wrong mave ? Hit harder than they want to ?"

 "They wont". Tom said confidently. "They both know their limits and when the fight is over. They have been doing this for many years Amber".

 "But ....". I didn't know what to say. I didn't have any good arguments. Drew had just hit Ben again and Ben had cradled his head a little to long for my liking before attacking again.

 "This is our life". Tom turned towards me. "As leaders we are in a position of great power that many people strives after. If we can't prove to be the strongest we will lose that position. And because each gang has their own powerful position in the underworld, there will always be other gangs striving for that power. That is why we are at constant battle with Zombie and Sunny. Because that we alone with our existence is a threat to them. We make sure they can't run everything the way they want to. Every leader wishes to be the king of the underworld".

 "Even you ?" It wasn't the way I saw Tom. Kress maybe, but not Tom.

 "There is a lot of things happening in the underworld that I would like to change". Tom moved his focus back in the ring. "But that would involve going against people I actually care about".

 He was following the battle again, it seemed like Drew would pull out victorious. "And before you ask, yes, even Ben wishes to be king, he too has his idea about how things should be".

 "How can you be friends if you ultimately want the other to dissapear ?" I asked him.

 "It's a great question". He said without taking his eyes away from the fight. "But the real question should probably be whether we would even be friends if we didn't have a common enemy". He looked at me shortly. "Or if he didn't have Kattie".

 At that moment Ben gave up. He was dangling halfway over the elastic ropes in one corner. Drew offered him a hand helping him up. I ran down there crawling into the ring.

 "Are you okay ?" I was standing a bit away from Ben and looked at him worriedly. I could just exactly reach out my arm and touch his bleeding eyebrow.

 "I am fine". His gaze looked into mine. Those eyes kind of sucked me in.

 "That was abysmal Ben, you have really let yourself go". Tom, who had joined us said. "It is easy to see you haven't speend any time training the last couple of years". He pressed a piece of cloth against Ben's forehead where he was bleeding.

 "I am really out of shape". Ben answered honestly. "And not only in the ring".

 "Amber, could you hold this for a minute ?" Tom nodded towards the cloth he was pressing to Ben's forehead. "I'll be back in a minute".

Drew and Tom left us to ourselves. And I could suddenly feel my heart all to clearly in my chest by being this close to Ben. He always made it beat faster. I tried not to look at him as he sat down, leaning against the corner post. I kneeled down in front of him as far from him as I could while still holding the cloth to his wound.

 "You have changed". Ben mumbled, his hand running down my free arm. He left a trail of fire where his fingertips touched my skin. "You are much stronger".

 "I thought that was the meaning with my training ?" I asked him, focussing on his shoulder.

 "You haven't asked me about Amber ?" His voice only a whisper. A very deep hoarse whisper. "As far as I know you haven't asked anyone about her since that day in the park".

 "I am afraid to hear things I wont like". I said honestly and I couldn't look away any longer. 

 His face, his smile and especially his eyes. "I am afraid I will compare myself to her".

 "You keep proving that you are not her". His hand gently cupped my cheek. "She would have given me a real earful for loosing like that to Drew today". He was serious now. There was something in his eyes I couldn't quite read. "For neglecting my training". It was like something dawned on him. "She most definately wouldn't have worried about me".

 "Sorry.. I..". I what ? Couldn't help it ? Didn't want to see him get hurt ? What was it that I wanted to say ?

 "No don't apologise.it is really nice to know that someone worries". I blushed and looked down. "I think it is time I start involving you more in The Shadows before Tom steals you away".

 "I don't want to sell drugs". My head snapped up. "Please don't ask me to do that". He seemed surprised by my reaction, but collected himself pretty fast.

 "That's totally okay. You can help doing inventory on the weapons. I guess you wont do inventory on the drugs either ?" I was shaking my head vigorously. "I don't want anything to do with the drugs". I didn't want him to have anything to do with them either. "It will come with time". I didn't dare tell him otherwise, not yet.

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