"Amber, you're the first person done as usual," Mr.McSwayne, her English teacher told her as he took the scribble-covered paper from her hand. "You can take your break now.” Amber smiled in response "Thank you, Mr.McSwyane”. She walked over to her desk and threw her purple and white book bag over her shoulder. Her blonde locks got caught in the strap, but she flipped them out of the way. The heels of Amber's black boots clicked along the tile floor as she walked out the door of the classroom. In her English class, Mr.McSwayne would always give the students breaks once they got their work done. And because it was a two hour class, and Amber usually did her work in 30 to 60 minutes, she was always the first student done. Most students would spend their break walking around campus, or sitting in campus square. That’s what Amber used to do. During her 9th and 10th year and this school she would go to campus square and sit on the benches. She'd watch the trees blow in the wind, and listen to the sound of leaves rustling and birds chirping. But since she'd started 11th grade the square became a lot more crowded, and she started hanging out on the roof alone. She would sit on a bench up there, or rather lay, and just stare up at the clouds. Of course, today, there happened to be no clouds out anyway. So Amber clicked her heels along the hall floor as she walked to the exit of her building, and straight towards campus square. Even if she was only alone for 5 minutes, it was enough for her. She was a very social person, but Amber liked being alone now and then to gather her thoughts. She lived a contented life. Amber was a straight A scholars student. She was a single, nature loving, social teenage girl who couldn't even harm a fly.
As Amber sat on the wooden bench, her legs crossed, she heard footsteps approaching her. She looked up to see a boy coming near. he wore ripped blue jeans, black Vans, a black American Eagle shirt and his hair was in a quiff, like most boys her age. "Hi," Amber stood up. "Hey," The boy looked at her and rolled his eyes. "I'm Amber, nice to meet you, I haven't seen you round before," Amber held her hand out for the boy to shake it, and when he did his tight grip nearly broke her hand. "I just started last week, but I’m starting my classes today. They gave me some tI'me to settle in. I’m Zach Milwood." Amber jerked back her hand and smiled politely. ”Then shouldn't you be in class?" Her smile turned into a pondering look, with one eyebrow raised. The boy smirked back at her "Yea, I should. Shouldn't you get a better fashion sense?"
Amber looked down at her clothes. She was wearing a whimsical blue sweater with peace signs across it, and it was tucked in to her violet skirt. Her black boots had a buckle around the ankle with sequins in it. Amber's perfect blonde hair was in a ponytail, which hung down her left shoulder. Her eyeliner made her bright blue eyes pop, and her pink lipstick brightened her pale complexion. But before she continued questioning how she looked, she took a quick glance at the boy. "Well, shouldn't you, Zach?" He laughed and nodded his head, "You're quite the prissy little one, aren't you?" Amber's face filled with a look of confusion and offense. "I heard you're the smartest kid in your grade, eh?" Zach said, but all Amber could do was nod since she was still in shock from his previous statement.
"Well, if you're so smart, you'd be smart enough to stay away from me, yea?"
"You approached me, Zach!" Amber put her fists down by her sides.
"Oh, don't call me Zach like that. You almost make it sound like we're friends,"
"Why can't we be?"
"Because, I don't hang out with desperate little princesses who think they get whatever they want!" Amber looked quite offended, especially with her jaw basically hitting the ground. But before Amber got the chance to respond to his snide remark, Zach was walking away and putting in one earbud, that was clearly connected to his iPod. "I don't want to be friends with a snide jerk anyway," Amber mumbled under her breath. She looked back at Zach who was now taking his earbud out and slowly turning back to her. "What was that, blondie!?" He screamed. So Amber said it a little louder, "I don't want to be friends with a snide jerk!" Zach looked furious, no, he was furious. He stormed over to Amber, but she was too paralyzed by his pulsing anger to run. She knew if she tried her boots would trip her anyway. He can't hit me, I'm a girl, Amber thought to herself. "Oh, yes, I can," Wait had she said that out loud, or was he just reading her thoughts? Zach was in front of her now. His fist gripping her shirt, holding her up to him but not lifting her off the ground. Her body was tense, which made it hurt even worse when he threw his other fist across her face. He dropped her, and stormed away.
Amber's eyes filled with tears and she lightly started crying. "Baby!" She heard Zach scream from the distance. She touched her hand to her throbbing cheek, which was now bruised. She tried to sniffle, but the scent of metal and salt came to her nose. She rubbed it, and pulled down her hand to see blood across her finger. She slowly stood up, and used her sleeve to wipe the blood off her nose. She couldn't keep herself from crying as she walked back into the school, and that was when the bell rang.
This story is originally being written, by me, on another online format. On that format the chapters are separated and I'm at chapter six already. But here, I'm just going to post them and all chapters that have been written so far will be in this section.
Amber woke with a start, ready for the day as usual. She was always a morning person, she was an all day person. Yea, most teenagers her age were sarcastic, nihilistic jerks but Amber was always able to stay on the positive side of things. She didn't need drugs, alcohol, a boyfriend, or materialistic objects to make her happy. She was happy with her family, friends, grades, and hobbies.
Amber got up, and shivered as she left the warmth of her blanket. She made her bed and walked over to sit at her desk. She applied her foundation, light pink blush, pink eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and light pink lipgloss. Amber brushed her tangled hair down to her sides, and grabbed a few hairbands. She braided her long hair, and put her hair up in some style she'd learned from the internet. Luckily her hair was long enough, so now it looked like a braid wrapped around a bun. Amber didn't even realize the shower was turned on, until she heard it stop and the room fill with a blank silence. Amber walked into the bathroom, passing her best friend and roommate, Naomi on the way. Naomi was basically Amber's equal. Happy, smart, pretty, positive. The two girls were picture perfect friends with a picture perfect friendship. The girls exchanged smiles as Amber closed the bathroom door behind her. "Oh!" She heard Naomi say, "I forgot my brush, Amber could you hand that to me?" Amber opened the door and handed Naomi her round purple brush, and didn't bother closing the door again. Amber looked at the clock above the sink as she brushed her teeth with a white brush. An hour until she had to leave the dorms. Amber spit out the toothpaste, and rinsed her mouth and brush with cold water. After wiping her mouth, she went back into the girls' shared room and back to her desk. "Hey, A, why did you do your lipstick before you brushed your teeth?" Naomi chuckled. Amber giggled "I honestly don't know, must be a little off today," She smiled at Naomi before looking back to her mirror and touching up her lipgloss. Amber ran her tongue over her pearly white teeth, which were perfectly straight after a few years of braces.
Amber and Naomi finished getting ready, a little early too. They walked across the hall of the girl's dorm top floor to their friends, Kara and Jackie's room. The four girls hadn't really known each other for very long. Amber and Naomi were friends for six years, same for Kara and Jackie, and the pairs had only met each other a couple of months ago. Kara and Jackie weren't exactly like Naomi and Amber. Jackie was, but Kara not so much. A lot of people just thought Jackie was friends with Kara because she pitied her, and honestly Amber and Naomi thought it too, but Kara was too oblivious to notice. Kara was wearing her regular black whimsical tank top, black skinny jeans, and black Vans. She was covered in band rubber bracelets and string ones she'd made in sixth grade. Jackie wore a typical orange t-shirt and bleached denI'm skinny jeans with a pair of black and white converse. Amber looked over at Naomi who was wearing an outfit sI'milar to her own. Naomi had on a white whimsical shirt, just like Amber's, tucked in to her red skirt, just like Amber's and black Vans, just like Amber's. Except Naomi's brown hair with a purple ombre at the ends was curled, and topped with a black fedora. Her freckles showed on her pale complexion, as she wasn't wearing any makeup. She never did. Kara's black hair was down, with her fringe pinned up out of her face for a change. And Jackie's dyed baby blue hair was up in a ponytail. Usually Amber would be annoyed by someone who had dyed all of the original color out of their hair, but it looked good with Jackie's pale complexion.
Amber, Jackie, Kara and Naomi all left the dorms and walked to the cafeteria. None of them could stand school food, so they all just got hazelnut flavored coffees and started off towards the school. The campus was fairly big, the boys dorm and girls dorm on opposite sides, with the school in between them. On the other side of each dorm was a boys and girls cafeteria. Apparently the school felt the need to separate boys and girls during lunch because of how messy boys were and how much they played with their food. Understandable, but Amber didn't understand why they would separate genders everywhere else but allow them to be in the same classes.
The girls walked across the sidewalk, having their regular conversation. Todays topic being current events. "But have you heard about that student who went to that public school? I think it was like, Arrowood High? She was having an affair with a teacher or something and the teacher got arrested. The video cameras and the teacher said it was consensual, but that girl said he blackmailed and raped her. " Naomi frowned, yea Amber had heard about it but she didn't need to make a comment. Mostly because she was speechless about the topic. But Kara, not so much, as she said "Yeah, that's why we go to private schools," The other girls frowned "That sounds a little stuck up," Naomi started "Yeah, some people can't afford public schools" said Jackie. But Amber stayed silent, not knowing what to say. Amber had known the girl who had an affair with the teacher. It was a friend of Amber's cousin, Jason. Well, rather, girlfriend.
"Amber? Are you okay, you haven't spoken at all," Naomi put her hand on Amber's shoulder,
"Yea, I'm fine, I just...don't really know how to reply to this conversation," Naomi chuckled
The girls looked ahead at the school they were approaching. "Naomi! Do you have your class list yet?"
Naomi had been going to their school for years, and the 11th grade year had started a couple of months ago. But Naomi was changing her classes because the teacher hated her, of course when she explained why she was switching to the school board she came up with some other story. "Yea," Naomi laughed and pulled her binder out of her bag. She opened up the binder, and grabbed out a sheet of paper. "First I have biology, then history and current events, then English, then lunch, then algebra something, then gym, and last I have art, but I have soccer practice after school. You?" Amber smiled, "Biology, algebra, English, lunch, history and current events, art, technology, and soccer practice after school as always," Naomi smiled in response "So we have biology, English, lunch, and practice together? Yay! What about the other girls?"
"Jackie has biology with me, then English, then history, then she has lunch with us, then some other classes, but none of them are with you or I and she has basketball practice after school,"
"Kara only has English with us, she has lunch as her fourth class, she has art with you, and I'm pretty sure That's it,"
"Is she not in any sports?"
"She isn't very athletic, she wanted to try out for soccer but a bunch of people told her she wasn't good or fast enough."
"Oh wow, thats sad, they don't have the right to discourage her like that,"
"Yea," Amber sighed, "Well, we should get to biology,"
Amber and Naomi put their arms around each others shoulders and by the time they were walking into biology, they were trying to calm themselves down from laughter.
The day passed by fairly quickly. A couple of lectures in biology, something in algebra that was easy enough for Amber to pass by, and then English rolled around. Another pop quiz, no surprise of course. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there was a pop quiz. Which, kind of defeated the purpose of the 'pop' but Mr.McSwayne was clearly oblivious enough not to think the kids would catch on. But the quiz today was longer than their usual 100 questions. There were 200. So Amber got it done in 90 minutes, and just really hoped Naomi would finish before lunch started and every quiet place on campus was crowded with messy freshmen and seniors and other juniors, and, whatever else there was. Frankly, Amber couldn't remember nor did she care to. Amber didn't really have an 'I don't care' attitude, it was more of 'The little things that can't change my life aren't too essential'.
Amber threw her bag over her shoulder, turned in her paper, and left the classroom while closing the door behind her. She walked towards the end of the hall, and went through a door under the stairs. Behind the door was another staircase, which she walked up and went into a small, vent-like room before opening a door and being led out onto the roof. She walked over to the bench where she always sat, and set her bag down under it. She laid on the bench and stared up at the clouds. 60 percent of the sky was clouds today, but there were a few sun rays shining between the openings in them. And Amber knew when the clouds moved there would be no shadows to block the sun from her face, but she didn't mind.
Then she heard footsteps. Footsteps of someone coming up onto the roof. She sat up, and put her arm on the back of the bench and turned around. She saw the door swing open and Zach appear right there. She didn't know how he'd found her, but she could practically feel her conscience shuddering in fear, while her body tried to stay calm. "Hi, Zach Milwood," Amber said sweetly. "Hello, Amber Caulfield," He said in a bitter voice through gritted teeth. How had he known her last name...
This was just like yesterday, Amber was too paralyzed to realize what was going on so she couldn't move. Zach looked angry. Had she done something? No, she hadn't done anything to him. She wasn't that kind of person, and he said to stay away from him anyway so that’s what she was going to do. "Hey, Amber" he spat her name in a voice such that it made it sound like the most disgusting word ever spoken. Amber tried to keep her cool, but ended up stuttering and laughing nervously "Hi...uh...hi, Za- I mean uh, hi, uhm..." he smirked. "Did uh, you, need something?" Amber rubbed the back of her neck and looked to the side. "Nah, just wanted to see you," Amber raised an eyebrow. "Huh?" "I love how nervous I make you now, I love the dominance and seeing the fear in your eyes," Zach said almost as if it were obvious. "You're such a creep," Amber mumbled trying to keep to herself, but not to much avail. "Huh? What was that? Come on, tell me everything on your mind, my ears are open," Zach sat down beside Amber on the bench and faced her, crossing his legs Indian style.
Amber didn't often let her emotions get the best of her, and though she'd only known Zach for two days she had this aching feeling that she was supposed to hate him. She knew if she got too close he would hurt her, he was the flame and she was a moth. Only, she wasn't attracted to him. But he was still something she could run into if she isn't careful. None the less, Amber's anxiety and anger got the best of her, and before she could stop herself she spoke
"I don't have to know you to know you'll be a conniving, manipulative, egotistical dimwit who thinks the world is centered around himself. I knew from the moment I saw your smug look and ragged clothing that you would be a filthy, fabricating, insensitive jerk," Amber was shocked by her own words on the outside, but didn't want to show weakness so she just smirked. Amber was never rude, let alone one to swear, but for the fervent teenage girl it felt like a necessity in the heat of the moment. And it felt like having the words come out of her mouth was inexorable now, as was his reaction.
Zach put his hand on the back of Amber's neck and leaned in to kiss her. He hovered his lips over hers for a second before crashing his onto hers, completely catching Amber off guard. And that was his exact intent; to catch her off guard. Zach pulled back his face, along with his hand before slapping her and leaving a red mark on her face. Tears stung at Amber's eyes and as she tried to blink them away, Zach stood up. He pulled Amber up with him, and pushed her down to the ground. Amber's back hit against the seat of the bench and knocked the breath out of her. Before Amber even had tI'me to get her breath back, Zach kicked her in the stomach. "Idiot" "Nerd" "Princess" "Blondie" "Arrogant" were some of the things Zach called her as he continued to kick her in the gut. Amber's vision blurred with the tears that were pouring from her eyes. She felt a pain in her chest, and something rise in her throat as she lurched forward, choking. She retched and dry heaved repeatedly, with the only result being blood and saliva. Finally the beating stopped, but the pain didn't. Amber could hear Zach getting further and further from her as he laughed and walked away.
Amber used her sleeve to wipe her eyes, hoping to regain her vision. It wasn't an easy task, though, as she'd just cried her eyes out. But when she gained her vision she looked down to see her clothes covered in blood, or, sprayed rather. She felt something dribble down her chin, and when she went to wipe it she saw it was just more blood and more spit. Amber groaned, not feeling like she could get up. She put her hand on the seat of the bench behind her, and slowly moved herself up onto it. She sat on the bench, with her elbows on her knees and her face in her hands. She cried. All she could do was cry. Amber didn't want to have to deal with this all of this year, and the next. Amber never had anyone do anything like that to her, she never had anyone hate her like that and she honestly didn't know how to deal with it. But she knew she had to, because she couldn't let some egotistical bastard get in the way of her education. So Amber stood up, while holding her aching stomach, and walked towards the stairs leading down into the main hall. Amber walked down the stairs, into the hallways, and realized that class had already ended and lunch was about to start. Crowds of people in the hall stopped as they looked at her. Some of them looked at their friends and whispered, and Amber just stayed dead in her tracks like a deer in headlights.
But how did she expect them to react? Did she expect a bunch of conceited, insensitive teenagers to come rushing to her side to aid her? No. She was a girl, standing in the hallway with bloody clothes, a tear stained face, her hand on her stomach, dried blood on her chin, and a loose bun which had left hair hanging in her face. But Amber saw the crowd split up as she heard footsteps running through. "A!" Amber's face filled with hope as she heard Naomi's voice running up to her. She hugged her best friend, but before they could continue their conversation Naomi turned to the crowd "Okay, okay, nothing to see here people, go back to your daily lives," and everybody directed their attention to what Amber could only assume they were doing before the freak show walked down the stairs leading to the roof.
Naomi closed the room door behind them as she led Amber over to her bed. "Lay down, A" So Amber lied down and watched Naomi who sat at the foot of her bed. "A, what happened?" "I...don't really want to talk about it right now, maybe later," "Yea, you're right. Clearly something happened though, so I want you to get some rest. I'm going back to class but after school when I get back you need to tell me who did this to you. We both know I can't do anything to them, but I can report them," Amber's face filled with a look of genuine fear. "No! No you can't report them! Then they'll hurt me even worse!" Amber quickly sat up. "They'll probably expel them, though," "No, they'll suspend them. And when they're back they'll hurt me again." "But if they are expelled?" Amber gave her a thoughtful look before saying "But what if he comes and finds me somehow? Sneaks onto campus?" "I don't think they'd let that happen. Wait- it was a boy? Boys aren't supposed to hit girls!" "He said he doesn't care," Amber spoke quietly,
"Ok, A. You seem really scared about this guy, whoever he is. Which by the way I do want you to tell me who he is when I'm home. But I won't report him, anyway, here, this should help you rest" Naomi handed Amber her iPod and put on some random playlist named "PTV" Amber put in the earbuds and closely examined the lyrics, until they faded into nothingness as she fell asleep.
Choke, tried to wash you down with something strong
Dry but the taste of blood remains
Cold, empty mattresses and falling stars
My, how they start to look the same
So keep in happiness
And torture me while I tell you,
"Let's go in style."
A million hooks around
A million ways to die
Darling, it's cold outside
No, no more eyes to see the sun
You slide into bed while I get drunk
Slow conversations with a gun
Mean more than I've ever said to anyone, anyone
So keep in happiness
And torture me while I tell you,
"Let's go in style."
A million hooks around
A million ways to die
Darling, let's go inside
It'll be alright
But last night, you said you ended up in Palm Springs dancing on tables
Almost fought some b*tch at the club
Got kicked out of your hotel and lost your shoes
Well, f*ck, what am I supposed to be, I'mpressed?
were the words Amber fell asleep to.
It'd been a couple of weeks since Amber got humiliated completely by Zach Milwood. Every day she'd done her English work slowly so hopefully she wouldn't get out in tI'me for break. When her teacher talked to her about it, she just told him that she had been zoning out lately. So he arranged for her to have counselor meetings every day during break for the next two months. Amber tried her best to avoid Zach, she started eating lunch in her room instead of the cafeteria. But he still caught up to her a couple of tI'mes. He'd be sneaking into the girls bathroom, and would throw a couple punches before he got caught. But when the teacher asked what he was doing he would say he wasn't paying attention and when Amber was asked, she got scared so she just played along with Zach's story.
But now, Amber sat in her English class, silent in the sea of yammering students and throwing pencils. She heard the door slam, and all attention turned to the door as everyone scurried back to their own seats. Mr.McSwayne was standing there, with his hand on Zach's forearm. "Students! This, is our new student, Zachary Milwood. Say hi," All of the students mumbled a bitter hello and the teacher led Zach to his seat. No, Zach wasn't right beside Amber but he was a seat behind her, however.
That gave Amber extreme paranoia. There was an empty seat in front of her, why couldn't he sit there? Oh wait, it was taken; there was just someone out today. Amber felt a tap on her shoulder, causing goosebumps to cover her body and making her jump. Amber turned around to see Zach acting innocent "Do you have a pen I can borrow?" He smiled sweetly. "Yes," Amber said. Her mouth spoke politely but her mind was responding bitterly.
Yea, I have a pencil. I also have a soul and dignity, need to borrow that too? Need to borrow my heart too? No, you don't, 'cause you already stole it,
Wait, wait, what was that last part? Amber didn't like Zach, did she? No, no she couldn't. Zach was a violent narcissist. But if he's a narcissist I can see why he'd be obsessed with his looks, No, stop, you can't think of him this way, Amber. Remember how dirty he looked on the first day of school? Look at him now,
Zach was wearing a blue Bring Me The Horizon tank, with a navy blue jacket. His dark grey jeans had holes on the knees, and his black Adidas high tops made him look oddly hot. His hair that had been dark brown on the first day of school, was now a light brown with blonde highlighted bits in it, and still in a quiff. Zach's perfectly chiseled face was lined with stubble. His bright blue eyes, was he wearing contacts?, were staring down at his paper, as his hands drew across it. His tannish skin looked smooth in the bright lights of the classroom.
Amber didn't notice how long she'd been staring until Zach glanced up at her, "Do you need something?" he said roughly. "No..." Amber choked. She slowly turned back around in her seat and zoned out for most of Mr.McSwayne's lecture. All she could think was
I can't like him, can I? I mean, he's attractive, what? No, no he isn't. Well...maybe a little...but he beat me up, he cant hit girls, therefore he would clearly be an abusive boyfriend. Wait, who said anything about dating him? What's happening to me!?
The bell startled Amber out of her daydream, and brought her back to sheer reality. She grabbed her bag and started to the door when she heard her name being called "Caulfield, get over here," Mr.McSwayne spoke. She turned slowly as the other students left the class, and trudged towards the teacher. "Look, Amber, Zach got moved to this class because his teachers thought he was too smart for the other one, but I still think he's going to need help. Amber, I want you to be Zach's English tutor for this year. I already talked to him, so he knows. You start tutoring...uhm...tonight"
Amber slowly approached Zach in the hallway. His back was to her, and he was leaning against the lockers talking to his friends. At least, she could only assume they were his friends. They were the other school rejects. Just like Zach, they got in trouble a lot, skipped classes, and made you fall for them just before they break your heart. No, Amber, stop thinking like that, you can't be attracted to Zach. Amber groaned mentally as she looked the other boys up and down.
One of them was wearing a blue Hollister hoodie, zipped up but slightly revealing a white shirt. His gray sweatpants looked like they'd been chewed by a dog, and his yellow converse looked like he was sporting McDonald's. Amber knew this was Jason Malik, he was the bad boy- just not as violent as the others. The boy standing beside Jason was Blade, or, Diego, but his nickname was Blade. He looked hot and stylish as usual. Black and white striped polo, with blue skinny jeans, and black converse.
Diego used to be the school nerd, but something must have clicked over the summer. He actually became cool, and pretty hot. Diego's jet black hair made his brown eyes almost look brighter. His almost tan complexion was a little oily though, and his freckles looked smeared as if he painted them on every morning. None the less, the turquoise dye at the end of his fringe, and his silver snake bites made up for all of that.
Amber didn't get as much tI'me as she wanted to take in the attractive looks of the school bad boys before they noticed her staring. Zach turned to see what his friends were looking at, and smirked at Amber. "Hey, kid. Heard you're gonna be my tutor?" Amber just nodded, too scared to speak. Amber wasn't sure why, but it seemed like there was a lump in her throat blocking sound to escape her mouth no matter how much she pushed her vocal chords to speak. Finally, Amber got the courage to speak.
"Zach, we both know they already assigned us to our sessions and we have to go. They're monitoring us," Zach gave Amber this look, like he knew she just read his mind. But she basically did. Amber completely expected Zach to ditch and she wasn't going to let him, even if it costed another beating.
Zach sighed and nodded his head, "Yea, yea, I know. I'll be there, okay?" Amber smiled sarcastically and strutted off.
SometI'mes Amber liked skipping class. The classes required for the rest of the day didn’t matter anyway. All they were going to do was take a test, which Amber had taken in advance a couple of weeks earlier. They didn’t usually allow students to take tests in advance, due to the possibility of cheating, but her teacher allowed it with Amber. Of course, if the principal and school board found out, her teacher could lose his job.
So there Amber sat, on the strong branch of the tree in campus square. Zach found her place on the roof, and knew she sometI'mes sat on the benches in the square. But this was the first tI'me since ninth grade Amber had come up that tree, and if he found her there she knew she’d never be safe again unless in one of the girls’ buildings. And since the cafeteria was only open during lunch hours, Amber was kind of stuck to her dorm. Which was either completely empty and filled with an eerie silence that made her ears ring until she left the dorms. Or it could be completely crowded and full of talking, cheering, and screams. Occasionally Amber would walk down the hall to the soccer field at night to stargaze and exercise, and typically when she did she could walk past a room and hear one of the girls having sex with someone. And the girl’s moans would be the only sound in the hall that night.
No, guys weren’t supposed to come into the girls dorm during any hour. But of course, being the defiant teens they were, they did anyone. Then again, you would occasionally here two girls. One of them would be out of the closet, and the other one too scared to come out, so they went to the open one’s place and when the hall filled with their moans you couldn’t tell who was who.
There were some things Amber had learned from her schoolmates in the past few years which she wished she hadn’t. She could walk down the hall at night with her friends now, and ignore moans and vulgar language. But when she first started and all these new terms came up, she’d be lying if she said they didn’t ruin her life. She heard the terms, and was too embarrassed to ask what they meant so she looked them up. And occasionally a video, or I'mage or two would pop up and she’d close off and clear her history I'mmediately. But, now she knows everything there is to know, not that she really needs to.
Amber looked back up towards the sky. The sun was peaking through the leaves and onto her skin, warming her. The school bell rang. Lunch. Amber knew a bunch of the other students would be running around now, and as she clI'mbed down from her place in the tree she could practically hear the footsteps behind the school doors. Students poured out of the doors and the calm, quiet air suddenly turned to a clutter of conversations. Amber stood, her back against the tree. She watched the waves of people walk by as the ringing in her head from the school bell quieted. “Hey, Amber,” Amber heard someone mutter. She turned her head to see Kara standing beside her. She was wearing a neon orange shirt, a black leather jacket, and black shorts connected to black leggings with a lace trI'mmed leather strap. “Hey, Kara. Where are the girls?” Kara frowned, of course Amber thought she was already frowning. But she supposed that was her regular expression. “Jackie is in detention with Mr.Anderson and Naomi is off flirting with her boyfriend” Kara sighed. “Wait, Naomi has a boyfriend? Oh, yea. Hold on, what did Jackie do to get detention?” Kara paused for a moment as if she were thinking. “You know how Mr.Anderson is the worst teacher ever?” Amber tapped her chin with her index finger “hmmm…yea, yea I know what you’re talking about,” Kara chuckled. “Well, Jackie’s phone fell out of her pocket and she went down to pick it up, but he caught her and thought she was on it. She tried to explain but, he didn’t listen. He never does…” Kara trailed off, almost as if she was hurt by Mr.Anderson. She shouldn’t care about him, she isn’t even in his class anymore. Wait, if she wasn’t in his class how did she know what happened to Jackie? How did she know in detail what happened…? Amber decided not to ask questions, but just as she started to suggest driving to the new restaurant off campus, her stomach growled. Kara laughed half-heartedly. “Hungry? I heard there’s this new restaurant, its just a mile away from campus. I'm sure we can be back in tI'me for you to go to practice,” Kara raised an eyebrow. Amber looked down at her stomach, and nodded. “Yeah, lets go.”
Amber slammed the car door behind her and sped walk to keep up with Kara. “Hey, wait up! I’m hungry too you know!” Kara laughed and ran ahead to the restaurant, slowing down to walk inside, Amber followed closely behind.
The inside of the small restaurant was cute and cozy. Rather…feminine. In the left corner there were bean bag chairs in a circle, each one black or white. In the center was a round coffee table, and on the wall in the corner was a small speaker blasting some strange music she didn’t understand because it was screaming too much. In the right corner was a small rectangular table that fit about six people. It was a booth, with dark purple and black leather seats.
The lighting in the room was dI'm, and the music had switched over to something by Sleeping with Sirens.
And I would rather be a stray than be nothing to no one at all
Amber heard. She turned her focused back to the room. The black tile floor looked waxed, and it matched well with the mocha colored walls and ceiling.
Straight ahead was a desk, or bar. Four black stools sat at the brown desk. Behind it stood a brunette boy with a Pierce the Veil shirt and black pants on.
Brown framed lamps hung from the ceiling, and the lightbulbs in them were dI'm.
The wall beside the front desk had two doors in it. Restrooms. Honesty, Amber felt like she was in Hot Topic 2005.
“Hey, Amber, what do you want?” Kara spoke as Amber took a step towards the bathrooms. Amber looked up at the menu. “Caramel Machiatto and a number four,” Amber walked to the bathroom. The bathroom wall was a mural, wrapping around the room. The floor was still black tile, but the ceiling was a violet color. The marble sinks, toilets, even the stall doors were black. The mural on the wall was a painting of Romeo and Juliet. Beside the door was Juliet standing alone on a balcony, leaning over and staring at the stars. The sky of the entire mural was painted as Van Gogh’s Starry Night. A little over to the side was a picture of Juliet with her head over her shoulder, looking at a boy Amber could only presume was Romeo. Then it was Juliet with her head down, getting yelled at by her family, and a wall separating her from Romeo who was also getting yelled at. Then, there was Juliet standing over a balcony, with Romeo holding a lantern below her. On the last wall was Romeo drinking from a flask, and sitting on a table. Then was him lying dead, and Juliet coming in to look at his body. The final scene, Juliet took a drink from the flask and lied beside his body.
I don’t think that’s how that ended…I don’t remember… Amber thought to herself. She washed her hands in the sink and walked out of the bathroom.
Amber walked over to Kara who was already sitting on a beanbag chair, with their food in front of her. Amber sat beside her in a white chair and grabbed her Machiatto.
The girls finished their coffees, and Amber had eaten her fries and sherbet crêpe. “I’m going to the bathroom,” “Same,” Amber said. She needed to wash the stickiness of the ice-cream off of her hands. Amber casually washed her hands as Kara marveled the mural on the wall.
“Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?” Kara sighed, dramatically putting her hand to her forehead.
“I’m here, my darling.” Amber turned and knelt down in front of Kara.
"We're beyond the point of being able to quote that" Amber choked through her laughter.
Amber wiped her now watering eyes, and walked towards the door. She opened it for Kara
"Go forth, my fair maiden," She held out her arm and Kara fake curtsied, walking through the door. Amber laughed once again and walked out behind her.
The girls rushed up to the front steps. "Oh my god, Kara, why didn't you have your phone on?" Amber said as they frantically ran in the building. "I didn't want anything to ruin the fun!" Once they were inside, they quickly went to the elevator, some strangers following in. One of them pressed 1, the other pressed 3, and Kara pushed 5. The girls waited in anticipation as they reached the first stop. And the second. And theirs. The girls rushed down the hallway and to the room. They quietly pushed open the door, and the sight before them put them in awe and shock. "Oh god no..." Amber spoke sarcastically, and started out the room.
Amber rolled her eyes and walked back into the main hall, towards the elevator. Kara walked quickly behind her, and grabbed her shoulder to turn her around.
“Kara, why didn’t you tell me who it was?”
“I didn’t know! I just got the text from Naomi!’’
“Why would Naomi care if Zach is in the hospital?!”
“Because they’re dating…” Kara spoke softly, as if Amber were a child she was trying to educate of the sI'mplest thing. But Amber still stood in awe, not able to believe it. When she finally came back from her state of shock, she spoke angrily, and being that Amber never got so angry, it scared Kara.
‘’Why? Why would she date him? Of all people! Him!”
“Amber, why are you so obsessed with this guy? Do you like him?”
“No!” Amber said a little too quickly
“Oh my god! Yes you do!” Kara squeaked, before realizing the situation. Her expression turned serious. “You can’t like Naomi’s boyfriend. Thats weird,”
Amber sighed “I- I don’t like him. Kara,” Amber turned around from her elevator-facing position to look at Kara, who had a look of confusion on her face. And Amber gave her that look. That look that told her exactly what Amber was about to say.
“He’s the one who beat you on the roof…” Kara put her hand over her mouth, and Amber put her head down while slowly nodding.
“We…we need to tell Naomi!” Kara started back towards the room, but Amber held her back,
“No! She’ll tell the principal, and he’ll get suspended or expelled or in trouble and beat me even worse! Or…or Naomi’s heart’ll be broken! And it’ll be my fault!”
“I know its a hard decision, A, but we it’ll be broken even worse if he hurts her physically, along with her bones. Come on man, we need to tell her.” Amber sighed
“No, we cant. Can..can we just watch him? Keep an eye on him? Don’t you have some weird computer smarts? Can’t that help us?”
“Well, I could connect Naomi’s and Zach’s phone to my computer and monitor their messages to each other and other people. As well as emails, and photos, and things like that. We can find out a lot about Zach from there,”
“And we wont get in trouble?”
“Oh, this is illegal. But, we’re okay. As long as we don’t get caught.” Kara smirked
“I don’t know…I…I don’t do things like this…” Amber looked up. They could either monitor Zach with a 50/50 chance of knowing he won’t hurt her, and risk getting arrested. Or be fine, but deal with Naomi having a broken heart but know he wont physically hurt her.
“Exactly, A” Kara lightly hit Amber’s arm. “Live a little,” Amber smiles and nods her head “Yeah, yeah, okay” Kara put her arm around Amber’s shoulder as they headed back to the room.
They walked in to see a crying Naomi next to an unconscious Zach. Kara patted Amber’s shoulder and whispered “You get their phones and bring them out here, make sure to act casual,” Amber nodded as Kara walked out.
Amber closed the door behind her, sat down awkwardly, and reached her hand out to Naomi’s shoulder. Naomi looked up. “Amber, I…I’m glad you came…Amber how did this happen?” Naomi put her head in her hands. Amber glanced over at Zach. He had an IV in his arms, an oxygen mask on, bruises and scratches across his face. It looked like he’d been beaten to death by a transformer. There was dried blood on this forehead, and the deafening, but suspenseful sound of the heart monitor echoing throughout the room.
“I don’t know…shouldn’t you be telling me that?” Amber finally spoke, breaking the silence she didn’t realize was lingering.
“I'm not talking about Zach, I mean, how did I get here? How did we get here?”
“Thats not what I meant…”
“Are you having an existential crisis or something?’’
“No, I just…” Naomi looked up at Zach, then at Amber
“Everything we had was so perfect…no drama…no fights…no pain…it was us, our friends, our studies, and our family. But now…I don’t know what happened. Pain, love, attention, drama, secrets…how did we get here?”
“Naomi, calm down,” Amber put her hand back onto Naomi’s shoulder “You make it sound like its forty minutes into some teen drama movie by Disney. Only, this tI'me there are no promises of a happy ending. Because this is the real world. This isn’t some book that is going to end in suicide and cyberbullying. If it were, it’d be way to early for you to conclude that. This is life, get over it,” Amber became a little more harsh at the end, as she was trying to keep herself from saying “None of this would have happened if Zach hadn't come!”
Naomi looked a bit taken aback from Amber’s outburst, but eventually nodded and agreed “Yea, yea you’re right…” she sniffed.
The girls sat in silence for a while, whilst Naomi dried her tears and held Zach’s hand.
“What happened to him?”
“I don’t know…they said his mom called and when they got there he was unconscious on the couch. His mom told them he fell down the stairs…but, I don’t think you get scratches like that from just falling…”
“Don’t worry yourself sick, get some rest. Hey, can I borrow your phone? I need to…call Jackie. Mine’s dead.”
“Mine is out of data…Zach’s is over there, but get it back ASAP and delete the call history when you’re done,”
Amber nodded and walked over to Zach’s phone, picking it up. Don’t you jus love it when the universe is on your side? It always was for Amber…not for long.
Amber went over to hug Naomi, “Get some rest,” she whispered in her ear. As she hugged her, she grabbed Naomi’s phone from the table behind her and sneakily stuck it in her pocket. She pulled back, and pulled her shirt down to cover the phone. Amber walked out, and carefully closed the door behind her. Kara anxiously came up ‘’Did you get them?” Amber waved the two phones in front of Kara “Yup,’’
Amber paced back and forth in Kara’s room as she hooked up the phones to her computer. They weren’t sure how long they’d been trying to hook this up, and set it to a point where after the phones were unplugged the display would stay up. Amber plopped down on Kara’s bed “Kay, how close are we?” Amber’s response came in the form of five clicks, and Kara spinning to face Amber in her computer chair. “That was harder than I thought it’d be…but it’s done!” Amber smiled, before it hit her that they had to return the cellphones to Zach and Naomi. “Bruh, lets go.” Kara said and grabbed her jacket, as if she read Amber’s thoughts.
The girls walked into the room Zach was laying in. “Amber! Where did you go?” Naomi looked almost angry, but mostly concerned. “I forgot I had his phone on me, and I must’ve taken yours and forgot it too just before you told me it was out of minutes…” Amber handed the phones back to Naomi and sat down in a seat in front of her, and beside Kara. “Hey, has he woken up yet?” Amber heard the sweet voice of a nurse enter the room. “No…’’ The nurse continued pressing random buttons on random machines and filling the room with random and annoying noises. Finally, she left without another word.
“Naomi…” Amber got the courage to break through the sad silence. “Yeah?” “Why didn’t you tell me you two were dating?” Naomi looked up, confused. “I did”. “No, you didn’t”.
“That day you got beat on the roof? And I took you to the room? When you woke up you asked who I was talking to outside the room before I came in. I said my boyfriend, you asked who it was, and I said Zach Milwood. Then you passed out or something.”
“Oh…” Amber still didn’t have the heart to tell her it was Zach who beat her. She didn’t even have the heart to look over at him. Every tI'me she did she felt him again. His fist on her face, his foot on her stomach. She remembered the feeling of the warm blood and saliva trickling down her chin, and the smell of her own blood in her nose. Amber snapped out of her zone as quickly as she fell into it when Zach’s heart monitor sped up. Naomi freaked out, and Kara tried to stay calm, hitting the red emergency button under his bed.
The nurse rushed in, “his heart beat’s goin’ through the roof!” She ran the girls out of the room. Naomi slid down the wall, crying. “Naomi, Naomi, listen to me. Naomi!” Kara tried calming her down. “Naomi, you haven’t known him that long, calm down!” Naomi cried even harder, and right when Amber looked over at the crying mess on the floor she saw Kara swing her hand across Naomi’s face. Naomi hushed, and put her hand to her cheek. “I…I’m sorry, Naomi, I’m sorry,” Kara started crying herself. The two of them were total messes, and Amber was just staring at them. Not doing, nor saying anything. Finally Kara stood up, and wrapping Naomi’s arm around her, led them to the waiting room beside the elevator. The girls sat in there for a while. Amber staring at the ground, Naomi rocking back and forth while sobbing, Kara in the same state as Amber. Not long later a nurse came into the waiting room, and waved for the girls to go back in. They all walked back to the room Zach was in. His heartbeat was steady now. “He lost too much vital fluid…he…doesn’t have much tI'me” the nurse spoke quietly before leaving the room. The girls sat there in silence, listening. His heart beat slowed down, each beat getting further apart. Then, it stopped. Flatline. The eerie ringing was all that filled the room, drowning out Naomi’s whimpers.
Amber shot up, out of her daze. Wait, Zach’s heartbeat was still going. Was that seriously a day dream? Amber thought to herself as the looked around the still and quiet room. I guess so…She watched as Naomi stared at the ground and Kara scrolling on her phone. Well, there’s nothing better to do. Amber got out her phone, and as soon as she turned it on the notifications popped up. 17 missed calls and 13 texts. Who the heck? Amber typed in her passcode: 1029. As soon as she saw the contact name for the person that had been calling her, Amber dropped her phone. She heard her glass phone crack on the tile flooring, but she didn’t care. “Amber! Are you okay?!” Kara whisper-shouted. “My dad called me…’’ Kara gasped, and with wide eyes whispered “I’m so sorry, Amber.”
When Amber was about four years old, and that was the age where your good memory came in, her dad left them. No, he didn’t leave her mom as in divorce, he left them to go on a business trip. Amber had started kindergarten without him there for her, she’d learned to bike, she’d learned to swim, she’d learned to read and write and had started taking violin lessons, but he was never there. He came back when Amber was 8, and by then she understood enough to be able to ask “Daddy, why did your business trip take four years?”. But he had just told her it was very important work. Amber’s dad was around for another two years, to watch her first violin recital, watch her in the school play, see her swim, see her ride her bike, see her write him poems for Father’s Day. But when Amber was 10 years old, he left again. Amber remembered going to his office one day. Where he worked on papers and files and typed things on the computer that Amber wasn’t ‘old enough’ to know about. She heard him talking on speaker phone to some lady. Amber remembered the conversation as if it had just happened. “Georgey, our baby is sick, you need to come help me. I’m about to start tour again”. The lady had said. “I’ll be there, okay, I just need an excuse to get away from my wife and that nosey little girl…” Amber had stopped listening when she heard that. When her father told them he needed to speak to them a week later at dinner, he said he was leaving for another business trip and didn’t know when he’d be back. Amber knew the truth, but didn’t want to tell her mom who already suffered from panic attacks. A few years later, when Amber was 15 and her dad was home, he announced another business trip. This time, Amber stood up. “You’re going to see your other girlfriend again. The one you had a baby with eleven years ago and spent four years with?” Her father had gotten nervous and speechless, and that was enough to tell her mother that it was true. When Amber was 16, her parents divorced, and at age 18, her mother announced that her and her boyfriend were engaged. Amber’s step dad was always there. He was always nice to her, always loved her. He almost seemed to love Amber more than her mom, but she never dwelled on it. But now, now Amber’s biological dad was calling? The man who said he never wanted to speak to her again because she ruined his life, or rather, his game?
Amber pulled herself out of her thoughts long enough to assess what she’d just done. She picked up her phone, and turned to Kara. “Should I…call back?” Amber’s eyes lined with tears. “No, A, hand me your phone. You shouldn’t deal with this right now”. Amber gave her phone to Kara, and looked down at where it’d been laying. Kara ran her finger over the crack on the screen and sighed “A, how about we go home and deal with this?” Amber only responded with a quick nod of her head. The girls waved goodbye to Naomi and walked out the room. The entire walk to the car, the car ride back to school, all of it was silent. Amber didn’t speak a word when she got back to her dorm, just curled up on her bed while staring at the wall. “Come on, A. You can’t be in a permanent state of shock, we’re dealing with this. Now, get up!” Kara hit her with a pillow, gaining nothing from Amber.
“Amber? Amber, wake up. Amber!” Amber felt a pillow get thrown on her. “I’m up, I’m up.” Amber propped herself up on her elbow long enough to throw the pillow back at the bodiless voice, not caring who it was. “Amber!” The person whined. Amber rolled over and sat up, rubbing her eyes.