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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12. Who is in charge ?

 

 *Tom*

 The speed Ambers changes happened in was physically impossible. Except that it happened right before my eyes.

 In a matter of four months she had changed from being a to slender, scared girl that couldn't look me in the eyes and had become strong, independent and stubborn.

 Like Kattie, nothing was impossible any longer in her own mind and she did everything to prove people wring if they told her she couldn't do something. She looked everyone straight in their eyes and she talked back if she disagreed.

 She never lost focus during training. She never complained about sore muscles or complicated training schedules and she never asked when she could move on to the next level. She worked her but of in silence and when she wasn't training she pulled her weight in her own gang by making inventory of weapons and medicine and bringing their orders to me.

 She had pretty quickly gotten to a good time on her runs and because I didn't know what else to do I asked her to run two laps and then three. I had sent her through the outside obstacle course several times. The first times she was hesitant and it took all my willpower to keep the hard facade and let her figure it out by herself. It would have been so easy to tell her how to do it, but then I wouldn't train her mind and I knew it was in as much need as her body.

 I had build an obstacle course inside in one af the bigger training rooms, one where I could change the difficulty. And even though she had fallen down several times I refused to help her back up. She had to learn to pick herself up no matter how much it hurt. Her life could very well depend on it. I wouldn't safe her life by being nice. Not now.

 Amber had the potential to go far. It just took her getting the right challenges. So even though Ben only paid me to handle her physical training, I started working on the mental part as well. Not only by asking her to figure out the obstacles course herself but putting her in situations that forced her to think. I threw stupid questions at her during her training, learning her to focus on the necessary. I also tried to trip her during her runs.

 By now she jumped agile over my leg, when I tried tripping her suddenly. A couple of times she had even tried for revenge, trying to trip me, she hadn't had any luck yet though. She solved any problem I threw at her and she seemed to thrive with it.

 "Tom ?" Amber stopped halfway through the course, looking down at me. She was standing on one of the transverse beams and was supposed to let herself fall 15 feet and trust the net to catch her and well trust me as I had made the net. It was a new obstacle.

 "Come on just jump". She was still a bit hesitant at new things.

 "It's not that". She put her hands on her hips like an impatient kid. "Isn't it about time that I learn to use the knives and guns ? And mu muscles for a matter of fact. I can't fight of Zombie by getting through an obstacle course".

 This was what I had feared. The moment we entered the last stge of her training and I got closer to having to let her go and send her out in the real world. I had to admit I enjoyed having her here.

 "Fine then. If you think you are ready, then lets us go down to the shooting range and continue there". I couldn't see her face, but I could see the confidence in her movements when she without hesitation stepped out into the air and droppet 15 feet. In seconds she was down from the net and stood before me with a confident smile.

 "I am ready". She announced. Her voice was a bit harder now and much more confident. She never studdered or second guessed herself anymore.

 I knew very well that she was ready. She had been for weeks. There was nothing skinny or fragile about her any longer. No sign of the upper-class left, except for her blonde hair growing back out.

 

 I didn't give her real ammunition as it was her first time. It would be a waste of money letting her use expensive ammunition shooting past her target. She got home made plastic bullets instead. They could easily go through the cardboard target, if she could hit it. But should she accidentally shoot someone they would only get a bad black mark.

 As I handed her the gun she reached for it and her fingers closed around mine. Making me pull my hand away, so she almost dropped the gun. I was starring at my hand, unsure what had just happened. I didn't explain, but just pointed at the target and stepped away. My pulse still racing uncomfortably.

 "Are you not going to show me what to do ?" She looked at me with a surprised expression. She was flexing her fingers that had touched mine.

 "You point the narrow end at the target and shoot". I smiled at her. "You told me you were ready".

 She got a very focused expression as she turned toward the target and raised the gun. It was all on purpose I didn't correct her, but let her empty the gun before taking it from her, reloading it.

 Like with every other person shooting a gun for the first time, she didn't calculate with the push the gun would send into her body and therefore she didn't tighten the right muscles beforehand.

 "If you start by holding with both hands, you double your chances that the gun stays were you want it". I said casually. "And you see twice as good with two eyes compared to one". Standing behind her I actually didn't know if she had closed one eye, but most people did in the beginning.

 "The others only uses one hand". She poited to a couple of my members that was training farther down on other lanes.

 "And they have funnily enough fired just a bit more then ten shots in their life". I handed her back the gun, making sure not to touch her. "When you can hit the target without aiming, then you can shoot with one hand".

 After another ten shots I showed her how to reload the gun with the plastic bullets and then left her to herself. There was no reason for me stnding there watching her. No legitimate ones anyway. She had plenty of motivation to handle it alone.

 

 I had only just flopped down behind my desk, and started filling out some orders, when Ben entered. "Now Kattie refuses to have anything to do with the drugs as well". He sounded frustrated.

 "Have you though about them maybe having a good point with there refusal ?" I suggested casually. I knew Amber had refused from the beginning and KC had followed her very quickly. And Now apparently Kattie had joint their small revolution.

 "We are making way to much money on them". Ben insisted.

 "Ben !" I slowly leaned forward, keeping my eyes on his. "This month alone there has been four confirmed deaths among the tourists from drugs. Who knows how many dies after they have gone home ?"

 "It isn't my fault that they take to much or mix up stuff". Ben jumped right into a defensive position. Those deaths are not my fault".

 "But when we reach the bottom line, you are the one shipping in the drugs". I pointed out. "And you put them in the hands of the tourists. Why not stick to the sugar pills you sell as motion sickness medicine ? Or start selling sunscream and mosquito repellent on the beach. Things that don't cost anyone their lives or sanity".

 "Sanity ?" Ben was glaring angrily at me. "Are you starting too ?" His eyes almost was black and he had dark shadows under them.

 "I know you are back on the drugs, Ben. I don't know which inner demons you are battling this time, because you seemed to be on your way back". I looked at him with pity. He didn't scare me and he knew it.

 Ben flopped down on the empty chair with resignation.

 "I am afraid to hurt her". He sighed. "Which is really stupid, because she is dead and has no idea what I am doing. And still I feel like I am mocking her by having created a new Amber".

 "She wouldn't have wanted you to give up. And she most definitely didn't want you doing drugs". I actually had no idea what she wanted. But I hoped she had been that sensible at least. "The Amber you got now needs you. She don't need you on drugs. She cares for you. Hell I even dare say she might be falling for you".

 Ben closed his eyes for a moment. "How can I know what my feelings for her are ? If it is her or the memories of feelings  she awakens ?" He asked opening his eyes. "When I am high, I don't need to think about those details. I can dissapear into another world. A world were I don't hurt the people I care most about, because I wont have to see them again. And still she is always on my mind. It takes all my willpower to keep away from her bedroom at night when I get home".

 "Another very good reason to stop with the drugs". I made a mental note about showing Amber how to do most damage with a knife and tell her to keep it under her pillow. "Your will is much stronger when it is your own Ben. Without the drugs you could practically run the underworld. If you had kept up your training you could have been one of the best. You would be able to protect her".

 "See I don't know if that is Kattie's words coming from your mouth or is it yours I hear from her mouth". Ben said sounding annoyed. "She has started coming to you again, hasn't she ?"

 "She is worried about you and Clay wont listen to her". I said, making sure to slide around the actual question.

 "Clay haven't said a word to her since she stopped selling". Ben sighed. "It was the drugs that got him to come here and he is not about to give them up".

 "So are you in charge or is it Clay who are in charge of the Shadows now ?" I asked casually.

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