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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25. Penny is back

 

 *Amber*

 I ended up at the graveyard behind the small church. It was the first time I went inside the low wall. On every headstone was a name and a gang logo i graved. On a few there was some words too.. on way to many was ingraved 'Fell in the war'; while others had a personal goodbye.

 There was logoes I recognised. Former members of The Shadows or other of the existing gangs. But there was also logoes there was unknown to me. One with a snake I had seen on some of Zombie's members, there were a lot of graves with those, and most said they had been lost in the war. It gave me the feeling the entire gang had been wiped out in the war. Others had a faded logo of a rearing horse or a badly drawn cat.

 When you were inside the graveyard it just seemed to go in forever. So many deaths and even though there weren't any dates on them, I imagined that none of them had gotten old.

 My eyes were drawn to one grave under a tree in the middle of the area. Already before I read the name I knew what it would say. It had The Shadows logo on the right and Zombies on the left.

 

 Amber

 Shortly among us

 Forever with us

 

I sank to my knees in front of the stone. She was the reason I was here. Would I be the person I was at all, if it wasn't for her ?

 "Why didn't they tell me who I really am ?" I whispered to the stone in front of me. "Why did they keep the truth a secret from me ?"

 "Because they love you".

 My head snapped up quickly, I was ready to defend myself. The voice was friendly and soft, but I didn't know it.

 A young girl with long dark blonde hair, that hang loose over her shoulders, jumped down from the tree and landed in front of me, agile like a cat. I knew for sure I had never seen her before, but there was something welknown about her.

 "Sorry if I scared you. I saw you go in her and thought you might end up here". She leaned against the stone and watched me.

 "Who are you ?" She didn't really looked like someone from the underworld, but she didn't look like a tourist either.

 "Penny". She stuck out her hand for me to shake. "I am KC's twin sister. You have probably heard about me". She said sounding very confident.

 I grabbed her hand, feeling very surpriced. Now when she told me I could easily see the resemblance. And yes, I had heard about her.

 "You are the one that disappeared after the war because of the drugs right ?" That was about everything I knew.

 "I never liked them, and then Ben started being unpleasant. I wasn't equipped to deal with it like Kattie. So I went home". She shrugged. "But I am only middle-class. Even if it is hard enough and we have no rights like voting, it is nothing compared to the girls from the upper-class. My father tried to get me engaded to some guy from the upper-class. That was forgotten when I showed them my knife throwing skills under dinner". She had a cheerful look to her and a very strong and confident demeanour.

 "So why are you here now ?" I asked her.

 "I came to visit my brother.. and Tom". They way she said his name, with a small smile, made something clench up in my chest and I didn't understand why. "Did KC ever tell you how we ended up in the underworld ?" She sat down in the grass, leaning against Ambers headstone. "Sit down".

 "Well I wanted to be a bit alone, so I was thinking ..". I was a bit hesitant.

 "Of course you do, but nothing good will come from that". She said, looking expectantly at me, I sat down with a sigh. "When KC and I was just 9 years old our parents realised we can sing. We didn't have much money, so it was a great possibility to make some. We were performing first in the city, later the whole country. We made albums, went on tour and actually made a lot od money. We had fans. When we were 11 our father started negotiations for us to be married i to the upper-class. He thought he was giving us a better life, but it wasn't what we wanted. And we were tired of performing". She picked up a stone, moving it from one hand to the other.

 She reminded me a lot of Kattie, she couldn't sit still for very long either, without using her hands for something.

 "It started as kind of a joke. Running away from it all, and living behind the woods. But we didn't dare. We had always been warned against this place, and we kind of believed the stories. But one day KC came home, telling me he was leaving and I went with him. Of course I did, we did everything together". She smiled at the stone in her hand.

 "We ended up with Chark, who was the leader of The Eagles back then and we got Tom as our trainer. Tom felt we would fade in with the masses at The Eagles and got Ben to take us in with The Shadows. We were 12 years old and ment we would be good role models for Hope and someone for her to play with".

 "The war started, we were still to young to actively participate, so we were thought to look after the wounded". She trew away the stone. "I saw people die. They died in my hands, because I couldn't stop a bleeding in time or couldn't get their heart to beat again. One I had to kill myself, his lungs was so damaged that we couldn't do anything and he suffered so badly". She said.

 I was watching her. When she talked there was no trace of all the horrors she had seen, she sounded like it was someone elses story she told.

 "I watched how Ben realised that the drugs soothed his pain and I saw how they destroyed him. I saw how he treated Kattie. One day I tried talking some sense into him. He had just gotten out of bed and I knew he hadn't been using that day. The night before he had assaulted Kattie again and when KC had tried to stop him, he knocked KC unconscious. I knew it had to stop. As soon as I brought it up he grapped me. I knew what would happen. I had seen him do it to Kattie so often. But instead of accepting it like Kattie did, I stabbed him in his right bicep and ran. I told Tom what had happened and asked him to never tell KC or Kattie. They didn't need to know that. Tom promised me to do everything he could to help them and I went home".

 "I don't understand why Kattie never tried fighting back". I had fought back and I hadn't been trained very much back then and Penny had fought back.

 "Because she loves him. She knew it was the drugs messing him up and she never lost hope that he would be back to himself some day. That his grief would lessen and he would be Ben again". Penny got up. "Think about things. But you have to know what you have meant. What you have meant to Kattie and everyone else who cares about Ben. What you have meant for Ben himself. He has given up drugs completely for you, that should mean more than the fact he lied to protect you". And then without another word she walked away. I watched her as she walked between the stones woth long strides.

 

 I stayed there, leaning against the headstone for a long time after she left. Looking at the grass, wondering how Amber had been.

 And I was still sitting there when Tom showed up. I didn't feel like getting up or looking at him. He sat down beside me in silence.

 "Everyone is looking for you". He said after some time.

 "Oh so are you getting a price for finding me ?" I asked sarcastically.

 "I doubt..". He turned his head looking at me. "But I did get to have a long talk with Christopher after we made Zombie leave".

 "So what is his name, Toph or Christopher ?" I asked.

 "Toph was his name when he still belonged here, Christopher is the identity he has created for himself in Catrista. He prefers Christopher".

 "Well cool". I was sarcastic again.

 "Can I tell you why he choose to hide the truth for you ?" I didn't answer him. He was going to no matter what. "When I saw you on that couch, unconscious and badly hurt, KC told me who you were. Your father and uncle has never been fans of the underworld and I knew that if we send you back like that, they would blame i'us and we would pay dearly. After that I looked over your body. I treated every fresh wound and I saw the old ones. The scars you stil carry". His fingers ran softly over my neck were I had white marks from the rope, making my breath hitch. "I knew the new ones were from Sunny's torture. i have seen those to often. But the others weren't his. I saw proof that you had been raped. There wasn't a single sign that you had a happy live. And then you woke up, not remembering".

 I remembered that part all to well myself. The pain, the confusion, the fear and the frustration.

 "If you had remembered the abuse and had asked to go back home, well I don't know if I could have let you. But you didn't remember and I couldn't insist that Ben should let you go. He should never have given you the name Amber, but it is to late to change it now". Tom said softly.

 "Kattie and I went to see Christopher, as soon as we found out he was your fiancee. He deserved to know were you were and what we knew. He confirmed everything we had guessed. I promised Christopher that you would become happy here and until a few hours ago I was pretty sure I had kept that promise". He looked at me. "Weren't you happy here before Christopher showed up ?"

 I dried of my eyes without answering him, instead I said. "If Christopher knew I was here, why didn't he come earlier ?" If he loved me he would have come before, Ben would have come before, Tom would have come before.

 "He didn't dare. Not before he had someone to cover his back". Tom answered. "Kattie and I can have him convicted for murder, he would get a death sentence. Zombie decided to take his side no matter what. It was a win-win situation for them". He pulled up his long legs, folding his arms around them. "To Christopher you are the only possibility to get one of Catristas most powerful names and to Zombie you are a possibility to get back at Ben".

 "I don't know what to do". I said.

 "If you should be Sarah or Amber ?" Tom looked at me with a lopsided grin. "Do you know who Sarah is ? Because when I look at you I see Amber. Princess of the underworld, who can almost beat Zac and whom won her first training game against Kress. I see the woman who talks back to anyone and never let anyone step on her".

 "Thank you". I couldn't help smiling back at him.

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