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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14. You are Amber

 

 *Tom*

 I found Kattie and KC in the living-room when I arrived at the apartment. KC had his arm protectively around Kattie. "Are you okay ?" I looked at Kattie, resisting the urge to take KC's place.

 "Amber came to you". Kattie said, sounding relieved. "Did he hurt her ?" Her voice changed to worry. "I shouldn't have run out on her like that".

 "She is okay. He managed to say some very unfortunate things to her and she ended up hitting him, but no he didn't touch her". I sat down on one of the beer crates in front of her. "You can't save everyone".

 "Clay should have stayed". KC said. "He was the last one to leave them".

 "Clay chose the woman he loves". I gave Kattie's arm a gentle squeeze. "Were is he now ?"

 "He went after Ben when we heard one of the motorbikes take of". Kattie sighed. "He didn't want me to go".

 "Good. That mean he is living up to his responsibilities for once. I am keeping Amber with me for now, giving them both some time to think things over and calm down. If needed you know you are all welcome".

 "Thank you Tom. I don't know how I can ever repay you for all your help". Kattie leaned into me, resting her forehead against my chest.

 "You already did". I answered and couldn't stop myself from kissing the top of her head. It made her hit me. At least she wasn't upset enough to accept it.

 

 I couldn't help watching Amber as she was sleeping. She had chosen my bed and the blanket had slipped of her, leaving half of her body exposed. I knew very well that I shouldn't even be in the room with her sleeping there. And even less be looking at her, but she fascinated me immensely. Her stubbornness and will power was attractive in a way I had never felt before. While she had an immense power, that sometimes surprised herself, she was still in some ways as fragile as when she arrived. She still seeked security and comfort.

 Kattie and the few other active women in the underworld had the strength and with that strength they lost the frailty. They never let anyone comfort them or let you hold them just because it felt nice. It was like they feared that their strength would disappear if they were to let a man care for them. And the passive women wanted to be cared for and cuddled all the time. They would love being in danger, because then someone would care for them after.

 But Amber was something in between. She hadn't become strong because she wanted to. She had because she needed to and it scared her. It scared her that she had hit Ben that hard, even though the whole idea with her training had been for her to be able to defend herself.

 

 I spent the entire next morning waiting for Ben to show up. I had told the guard to call me before letting him inside and I had sent Amber to train with Mike.

 I knew that Ben would come when he surfaced and I knew we were going to have a conversation that could very well end our alliance. But someone had to do it, this couldn't continue.

 But it was past two in the afternoon before Ben showed his face. I went to pick him up at the gate myself and took him for a walk along the wall. On the path that was usually used for running.

 "I fucked up so badly Tom". We had been walking for several minutes before he finally started speaking. "I have finally found someone that makes me want to live again and I am pushing her away". It were clear to see were she had hit his jaw and I couldn't help being proud of her.

 "What do you want ? Pity ? Well you are not getting it here". I looked at the ground in front of my feet. "We have all warned you about what the drugs does to your brain and your skills to judge a given situation. You are very lucky she fought back".

 "It is just so easy when the drugs is right in front of me". Ben sighed and kicked at a stone, sending it down the path.

 "Then get rid of the temptation, take away two problems with one decision, stop selling the drugs". I told him.

 "Kattie would love that". Ben huffed. "She has made this whole business plan as an alternative".

 "Well I remember when you would do anything to make Kattie happy". I pointed out. "And it would make people respect you again if you made such a drastic decision. Remove the drugs completely from your life. Stick to the club and let Kattie try out her idea. And last but not least, regain Ambers trust".

 Ben caressed his jaw absentmindedly. "She probably wont ever speak to me again".

 "Well it won't be easy and you will have to give her a guarantee that she will never see you like that again". I stopped. "You hurt her Ben. You practically told her that you regretted bringing her here. We are lucky she came to me and didn't go to the police".

 "I fucked up". Ben slumped down on a bench that was placed against the wall and hit his face in his hands. "I don't deserve her".

 "I can only agree". I told him. I stayed on my feet. He still didn't deserve pity from me. "But unfortunately I am not the one making that decision. That is her own to make. But I can tell you that my door will never be closed to her. And should it come to a fight between you and her, she is the one that has my support". Well, now it was done. I had just chosen one person above the alliance between our gangs.

 "So what you are saying is that if I can't get her to forgive me our alliance is over ?" He asked. I didn't answer him. I was afraid I would either have to pull back or destroy it here and now. After some time in silence Ben got up. "Well then I guess I better give her every reason to forgive me".

 To my big surprise he didn't ask to see her before he left again. He only promised that he would come back for her.

 

 Amber didn't ask for Ben or if he had been there even once during the day. After dinner I took her up to the roof of the school.

 "I can't wait to see more of the underworld". She said, looking out upon the city. "I can't wait till I don't need to be locked up behind these walls any longer".

 "You will be ready soon". I told her. "Mike told me you did very well today". It was actually a big understatement. Mike had been more than impressed by her.

 "Who do you think I really am Tom ?" She looked at me. I could see the pain in her eyes. "Do you think there is anyone out there that misses me ?" She gazed dreamily towards the stars that had started showing in the sky.

 I wanted to tell her the truth. Tell her that she had a fiancee, that had asked about her several times. A fiancee, who would go to great lengths to get verification that she was okay. But I couldn't get myself to do it. Not that I feared her leaving the underworld to go live with Christopher. I was afraid she would get angry with me for not telling her, for keeping it a secret for six months. That she would hate me for keeping her identity from her.

 "You are Amber". I told her instead. "Everyone that comes here put their past behind them. You have just done it way more effectively than most".

 "The problem is that I haven't been allowed to really start over. Because I carry that name everyone expects something from me. They either wants me to become her or to differ myself completely". She looked down.

 "Just be yourself". I put my arm around her and she rested her head tiredly against my shoulder. "You can't live up to everyone's expectations. When I took over The Eagles everyone expected me to fail. That only made me stronger".

 "How on earth could anyone think that of you ? You can do anything". She said softly.

 "Maybe because the power scared me and I was so young". I suggested. "I actually never wanted the power before it was suddenly mine for the taking. I just wanted to live my life, have fun and only have to look after me".

 "Why did you become a leader then ?" She looked up at me as she asked.

 "When we suddenly was without a leader, just minutes after his second in command had been killed, someone had to grab the power quickly or everything would have fallen apart. I had been trained personally by Chark, so it made good sense telling people that was what he wanted. I became leader because that was the possibility I was handed. Just like your only possibility was to make yourself stronger".

 She was the only one I had ever told this, a secret that could loose me everything. Not even Kattie knew. "So much for that freedom". She mumbled.

 "The biggest downside to freedom is that it comes with great responsibility". I said suddenly feeling tired. "But hey, I like being the boss. It gives a different kind of freedom. And when first you can move freely around the underworld, you will realise that you training gives you freedom too".

 "The question is if that will be as a member of The Shadows or The Eagles". She said looking up at me, the question clear on her face.

 "I am putting my money on you staying with The Shadows". I said, closing my eyes for a second.

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