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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8. What to do with Amber

 

 *Tom*

 Of course Ben ended up in jail at the most critical time in the foolish situation he had brought upon himself. It was only a question of time before Zombie would try and get to Amber. Her psyche wouldn't be able to handle that yet. And it would force us to tell her why she had that name and what it meant.

 Not that I didn't want to tell her, she deserved to know. But it wasn't my decision to make. It was something Ben and Kattie had to tell her and it could very well change her decision to stay.

 Having her with me at least secured her from Zombie, he would never get to her here. The downside was that here was a lot more people that could potentially let their mouths run of with them. Which meant I had to keep her away from my own members.

 Every Tuesday we had a meeting for the leaders in the old church. Every gang had to send at least one person to represent them and speak on behalf of the gang. Due to everything that had happened those past weeks I went myself this time, to support Kattie when the questions about Amber started. So I left Amber in Mike's capable hands. He was an old friend and I trusted him to keep her safe and far away from everyone else so we didn't have any unwanted situations. And he was the next best to get her started on her training.

 I met Kattie and KC in front of the church, and Kattie held me back. "Tom, I don't know if I did the right thing". She wouldn't look me in the eyes. "The price for Ben's freedom was steep".

 "What have you given them ?" I asked her, starting to feel worried.

 Kattie was biting her lip before answering. "I promised them to search for Sarah Noble in the underworld".

 "Have you given any promise till what you would do if you found her ?"

 "No. But I promised to get back to them when I had talked to all the leaders about it. In return Ben gets out again in a week". She looked up at me. "What am I going to tell them ?"

 "The truth". I suggested. "Well at least up to Sunny let her go".

 "The rules forbid me to turn in Sunny". She poited out. "He can have me judged and punished if I rat him out".

 "Everyone knows about his business, even the police. If they weren't so damned scared of us they would be questioning him themselves". I put an arm around her shoulders. "You haven't done a bad deal. You haven't promised to tell them were she is or to exchange her for Ben".

 "I almost did". She admittet.

 "Well almost doesn't count".

 

It was a rare thing for all the leaders to be gathered for a normal meeting. Most of us happily send our second in command or someone else in the top of our gang to take care of these things. If there were important matters to be discussed we would be notified beforehand. But still Kattie was the only one without the L tattooed on her neck, the symbol of a leader. She still had her I from she was Ben's second in command.

 As always we started by choosing someone to control the discussion and as always when Kress was present he was chosen. Not even Zombie or Sunny complained about that. Zombie because he knew Kress was honest in these situations and Sunny because he really didn't care. He only attended because he had to for The Suns to keep their privileges. And Kress was the oldest amongst us if you didn't count Sunny and no one ever did.

 "Okay then. As I know everyone has questions for The Shadows I will let Kattie take the floor first". Kress said nodding towards Kattie.

 Kress had the opinion that women belonged in the kitchen and in the bedroom. An opinion Zac shared with him, which was the reason he had picked him as his second in command I guess. It had taken them both a long time to accept Kattie as an active member with the same rights as the rest of us, but with time she had won respect. A couple of well placed kicks and being good with a gun had helped her a lot.

 Kattie had never let their condescending tone get to her and she had met every challange. When we were kids she had followed me, Mike and Zac everywhere and was there something we told her she couldn't do, she had made it her mission to prove us wrong. Her gender had never been an excuse for her.

 Kattie got up and told from the start. She told how they had found this girl in the woods, how she looked very much like Amber and what had happened since. There was no sign of the worry or pain I knew she was feeling. She described every wound, mark and scar there had been found on Ambers body. And she told that KC had recognised her as Sarah Nobel and that she had awakened without any memory of who she was. Not before she got to Ben's reaction her voice broke slightly. Before I could step in KC had gotten up beside her.

 "Ben did drugs". KC said. "Again". He added in a lower voice. "He was still high when she woke up not knowing her name and he offered her the name Amber. She accepted that".

 I looked at Zombie. His lips was a thin hard line and his normally green/blue eyes was almost completely black. Anger or sorrow, maybe a bit of both.

 "Ben became himself again and regretted his actions. So he decided to dye her hair darker to remove some of the likeness". KC continued. "But the name stuck and if we should take it away from her now, Ben would have to explain about Amber and he isn't ready for that". 

 "The underworld isn't ready for a new Amber". Zombie hissed angrily. What he really meant was that he wasn't ready.

 "Done is done". Kattie said. "Ben has forbidden us all to tell her who she really is and we support him. Not because she don't deserve to know, but because we don't want her to return to the abuse she has been through". All insecurity was gone from Kattie. "There is another detail. She is engaged". Kattie glanced at me. "To Toph".

 "Toph ?" Zombie lifted his head. "I thought he was long gone". Zombie had no idea why his seond in command had laft back then. He didn't know about the secret me and Kattie kept.

 "We all thought that". Kattie answered and looked at the floor. "But he was very well on his way to become a member of the Nobel family, until his fiance ended up here with us. He goes by the name Christopher now".

 "If we know who she is, how come she is still here ?" Sunny asked very hoarsly. He was always hoarse. It tended to happen when you smoked several packets of cigarettes each day. "We have a powerful weapon against Catrista's most powerful family. With her we can control Catrista".

 "She had marks from being raped.  Me and Kattie paid a visit to Christopher and according to him it is her own father who has done this. If we show up telling him we have his daugther the chances of him bombing us are far greater than him obeying". I said angrily. I was pissed with Sunny for even suggesting it.

 "Moreover". Zombie started a bit hesitant. "We have sworn that anyone can seek refuge and safety with us and never to give up one of our own. If this Sarah or Amber..". It was easy to hear it pained him to even say the name. ".. wishes to stay here, then she is one of us. Our rules and pledges forces us to protect her against Catrista".

 "Precisely !" Kattie grabbed it fast. "Which also means we have to protect her against her own name. She can't know she is a Noble. She deserves the possibility to make her own new identity here".

 "And the name Amber ?" Kress asks. "Are we going to protect her for the truth of that name too ?"

 "It is isn't up to us to tell her". Kattie says in a low voice. "Ben should be the one to tell her why she carries that name and why it makes people react the way they do".

 "But Ben isn't going to do that is he ?" Zombie said through gritted teeth.

 "He will have to, sooner or later". Kattie bowed her head, sitting back down again. "But right now he is in jail, and as long as he is there he can't tell her anything".

 "And were is she while he is there ?" Zombie asked.

 "With me". I shot him a warning glare. "With Ben gone, I have grabbed the opportunity to start her training. She has a lot to learn if she wants to stay here and carry that name. I am asking you nicely Zombie. Don't turn this innocent girl into a pawn in you and Ben's game".

 "To late for that Tom". Zombie answered in an ice cold voice. "Ben has already done that. And you can't protect her for ever".

 

 The meeting ran late. There was to many things to discuss and it was past noon before I got back. I would have to find some food before I went to find Amber and Mike. Lunch had been taken of the table, but as the leader it wasn't hard getting a plate from the kitchen. So I was sitting alone eating when my second in command Drew sat down across the table from me.

 "She isn't stupid". He said. I didn't need to ask who he was talking about. "She has noticed the glances coming her way and she has sharp ears, that keeps catching bits and pieces of gossip about her. She has started asking questions. 

 Drew was older than me. He would have become Sacha's second in command, if Sacha hadn't been so unlucky as to die before Chark. Sacha would have picked Drew over me. That was the real reason Drew was my second in command. I felt I had cheated him. We would never become friends, but we respected one another and we made The Eagles work.

 "What is she asking about ?" I asked. It was to early she started asking questions. I wasn't ready to deal with them.

 "Which war people are talking of. Why people whispers her name like she is dying. Why they keep talking about Ben and Zombie". He was shaking his head in resignation. "Sooner or later she will start putting two and two together".

 "And she will get three or five". I sighed. She would never be able to guess the truth. "We have to keep her away from the others". It was my best solution for now.

 "For ever ?" Drew raised one eyebrow. "She deserves the truth Tom".

 "Don't you think I know that ?" I threw out my arms in resignation. "But it isn't my job to give her that truth. I don't have the authorization to do that".

 "Ben is in jail. It could be months before he is back on the streets. Do you want to keep her in isolation that long ?" Drew said angrily.

 "Well then it is up to Kattie". I said, getting up before Drew could become more angry with me about Ben's decision.

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