(Trying to be a normal Teen ~ Amber’s story Pt 1 and I always said never)
Amber is a senior in High school she’s known as a Marine Brat with her Dad and older brother both serving deployed U.S. Marines. Her family and friends are everything to her, Weary of guys after what happened with the last guy she dated, Will the new guy in school make her happy.
Chapter 1 Meeting
I rolled over in bed and turned off the alarm… 6am. I put my head back on my pillow and looked up at the ceiling fan slowly turning. I began to get lost in my own thoughts of the game the night before and the fact that I couldn’t remember seeing someone who actually took my breath away until last night.
Go back to the night before...........
I was sitting in the library trying to concentrate on getting my home work finished so I was free for the night. I jumped as my peace was shattered and a backpack landed on top of my books in front of me. I looked up to see Adam grinning like the lunatic that had escaped the asylum. I smiled at him and shook my head as I fetched out my earphones kicking the spare chair away from the desk for him to sit down.
Adam and I had been friends since kindergarten. It was one of those friendships where you can tell them anything and they won’t take offence. He knew me better than I knew myself half the time finishing sentences for me the way I did for him. He was the biggest joker in school and at 5ft9 not the tallest guy but he was one of the best kids on the track team. His blonde buzzed hair and bright blue eyes and the way he carried himself head high gave away what his plan was after graduation… to enlist in the Marine Corps a thought which made me so proud to call him my best friend but also scared the life out of me.
“Amber, I need your help” he said giving me the puppy dog eyes
“If it’s going to get me in trouble then no”
“Do I ever get you in trouble?” he feigned shock, I just raised my eyebrows at him “okay there was the time in 3rd grade with the glue and the thumb tacks and the principals chair… oh and remember when your dad found those worms in his boots”. He was laughing and holding his sides
“Yes he still won’t believe that it was you” I frowned poking him in the leg with my pen. “So what do you want?”
“Are we still going to the soccer game tonight?”
“Yes… then were going for something to eat” I said “Like we normally do, why?” I narrowed my eyes at him
“I sort of invited someone” he smirked
“Oh please don’t tell me that freshman airhead you’ve been drooling after” I wrinkled my nose he winked rubbing his hands together. “That girl should be blond not brunette”
“But she is really cute and stacked for a 14 year old” he flashed me a grin ignoring my comment. I smacked him round the back of the head.
“Adam… that’s just wrong! We’ve just started Senior year what’s wrong with sticking to at least Juniors”.
“Because they all know me and know I don’t want anything serious”. He groaned
“So it’s okay to probably break some 14 yr olds heart… Sometimes you’re a real pig and I don’t know why I’m your friend” I sighed shaking my head at him.
“Cause you love me” he smiled putting his head on my shoulder and batting his eye lashes like a 3 year old that wants candy, He knew I’d give in “so will you pick us both up?”
“Fine… but she’ll have a curfew” I reminded him laughing “and just think what the others are going to say”
“I don’t care, and thanks 5.30 at mine Okay” he said getting up dropping a kiss on my cheek before he grabbed his backpack and walked out of the library. I swung back on my chair tapping my pen against my teeth watching him disappear down the hall. I put my I-pod back on and went back to working.
I grabbed my bag and started to push my books into it forgetting to close the zipper as I stood up and walked out and promptly dropping everything out of it as my phone started to ring.
“Typical” I groaned crouching down to pick up the things that had fallen out. the phone stopped ringing as I grabbed it from the floor “Damn it” I hissed.
“Er... I think this is yours” a voice said. I looked up and squinted against the low afternoon sun. All I could make out was a tall outline of a guy holding out my wallet. I stood up to be able to see him without the glare of the sun only coming up to his shoulder he must have been at least 6ft tall. I didn’t recognize him at all which threw me I’d known 99% of the kids in this school for the whole of my life. I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me as I studied the stranger his sandy brown sun bleached hair was untidily perfect falling above the emerald green eyes his free hand rubbed along his square jaw while the smile he was flashing produced a single dimple in his left cheek. “Your wallet” he held up the wallet in his hand again making me lose concentration on him.
“Oh… yeah right… thanks” I took it.
“Your Welcome” he nodded he took the steps next to me two at a time as he carried on into school, my phone started ringing again I answered it quickly
Me * hey Adam.
Adam * I called you before and you didn’t answer.
Me * I dropped my bag and it stopped ringing by the time I picked it up. …Hey do you know if we have any new kids at school.
Adam * there’s a few …there’s two new guys in our grade twins I think, and there is a Junior girl… Why?
Me * just wondered, now what did you want?
Adam * we are going to come over to you before the game.
Me * WE.
Adam * yeah me and Chelsea.
Me * okay… I’m just heading home now.
Adam * see you in 30 minutes.
He hung up, I walked across the parking lot my head filled with images of the guy with my wallet I didn’t even remember the drive home I was too preoccupied till I actually walked into the
“You have a good day sweetie?” she asked smiling at me
“Not bad, saw a really cute guy this afternoon don’t know where he was from though” she shook her head and sighed as I poured a glass of juice.
“Your brother called about an hour ago… he’s going to e-mail you… But just as a heads up” she took a deep breath “his tour has been extended by another 6 months” tears welled up behind her eyes as she turned away, I sat down on the stool.
“It’s not his fault mom… he’ll be okay” I tried to sound positive which was hard with a lump the size of a fist in my throat.
“I know honey… it doesn’t help with your Dad being out there as well” I got up and hugged her.
“Why don’t you go out with Auntie Jean and have a good time, you deserve it” I smiled “she’s been asking you to go up to their new house for weeks now”.
“I might… Are you and Adam going to the soccer game tonight?” she asked wiping her eyes on a tissue and changing the subject.
“Yeah… then for something to eat, he’s bringing this freshman” Mom raised her eyebrows “ I know but you know what he is” I rolled my eyes making her nod and laugh as the door opened and Adam walked in followed by a shy brunette. I looked at mom and we started laughing “Speak of the devil we were just talking about you”
“Hope it was good” he smiled leaning over and kissing my Mom on the cheek “looking hot as ever Mom” she started to blush swatting him He’d called her Mom since we’d started High school and he’d stayed with us for a few weeks when his parents took a vacation “this is Chelsea” she smiled at us nervously.
“You can come in we don’t bite” I shrugged “Come upstairs… I just need to get ready” I looked at Mom “Call Auntie Jean”. Adam and Chelsea followed me into my room.
“I love you room” she said sitting on my bed.
“Thank you” she was very cute but I knew Adam was just going to string her along. I opened my closet door and pulled out my favorite denim short skirt and green tank
“I’ll just get changed” I walked into my bathroom and redid my makeup and changed my clothes Adam was on my computer laughing as I came out of the bathroom. “What you doing now?”
“Toby sent you a message” He chuckled “You needs to send him some more photos of you and any other cute girls that you can get pictures of” he read from the screen
“Hey, I don’t like when you read my e-mails before me especially from him” I snapped.
“Sorry Amber… I know but your Dad sent you one as well and I didn’t read that one” he got up. “We need to get going the game starts in like 40 minutes” I threw him my car keys.
“I’ll be down in a minute”
“Okay” he squeezed my shoulder for comfort knowing I’d be in tears in the space of a few minutes when I read the e-mails for myself. He took Chelsea’s hand walked out. I sat at my computer to read
Weather is so hot here the sand and dust gets everywhere.
I hope school is going well and Adam’s doing everything he can to keep his nose clean we don’t need him not getting in to the Corps.
I miss you and your Mom so much, but I did get to see Toby for a couple of days he’s doing real well,
I love you I miss you and I’ll see you soon
I smiled and wiped my eyes “oh great need to re do the mascara now” I muttered out loud. I click on the other e-mail
According to the guys I have a smoking hot little sister (I don’t see it but what the hell) and for some reason both the photos by my bunk have gone missing and they were the ones of you in the red bikini Logan’s just told me trust one of my best friends to remember the details (they haven’t found the one in my jacket pocket) so can you send me some more especially if some of your friends are on them like Dawn even if she is still with Ry.
I got to see Dad for a couple of days which was really good he looks great for an old Marine
I hope your senior year has started well. Say hi to Adam and Coach Spencer, give Mom a hug and kiss for me I’ll try to call at the weekend but can’t promise you know what it’s like.
I attached some new photos for you
I love you and miss you Sis
Your Big Bro xxx
p.s. don’t forget the photos.
I clicked on the attachments and sent them right to the printer and walked into redo my mascara that was running down my face. I grabbed the pictures from the printer and folded them putting
them in my purse I walked down stairs and kissed Mom on the cheek as she chatted to her sister on the phone. I opened the door to find Chelsea sitting on the hood of my truck with Adam
kissing her like he was trying to find out what she had for lunch.
“Hey.. quit making out and get in the Damn truck” I laughed. Chelsea’s cheeks glowed like a stop light as she slid off the hood and climbed in. Adam Looked at me
“Sorry for reading the e-mail… you OK?” he asked tipping his head to the side concern out weighing ever other expression on his face.
“Yeah I’m okay… I got some pictures from T we can look at them at school” I walked to the drivers’ door and got in.
The drive to the field was filled with Adam trying to impress Chelsea about things he’d done I kept my mouth shut because the last thing he wants when trying to impress a girl was me reminding him of when I saved him for the bullies in the playground. We got to school and walked up to the soccer field
“Hey Amber, Adam over here” Dawn was waving to us from the bleachers where the usual motley crew were gathered the best thing about our school was that we had no really clicks, if you were a
friend’s with the jocks you were also friends with the bookworm kids.
“Hey Sexy” Rylan called out.
“I take it you were talking to Adam” I grinned
“You know him so well Amber” Dawn laughed as we sat down on the bleachers.
“Hey Adam didn’t know you were bringing your little sister?” One of the guys smiled I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.
“It’s not” he hissed “This is Chelsea she just started here” He glared at David. Dawn looked at me “Isn’t she a freshman” I nodded
“He doesn’t want to get serious with anyone is what he says” I smiled dawn groaned and rolled her eyes, I’d known Dawn almost as long as I’d know Adam, and I’d actually been thrown up on by a really nervous Rylan before he’d asked her out back in our freshman year. They were the all American couple she was tall slim and pretty and he was the athlete already attracting attention from colleges for his football skills.
“Hey Rylan I need a word” we all looked up as the football coach came over he looked at me and smiled “Amber how is Toby doing”
“He’s good he asked me to say hi to you” I said grinning.
“When you speak to him tell him we are all very proud of him and to take care”
“I will coach” I had to swallow the lump in my throat again, Dawn put her arm round me and hugged me.
“You okay?” she asked
“Yeah… I got an email from him just before we came here” I took the photos from my bag “ he sent me these and wants pictures of me and my friends because his friends say his sister is hot” I giggled Chelsea was looking at me listening to everything I was saying.
“Can I see the picture Amber”
“Sure” I handed her some of them
“Wow damn these guys are cute in uniform which one is you brother” she asked. I looked over her shoulder and pointed to Toby “He’s hot how old is he?”
“Where is he?”
“Iraq along with my dad” I said smiling Adam walked over to look at the pictures.
“Toby looks good “Adam sighed putting his arm round Chelsea
“Mom told me before his tour has just been extended by 6 months” everyone feel quiet and looked at me
“He’s been gone almost 12 months already” Rylan said “that sucks”
“I know… but that’s what being a Marine means. I’m hoping he’ll be here for graduation. He’s going to miss my 18th” I felt the tears start to roll down my face.
“Oh time for a group hug” David yelled. Everyone gathered around me sandwiching me in the middle, the same way we did anytime any of us were down and they were used to me having moments like this where Dad and Toby were concerned. I didn’t like showing how upset deployments made me with mom she had her husband and son away and it was hard enough for her.
“Thanks guys” I sniffed wiping my eyes as everyone moved back.
“Anytime” Adam smiled dropping a kiss on my head
“Hey Jake” Rylan was waving at someone I looked round to where he was looking
“Who’s Jake?” I asked
“Him and his brother just transferred in last week from out of state. Jakes our new wide receiver, his brother is on the soccer team I think he’s starting tonight” Ry informed me as he held out his hand as Jake came over Jake shook it.
“Hi” He said smiling. He looked like the stranger that had me breathless earlier today, only his hair was dark hair not sandy but the green eyes twinkled just the same.
“Okay… Jake you know Dawn and David… this is Amber” Rylan introduced me. Jake smiled
“Your brother’s the Marine right” he said tipping his head slightly
“Yeah I take it he filled you in” I poked Rylan in the ribs as Jake nodded, Adam coughed “Oh this is Adam biggest idiot in the school” I laughed “And that’s his girlfriend Chelsea” I said pointing to where Chelsea was talking to Dawn.
“Hey I’m not an idiot” Adam growled swiping at me “and she’s not my girlfriend”.
“Oh so you stuff your tongue down anyone’s throat now” I teased
“Bitch” he lurched after me as I took off running
“Now Now children” Rylan moaned “You’ll have to excuse these two, they’ve been like this from being in kindergarten” Jake was smiling
“Adam one thing to say about your friend” Jake paused as Adam stopped chasing me as I hid behind Jake “Jail bait”.
“Oh you star man” I said high fiving him “I like you” Adam gave us the finger making us all laugh. I sat down on the bleachers Jake sat next to me
“I thought you and Adam were dating” I stared to choke on my gum “Oh sorry” Jake said banging me on the back “I have seen you to round school and you just seemed close”
“Oh we are… very close, but he’s just like a brother and best friend rolled into one. He owes me his life because I stopped him from getting a super wedgie when we were in kindergarten from a 3rd grader. We’ve just been friends ever since I own his soul” I smirked looking round to where Adam was talking with Dawn my heart sank a little as I saw them looking at Toby’s pictures “He’s enlisted in the Marines leaving two days after graduation”
“That’s a good thing right” Jake asked a little apprehensively
“Oh yeah it’s amazing I love him for doing it… apart from its killing me because it means I’ll have my Dad, Brother and Best friend who could all be deployed at the same time”. A Kleenex appeared over my shoulder I looked round to see Chelsea smiling at me “considering I only met both of you today I seem to have spent a lot of time crying” Jake hugged me
“I think we’ll cope” he smiled I nodded as we saw the soccer team run out on to the field, First thing that caught my eye was the new player I looked at Jake.
“Is that your brother number 7” I asked
“yeah that’s Joey”
“I think I met him this afternoon outside school, he helped me pick up something I dropped but I never got his name” I murmured watching him laugh with one of the other players.
“ So you’re the hot girl who dropped her bag…. now I understand” he said grinning
“Understand what” I asked looking at Jake.
“Oh nothing... COME ON JOEY” Adam leaned forward to Jake
“Nice way of changing the conversation”. Chelsea nudged me and pointed across the field to Joey “You’ve met him” I nodded “Cute Amber very cute”
“He helped me pick up some stuff that I had dropped, that’s all” Dawn nudged me
“If his eyes are anything like his brothers then he’s hot”.
“Hey I can hear you” Rylan called to her without taking his eyes off the game.
“I might think he’s hot but I still love you” she laughed getting up and kissing his cheek, we sat watching the rest of the first half, at half time Jake and Rylan got up and went over to the team, Adam was talking to me but I was distracted watching Joey and Jake interacting.
“Hey earth to Amber you’re not even listening are you” Adam punched me on the arm.
“OW… don’t do that and I am listening” I snapped rubbing my arm, I looked back to the guys.
“ I’ve seen that look before” he laughed “You’ve got a crush”
“No I don’t”
“So why can’t you drag your eyes away from over there” he put his hand in front of my eyes I swatted it away
“I don’t know. I’m just paying attention to the soccer team that’s all” we both looked over as Jake said something to Joey, Rylan was nodding and grinning oh that couldn’t be good, Joey turned
around to face where I was stood a smile lit up his face.
“Amber You’ve gone the same color as a stop light” Adam whispered I looked away and hurried back to the bleachers and ran my hands through my hair Dawn looked up.
“She’s crushing on Jakes brother” Adam shouted
“You’re really pushing me tonight” I hissed at him. Dawn smiled as Rylan and Jake came back over and sat down
“We just decided to go to the steak house by the interstate to eat. That good with you guys” Rylan asked.
“Sounds good… but I think Adam should ask what time his girlfriend needs to be home” I glared in his general direction. Adam shook his head and smiled.
“Okay… I’m sorry… I’ll quit with the whole crushing comments if you lay off Chelsea, please” he held out his pinkie I hesitated before linking mine with his.
“Deal” I sat back down next to Jake “So how many are coming to eat?”
“Well there is You, Dawn, Rylan, David, Me, Adam, Chelsea, Joey and I think a couple of others from the team so about 10 maybe 12” he said with his head tilted to the one side “why?”
“We need to call ahead that’s all” I said pulling out my cell phone.
We won the game by 1 goal. I walked with Adam and Jake talking to the parking lot to wait for the other’s to get showered and changed I leant on the hood of my truck talking with Dawn about our
math assignment due in a couple of days.
“Hey finally… we are starving” Adam shouted Dawn and I looked round to see Joey and two of the other guys from the team walking across to us.
“Blame Joey he took the longest to get ready” Billy called back pushing Joey slightly. I tugged on Adams sleeve and nodded to the truck.
“Hey we’ll meet you there” I said looking round to Ry and Jake.
“Okay” Ry smiled holding the door to his car open for Dawn to get in. I drove to the restaurant with Chelsea waffling on about the game and how hot she thought Adam would look in a soccer uniform. I looked at Adam he was smirking at me. I pulled into the parking lot with Rylan following me as well as the others, I linked Dawns arm as we went inside
“You have to save me from her” I whispered “she’s infatuated with Adam… I love him to death but I think he’s crazy getting mixed up with a freshman”
“Oh that’ll wear off and Adam will find a more realistic goal to hit” Dawn giggled as the hostess showed us to our huge table and sat down. I was talking across the table to David he started to
smile and looked at each side of me I glanced round, Jake was sitting on one side and Joey had sat down on the other talking to Rylan. Dawn was laughing helplessly and gave me the thumbs up.
“Amber… you warm enough over there?” I started to laugh with her
“It’s so hot” I fanned myself with the napkin as we both lost control and started to laugh hysterically. “Bathroom” I mouthed to her getting up dropping my phone in the process. Joey bent to pick
it at the same time as I did, his hand closed over the top of mine
“I think you drop things on purpose” he grinned there was that dimple on his left cheek and his eyes seemed full of mischief I felt myself blush
“Err …” oh god I couldn’t talk my brain had shut down and I was stranded.
“Your Amber right… I’m Joey” I stood back up.
“Your brother told me…. you’re good at soccer” Oh that was so lame was the only thought running in my head
“Thanks” I couldn’t take me eyes off him. I forgot about the bathroom and sat back down next to him. I kept seeing him looking out of the corner of eye at me. Everyone was chatting with each other as we finished dinner. Joey was playing with the charm on my phone while he and dawn we deep in conversation about the offside rule over the table when it started to ring making him jump like it had sent a shock up his arm “American bad Ass” got louder the longer it rang, everyone went silent and looked at me with smiles I grabbed it from the table and took a deep breath before answering it.
Me * I thought you were going to try to call at the weekend.
Toby * oh charming… I thought I would surprise you Sis.
Me * I’m sorry… it didn’t come out right.
Toby * where are you its noisy.
Me * there’s a few of us out for dinner… we went to a soccer game at school tonight.
Toby * put me on speaker let me say hi.
Me * okay hang on
I put the phone onto speaker
Me * hey guys Toby wants to say hi.
Everyone * hi T
Toby *** hi guys… is my little sister behaving herself and more to the point does she have a guy yet?
Me * hey…
Rylan * we’re all looking after her and no she’s still single.
Toby * good did you get my e-mail Logan and Eric are driving me insane… mind you so is the rest of the damn platoon for that matter
Me * yes I got the e-mail and we took some shots tonight I’ll e mail when I get home.
Toby * okay hey guys I need to go see you all soon and Adam watch out for her okay.
Adam * always do dude
Toby * I need to talk to you Amber.
I took the phone off speaker and got up from the table.
Me * mom told me about your extension.
Toby * yeah well it’s the job… is Adam still going to Parris island.
Me * he leaves 2 days after we graduate.
Toby * he’ll be good Sis you know that… Now don’t forget to send me pictures especially some of your friends and I don’t mean the guys.
Me * okay… stay safe T… I love you.
Toby * love you to Sis.
He hung up. I looked at everyone sitting looking at me.
“Group hug” I managed to get out before the tears took over they were all up and round me including Joey and Jake before I’d finished the words. Joey again was on one side his body was firm and he was well. We all broke away and went to get our things to leave Jake held the door open for everyone to walk outside. I hugged Dawn and Rylan “see you at school in the morning”
“Yep, Night Amber” Ry slide his arm round Dawns waist and turned to his car Adam and Chelsea were making out against my truck again walked over to Jake and Joey,
“Watch this” I said and set the alarm off on the truck Adam and Chelsea jumped away from it like someone had lit a fire under them I started laughing “That’ll teach you for making out for the second time today on my truck” I shouted across the parking lot before turning back to Jake and Joey “Well nice to meet you guys… I’ll see you in the morning”
“Do we not get a hug” Joey asked his eyes were twinkling “I mean you’ve hugged all the others that were here”.
“Of course” I put my arms round Jake first and hugged him then turned to Joey
“I see how it is you like my brother more than me” he laughed
“NO… he was just closer” I said a little too fast …oh there was that dimple when he smiled “you still want a hug”
“Yes” he nodded. I put my arms round his neck and hugged him he put his arms round my waist and pulled me to him “we’ll have to do this more often” he whispered into my ear “Night Amber” he let go of me and walked away with his brother.
I smiled as I remembered the night before my alarm began to sound I was going to be late. I hauled myself out of bed and into the shower. I let the hot steaming water run all over me putting
my hands on the wall in front of me and took a deep breath. I was looking forward to seeing Joey at school I had never felt like this over a guy my stomach was in knots, I had only said a few words
to him but couldn’t get him off my mind. I got out of the shower and got dressed I pulled on my jeans and my blue hoodie with a cute black tank underneath, I grabbed my books and went
“Morning Mom” I said kissing her on the cheek
“Did you have a good night sweetie” she asked.
I nodded “Met a couple of new kids in school. They seem really nice then we grabbed some food and Toby called” She smiled from one side of her face to the other
“Good I’m glad he got to speak to you” I nodded “I spoke to Auntie Jean and I’m going to go up to their house for a few days from tonight”.
“Good you need to Mom” I picked up my bag and walked over to the coffee pot
“You can come with me if you like”
“Er… thanks but its ok. I have school and plans with Adam” I said quickly not wanting to be stuck with my Mom and Aunt when they started drinking.
“Okay” but offers there if you change your mind” I filled my travel mug with coffee and grabbed the keys to Toby’s truck from the hook by the door
“We’ll see… I’m off” I dropped another kiss on her cheek and walked out of the door. I opened my phone and called Adam.
Adam * Amber it’s too early.
Me * Do you need a ride in this morning.
Adam * no I have a free period this morning now let me sleep I’ll meet you at lunch.
He hung up, I drove to school knowing I’d be there early but I loved mornings like this, still warm enough to sit outside in total peace and quiet, I normally went and sat under this big oak tree and wrote in my journal. I pulled into the parking lot and got out, grabbing my back pack and headed for the tree and sat down I put my I-pod on and pulled out my journal and started to write, I was lost in the song and the writing when a shadow fell over me I looked up and saw Joey smiling at me I pulled out my headphones.
“Good morning” He smiled putting his backpack down next to mine “you’re early, mind if I sit with you”
“Feel free” I closed my journal and pushed it into my bag “I like getting here early sometimes”.
He sat down “And do what?”
“Nothing really, just my journal and listening to some music”.
He reached up and pulled a leaf from my hair “I liked your ring tone last night”.
“Oh the American Bad Ass one” I smiled “most of my friends have their own tone and that was my brother he’s a huge Kid Rock fan”
“Jake told me about him last night on the way home sounds like a good guy A Marine right”. I nodded
“He is… So how you enjoying our school then?”
“Its good… the people are really cool” he grinned “I enjoyed last night, do you guys do that after every game?”
“Yeah pretty much. The nice thing is everyone supports everyone else and we just get on”
“I noticed. Hey would you like to go to a movie or something tonight?... just me and you” he asked I noticed a slight pink tinge to his cheeks.
“Yeah okay” I was trying to contain the overwhelming feeling to jump up and down and scream and shout “I have to go to the pool after school for an hour, but after that I’m free”.
“Will you need to go home for anything?”
“Er... no I have everything with me. Did you bring your car?”
“No I rode in with Jake… but it’s going to be a problem if you rode in with someone” he looked round at the parking lot “I don’t see yours truck here”
“No I drove… that’s mine over there” I pointed at the black Tundra. Joey looked puzzled his eye brows knitted together making him look cuter if that was even possible
“That’s not the one you were in last night…” he said looking at me then looking back to the parking lot “That’s a really cool truck”.
“Oh thanks does that mines not mines not”.
“Hang on… I’m getting confused Lets go back to the beginning who’s was the red F150 last night?”
“Mine” I laughed
“So who’s is that one then?” he shook his head
“That’s my brothers… I look after it for him while he’s away”
“Okay I got it now” he sighed “I can wait for you after school if you don’t mind driving” He chewed his bottom lip as he looked at me.
“I don’t mind” I nodded “meet me at the pool… hey you could always do some laps while you wait” I laughed joking with him
“At the pool” he agreed “you want to go inside” he nodded to the school getting to his feet and dusting the dirt from his jeans he offered me his hands. I took them he pulled me too him for a couple of seconds he were the matter of an inch apart looking each other in the face I got shivers up my spine as he blinked slowly “You want me to carry your bag” I picked it up from the ground before I could answer and started toward the school I had to run to catch up with him, Jake was sitting on the wall smiling as we got closer.
Hey… why didn’t you come over as well ?” I asked
“I think my brother wanted you all to himself”.
The whole of that day at school I was on a total high and I don’t think I stopped smiling, at lunchtime Chelsea was waiting by my locker she waved when she saw me coming.
“Hi Amber have you seen Adam he’s not answering his phone” she looked anxious
“No sorry. I know he had a free period this morning and he did say he was meeting me for lunch but it doesn’t look like he’s here” Her face dropped.
“If you see him could you tell him I was looking for him”
“Sure and don’t let him get to you” she tried to give me a half smile as she walked away. I opened my locker door and looked at Adams photo “sometimes you can be a really pig” I muttered to it
“You do realize you’re talking to yourself right” I jumped as Joey walked over chuckling,
“The only way I get any sense half the time” I laughed
“So what you doing?”
“Just going for lunch it’s lunchtime…” I pointed out “But it looks like I’ve been stood up… you want to join me instead?”
“Sure” Joey waited while I closed my locker door and both of us walked to the cafeteria talking. Joey held the door open for me as my phone buzzed I looked at it.
New Message*** Adam***running late sorry***11.59am**
I groaned and started to send one back
***CALL ME… NOW***
I hit send and pushed my phone into my pocket. We got our food and tagged onto a table Joey opened his bottle of water
“There really is nothing going on with you and Adam right?” he asked his eyes intently staring at me
“No… god… No” I wrinkled up my nose “Like I told Jake last night he’s my best friend and surrogate brother rolled into one that’s it. I kissed him once when we were in 6th grade but it was so weird” I shuddered “We know it will never happen again, and he’s not my type”
“So what is your type then?” Joey grinned as my phone rang.
“Saved by the ringtone” I giggled answering it
Me * where the hell are you? Chelsea is walking around like someone stole here lollipop.
Adam * I’m sick and trying to avoid her… after you dropped us off last night she came on to me… big style. I think Jake was right about jail bait.
Me * I warned you about getting involved with a freshman… but you didn’t listen did you. You need to talk to her and set things straight, and bull are you sick.
Adam * fine I’ll talk to her and no I’m not sick
Me * get your ass to school and sort it you big chicken speak to you later
I hung up and looked at Joey “sorry about that”.
“Why Disturbia for Adams ringtone“ he asked.
“Because we always joked about him being a little disturbed” I shrugged
“So you want to see any movie in particular tonight”.
“No… I’m good with whatever you choose” I answered Joey reached across the table and ran his fingers over my arm.
“Cute bracelet” the goose bumps gave me away in and instant “you cold?” he asked with a grin.
“No … I’m…. well” oh god speech had failed me again for the second time. I was going to have to have a serious talk to my brain about its lapses when Joey was around, his grin got broader the heat rose as I blushed a four of the soccer team sat down with us.
“Hey what you two doing?” Marc asked eyeing both of us.
“Sorry” I got up “I need to go see you later okay“ I added looking at Joey.
“I’ll be there” he sat watching me as I walked away.
“Have you asked Amber out?” Marc turned to watch me leave
“Yeah she’s hot why” Joey smiled. “Don’t’ tell me one of you’ve dated her”
“No none of us have and I agree she’s hot, nice work… but watch out for her ex he’s a real nasty S.O.B.” Tony added.
“Does he come here” Joey frowned.
“No he graduated last year and I don’t think he’s ever gotten over her dumping him”. Marc added, Joey leaned back on his seat and looked round the four guys who’d all started to eat
I didn’t see Joey for the rest of the afternoon. I just went right to the pool at the end of school. I’d done about 10 laps when someone dove in to the lane next to me. I held on to the wall
and took off my goggles and looked over Joey was smiling at me the dimple more prominent than before.
“I thought I’d swim with you instead of just watching if that’s okay” thank god I was in the cool water it helped me contain the heat rising as he gave me a wink
“Sure it’s okay” I said trying to get rid of the sudden case of cotton mouth I’d gotten. My eyes fell to his solid arms and shoulders and my mind started to make pictures of what it would be like to have them wrapped around me. “You want to race?” was all that came out of my mouth he nodded.
“I like a challenge” He laughed “Go” he set off, his arms pulling him through the water a quick burst of speed but I caught up with him by the turn and reached the wall at the end of the lap
a full body length in front of him.
“Wow… you’re fast how many times do you come here a week?” he gasped.
“4 nights a week” I smiled
“And you’re not on the swim team” I shook my head.
“I do it cause my doctor told me to” I admitted he looked as if he wanted to say something to me I jumped in before he had the chance “you want to get some food before the movie?” he blinked a couple of times before the smile was back on his face.
“Yeah… I’m starving” we swam over to the steps he hauled himself out of the water with little effort considering he was as well built as he was.
“WOW” the words came out of my mouth before I realized. He was tanned from the summer his chest was firm and he had a 6 pack and the muscles each side of his waist went down in to a v below his shorts. He was smiling and offered me a hand out of the pool, I reached up and was on the side on my feet in a second.
“Wow yourself” he picked up my towel and wrapping it round my shoulders.
“I’ll go get ready see you in about 15 minutes” I smiled he nodded and watched me walk into the locker room.
I closed the door behind me and groaned. I was embarrassing myself without much effort at the moment. I showered and dressed and did my make up quickly. I checked my reflection one last time before I pulled open the door and went out into the hallway. There was no sign of Joey I sat down on the floor to wait for him. My phone buzzed with a voice mail.
*Hi Amber. It’s mom… not sure if you’re out of swimming yet, but I am heading up to Auntie Jeans in about 20 minutes and I’ll be back on Sunday evening. call if you want anything… love you honey.
I smiled and put my phone in my bag as the Boys locker room door opened and Joey walked out. I looked at him and shook my head “So Billy wasn’t lying when he said you took the longest to get ready”.
“Hey… I wanted to look good for you” he said winking at me as I stood up.
“Well you do look good” I added looking him over he was in a soccer shirt and Jeans “very cute”
“Thank you” he put his arm round my shoulder while we walked “now where are we going to eat, remember I’m pretty new round here still”
“I know somewhere” I pulled the truck keys from my bag and opened the doors we both got in he was running his hand over the dashboard
“This is one sweet truck it still smells new” he said closing his eyes and inhaling deeply “You say it’s your brothers”.
“Yep…” I shook my head at the boys and toys reaction he was having “It’s his little baby. The unfortunate thing is he only got it 4 weeks before he was deployed so he hasn’t really driven it” I smiled Joey looked at me
“When was the last time you actually got to see him cause you seem close… you and your brother”.
“T got 10 days compassionate leave last October so almost 12 months ago. I miss him a lot but it’s part of our family life and has been since before either of us were born.” I sighed “ My Dads coming up on his 25th years as a marine he was somewhere in South America when Toby was born, T just followed him in to the Corps right out of school”
“I’d love to meet them” Joey looked across at me.
“I’m sure you will one day… when they finally get brought home” I pulled up in the parking lot at a BBQ restaurant we walked inside. “Hey Dawn, I didn’t know you were working tonight” I poked her in the ribs before I hugged her, she grinned from ear to ear when she saw noticed Joey.
“Yeah they called me about an hour ago… but I get off at 7 so it’s not too bad… you guys want a booth?” she asked.
“Yeah that would be cool” Joey nodded putting a hand in the middle of my back as Dawn picked up two menus
“Okay follow me” she took us to the far side of the restaurant and waited for us to sit down before handing us the menus.
“How did you know this was one of my favorite places” Joey smirked looking up at the huge screen showing a soccer game behind me “I used to go to the one in Green Bay with my friends a lot”.
“Ahhh so you’re a Cheese head” I said pointing at him “Adam said you were from out of state”
“Yes you’ve found me out born and raised in the shadow of Lambeau field” he laughed. “But do you still like me even though I’m a packer fan”
“I suppose I can forgive you for that… we can’t help where we are born” I said as he reached for my hand over the table. The waitress came over to take our order and started trying to flirt with Joey. I recognized her as a junior at school on the dance team, she walked away swinging her hips but Joey hadn’t taken his eyes from me even when he was ordering “Amber can I ask you something?”
“Depends on what it is”
“I was told to watch out for your Ex”.
“Who told you that” I said sitting back in my seat and folding my hands in my lap.
“Billy… at lunch… just after you left. I don’t think he said it to be mean” Joey shrugged. I ran my hands through my damp hair and leaned on the table
“No… I know he didn’t” I sighed “But you do have a right to know… about it… I don’t hide it from anyone” Joey rested his chin on his hands “he really isn’t a nice guy… He was when we started
dating. I was a sophomore he was a junior, but when he became a senior he started to change. I think because he knew my brother wasn’t around anymore T had graduated and left for Parris Island and
boot camp” The waitress came back with our drinks still Joey never looked away from me. she walked away with a huff. I took a drink and played with the straw taking a deep breath “He started to not
like it when I spoke to my friends… male or female and he hated Adam with a passion for no reason. It started just by the odd mean comment or he would push me” I poked the ice in the soda with the
end of the straw “then it moved on to a slap and he…” I swallowed hard and heard the intake of breath from Joey “…he found he liked doing it it made him feel good bullying me”
“how long did it go on for?” Joey voice was soft and quiet I glanced up at him he had a serious expression on his face
“To long…” I half smiled and shook my head “but he threatened he would get his friends would hurt Adam or do worse to Dawn If I told anyone” the waitress came over with or food and handed Joey extra napkins he looked up and smiled a thank you at her then went straight back to looking at me. I waited until she left before carrying on “It came to a head one night last October… we were going out and ran into Rylan and Dawn and like you have seen we always hug each other we have done for years and that night was no different apart from… Rylan had his arm round my shoulder as we talked”.
“Yeah but that’s no big deal friends do that” Joey frowned
“That’s what normal people think but Greg thought there was something going on… so he made an excuse for us to leave and dragged me into an alley by my hair and started to punch and kick me” Joey closed his eyes and shook his head “…but he also took it a step further” I stood up and lifted the edge of my tank to so an inch long scar on my side “He had a knife”
“He stabbed you” Joey hissed staring at the scar, I nodded.
“Yeah, he stuck it in and then ran off leaving me bleeding in the alley… Rylan and Dawn found me about an hour later unconscious and battered in a pool of blood... Ry called 911 while Dawn called My Mom and Dad then Adam” I smiled as Dawn showed someone to the table next to ours. “If it wasn’t for them I might not be here” Joey leaned forward his face was white “The next thing I knew was I was on a hospital bed and it was 6 days later and in so much pain I wanted to die. I would of given up if hadn’t been for the fact my friends took it in turns to spend the night with me and Toby was allowed home”. I wiped the tear away from my cheek and smiled at Joey. “That’s about it you know the horrid tale of the last year of my life”.
He let out a big sigh “so this was this time last year” I nodded.
“It’s the reason why I swim a had a punctured lung and broken ribs and my left arm was plated and pinned the water helps rebuild the strength” I shrugged.
“So that’s why you said you do it because your doctor said so… What happened to the guy?” Joey asked
“Nothing… He denied everything and nobody witnessed it. He moved away to college, but he does come back every few weeks I have a restraining order against him, but also his Dad is the chief of police here”. Joey raised his eyebrows
“That’s wrong aren’t you scared”
“I avoid going to places I know he goes and I don’t go anywhere alone at night. I try not to let him run my life with fear” I looked at Joey “You still want to be here with me after learning all this”.
“It makes no difference at all. I’m glad I know” he smiled licking some sauce from his fingers the waitress hurried over and gave him another napkin, I shook my head smiling.
“It looks like you have an admirer” I nodded at her disappearing back
“What , who” he looked round
“The waitress she’s a junior at school and she just gave you her number” I grinned taking the napkin off the table and opening it. He took it from me and saw her name and number written on it.
“You got a pen” he asked, I dug into my purse and pulled one out and handed it to him he wrote a note
“Can I see” I smiled he handed it to me I read it –
Sorry Devin not interested I’m dating Amber
“So we’re dating then” I raised my eyebrows
“I know I want to see a lot more of you. I know I want you feel safe and I know I’m going to kiss you at some point tonight” he grinned and his green eyes twinkled my heart raced like it was going to pound out of my chest.
“I’m glad you know what you want am I going to know when this kiss is going to happen” I asked biting my lower lip
He shrugged “I might tell you but then I might just take you by surprise” Devin came over to take the plates he handed her the napkin and smiled at her “this is for you”
She broke out into a huge smile “thank you” she bounced away. He stood up and smiled
“You’re awful” I laughed
“No I’m just letting her know that’s all” he winked “I’m going to the bathroom then we can head to the movies” he bent down and kissed the top of my head “told you I was going to kiss you” he walked away I sat and shook my head smiling Dawn came over with a panicked look on her face.
“Where’s Joey?” she asked looking round
“Bathroom why what’s wrong?”
“You guys need to leave NOW… Greg just walked in with his idiot friends. I sat him down the other end of the restaurant but it’s not the largest place in the world” I put my head in my hands as Joey came back over.
“You ready to…………” he looked at me then at Dawn “What’s going on?”.
I looked at him “Greg just walked in”
“You guys really should leave now” stress showing in her voice as she pleaded. I handed Joey the keys to the truck
“I want you to leave before I do” I begged.
“No way… We’re walking out together… I won’t leave you on your own” he took my hand which was trembling I stood up and let him lead me toward the exit. I looked round as Joey opened the door Greg was standing staring at me a twisted smile playing on his lips. I froze to the spot
“Hey you ok?” Joey felt the resistance in my hand and took a step back into through the door he followed my eye line “Is that him” I just nodded “Amber look at me” he took me by the shoulders turning me to face him “I’m here with you. He won’t do anything because he’ll have to come through me first” Joey put his arm round me and lead me out to the parking lot and over to the truck. I got inside and closed my eyes memories of the night Greg tried to kill me running like a movie in my head I heard the door close and the engine start and felt the truck move away. I let out a huge sigh and slowly opened my eyes as Joey pulled over to the side of the street
“You look like you need a hug” he murmured all I could do was nodded he wrapped his arms round me and hugged to him. “You want to rain check the movies” his voice still quiet and soft
“As long as you don’t mind… I don’t think I’m in the mood for it anymore” I closed my eyes as he held me and I inhaled his scent “But I don’t want to go home yet either”
“I’m fine with it” he let go of me “I know where we can go” he put the truck in drive we headed to the edge of town pulling into the drive of a house I’d always liked since being little because of the tree house and the tire swing in the old oak tree in the front yard ‘Welcome to my house”
“I can’t believe you live here” he looked puzzled as he turned off the engine and we got “I used to dream about playing in this yard when I was little” I laughed
“How about sitting on the porch with a soccer player” Joey grinned offering me his hand.
Joey put his arm round me, I took advantage and snuggled up against him, he rubbed his hands up and down my arms “You’re chilly”
“A little… but this is warming me up ” I smiled looking up at him. He drew his finger down my cheek and under my chin, hesitating before he leaned forward and brushed his lips across mine. A tingle ran down my spine and my breath caught in my throat. I moved so I was level with him Joey put his hand on the back of my head bringing it to him too make the kiss deeper and longer. It took both of us by surprise I’d never felt safe enough with a guy on a date since Greg attacked me but there was something about Joey that chased away the fear. I moved away he pushed a strand of hair back behind my ear
“I told you I was going to kiss you” he smiled
“And that was some kiss” I said catching my breath he hugged me laughing as a car pulled into the driveway and Jake got out
“Hey… Did you two have a good night?” he asked sitting in the rocking chair
“Yes and No” I smiled “I think I’ll leave Joey to explain things to you” I got up “I’m going to head home night Jake”.
“Night Amber” Jake nodded, Joey got up and walked me over to Toby’s truck
“Call me when you get home please. And if you need anything I’ll have my phone on all night” he pulled me to him and kissed me
“I promise I’ll cal… I’ll see you in the morning” He watched me drive away I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face even if there was still the feeling of Terror in the pit of my stomach.
I walked through the front door locking it behind me and dropped my bag on the counter top reaching in to it for my phone and hit re-dial.
Joey * I take it your home.
Me * just got in and just remembered that Moms gone to her sisters for a few days
Joey * you’re there alone?, are you going to be ok?
The tone in his voice was filled with worry
Me* I’ll be fine… I’m going to keep my phone with me and If I need you I’ll call
Joey * okay… goodnight Amber.
Me* Night… see you in the morning.
I hung up smiling I grabbed a drink and went up to my room. My phone rang
Me * I thought we had said goodnight.
Joey * how about if I pick you up for school tomorrow?
Me * I’d like that.
Joey * you ok with motorcycles?
Me * sure… why?
Joey * Well I’m going to have to put mine away for the winter soon… but I was going to go to school on it tomorrow.
Me * I have a helmet in my closet.
Joey * awesome… okay night again… oh by the way text me your address
Me * I’ll do that as soon as you hang up
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