by D. A. Price
Continuation of Amber's Destiny
They pulled up to their apartment complex and unloaded the car feeling relieved that the five hour trip was over. Amber had been thoughtful during the trip, and Robin did not push her to talk. She had been trying to remember anything about Joey while they were younger but could not think of one thing. He had called her cell a number of times while they were gone and had left messages every time. She took her bag to her bedroom and decided that she would listen to what he called about as Robin checked the land line. Amber had shut her door so she did not see Robin smirk as she heard Joey’s voice. She wrote down the number thinking that she would call him herself and invite him to dinner or something. Robin folded the piece of paper and stuck it in her pocket as Amber walked into the room.
She sat down on the couch and turned the television on; they had managed not to watch any while they were at Angela’s. Amber automatically started searching for a movie as Robin went into her room dialing the number she wrote down from the answering machine. Joey did not answer, so she dialed Michael’s number instead and talked to him. He was coming home Wednesday and Robin could not wait. She walked back into the living room smiling after talking to him.
“How is Michael?” Amber asked as Robin sat down.
“He is fine.” Robin took the coke that Amber had placed on the table next to her chair. “He is coming home on Wednesday. I invited him to go with us to the Museum on Saturday.”
“I thought you would have.” Amber stood up as she looked at the clock. “I think it is time for me to go to bed. I had fun this weekend.”
“Me, too.” Robin watched her as she went.
Robin’s phone beeped as she got a text message from her brother, and she laughed to herself as she read it. It seemed that Angela and Cameron had a plan, so she would not need to call Joey after all. She sent a text back and then turned everything off to go bed herself after she checked her email. It had been a long day.
Amber had an early class so she was up before seven the next morning. She fixed a bowl a cereal and watched the morning news before she got up to take her shower. When she came out of the shower Robin was up and dressed in her ECSU sweat clothes. “Good Morning.”
Grabbing her books, Amber waved as she headed out the door. Maybe she could concentrate better this week than last. She hoped so anyway as she started her Mountaineer. It did not take her long to get to the campus which was slightly more alive this week. Walking to her class; her phone rang, and she stopped to answer it without checking to see who it was.
“Hello.” She mumbled as she juggled her books. “Joey?”
“You are a hard person to get in contact with.” Joey talked from the other end grateful that he at last was talking to her. “My leave is up next week and I just wanted to see if you were doing anything this weekend.”
“Actually, I am.” Amber answered. “My sister and her husband are coming up for a visit.”
“Sounds like you are a very busy person.” Joey sounded a little disappointed. “What about dinner sometime during the week. We are old friends, you know.”
“I just found that out when we were looking at my mother’s albums.” Amber had walked up to her class. “How about we meet you at Grammy’s on Tuesday?”
“Sounds good. What time?” Joey was writing everything down.
“About six?” Amber asked.
“I’ll be there.” Joey told her bye as she was hanging up to go into her class, turning her cell phone off.
“I cannot believe I just did that.” Amber thought as she sat down, and Angela was not here to cover for her. She could not think of one reason to cancel the dinner with Joey.
She called Robin after her class was over and told her what she had done. Robin agreed to go with her so Amber would not back out of it as she smiled on her end of the line. After they hung up, Robin sent a text to her brother. The first step had been taken even if Amber was thinking that it was just a friendly get together.
Cameron looked at the text Robin had sent him and decided he would have lunch at home with Angela. He pulled up into the driveway as he watched Angela pull up a dead flower and started whistling. Angela looked up with a triumphant look on her face as the root had finally come out as Cameron walked over to her and helped his wife up. “I have something for you to read.” He said as he wiped the dirt off her face. Pulling his phone out, he pulled up his sister’s text and handed it to her. He watched as a smile came over her face.
“He does remember us.” Angela smiled at Cameron.
“You do remember going on double dates with him and whatever her name was, don’t you?” Cameron asked his wife curiously.
“Not really. My mind was on you.” Angela said as she swiped at the dirt on her jeans. “How is it that no matter what Amber does, she can always stay clean and I can’t?”
“Maybe you are a dirt magnet,” Cameron laughed as they went inside to grab some lunch.
Amber and Robin pulled up at her grandmother’s house a little before six on Tuesday, and they both saw that Joey’s motorcycle was already there.
Robin watched Amber’s mouth twitch while she got out of the passenger side and pushed her as she walked up from behind. “What’s the problem?” Robin asked her as she wanted to laugh. “You said yourself that this is just a friendly get together.”
“I just remembered I have a paper that I am supposed to write.” Amber stepped back as she looked at her friend. “I really do not need to be pushed.”
Robin moved her hand away as she saw Grammy come to the door. “It is too late to run away now.”
“I wasn’t. . .” Amber spotted her grandmother and smiled as she walked up to hug her. “Grammy’s house is a safe place.” She thought to herself.
They walked inside as Joey came out of one of the rooms with paint splattered on his t-shirt, stopping as he looked at Amber.
Robin had finally remembered him from all his visits to her house to hang out with her brother. “Cameron says to tell you hello.”
“I will have to visit with him, soon.” Joey said as he turned his attention back to Amber. “You still don’t remember me, do you?”
“No, I am afraid I don’t.” Amber said as she sat down on the couch; noticing that Grammy had her videos out.
“Then you need to watch this.” Grammy had finally put the television set back in the liv-ing room and turned it on as everyone took a seat. “This is your sixth birthday party.”
They watched the video watching as a younger Joey played with the twins before the cake was served. Six year old Amber picked up her piece and smeared it all over Joey’s face after he had placed a worm on her shoulder.
They were all laughing, even Amber as they watched the video until the childhood ver-sion of Joey turned and kissed her square on the mouth sharing the icing as he did. The camera zoomed up on Amber’s face showing pink and purple icing on her face.
Amber had turned a deep crimson as she watched. “Oh, my goodness.”
Joey smiled as Robin and Granny laughed. “I remember that,” Joey said as he glanced over at Amber. “You did not speak to me for a week.”
Granny watched her granddaughter; noticing her change of color as she informed her. “That was your first kiss.”
Amber stood up. “That was a childhood prank. When are we going to eat?”
“As soon as you young ladies set the table.” Grammy noticed the amused look on Robin’s face as Robin glanced over at Joey.
The conversation at the table was relatively easy as the meal progressed, and they had their share of laughter as Grammy talked about some of the antics that the twins had pulled as children. Amber could not remember some of them, and she laughed with the others.
After the meal was over, Amber stood up and started to clear the dishes as her grandmother told her to go have a seat. She cocked her head at Joey as Robin realized what Grammy was trying to do. She went into the kitchen to help wash dishes as Joey sat down with Amber.
Amber looked over at him while she asked what he did in the Coast Guard.
“I am the Weather Man. I watch the radar while the cutters and helicopters go out and have fun.”
“A Weather Man?” Amber grinned. “I have never seen a ‘weather man’ look like. . ." She stopped as she thought about what she was about to say.
“They say I swim too slow.” Joey was joking with her, “And I get sea sick.”
“Why the Coast Guard then?” Amber studied him curiously.
“My father,” He answered her with sadness in his voice as Grammy and Robin came back into the room. They stayed for about thirty more minutes before Amber thought about her paper again.
Joey wrote down his email address and gave to Amber before they left. Robin smiled as she saw the way he looked at her friend.
“Well?” Robin asked her as they pulled out of the driveway.
“I think he will make a good friend.” Amber looked out the window wondering why he had been sad when he had spoken about his father.
“What if he wants more than that?” Robin asked her curiously.
“That is all I am offering,” Amber looked at Robin then. “I do not want a relationship.”
Robin did not say anything else in the fifteen minutes it took them to get back to the apartments. She would have her say though after she saw how Saturday went at the museum. Cameron had sent an email that morning saying that Joey had accepted his invitation to meet them at the museum and had agreed not mention anything about it to Amber. Robin was also determined to find out just how deep that rule of Amber’s went. The feeling she had about it not being about Diabetes or guys from other cities nagged at her. There was something else that Amber was not telling anybody, even her sister.
Walking into the apartment, Amber grabbed her books and went straight into her bedroom as Robin watched her. Amber mumbled that she needed to get some work done as she shut her bedroom door and Robin went over to check the answering machine as she shook her head.
Michael had called saying that he had gotten in earlier than planned and Robin automatically started dialing his number as she walked over the refrigerator. It was only eight o clock, and if he was not too tired, she would ride over and see him.
Robin knocked on Amber’s door and peeked in. “Michael got in early so I am going to go and visit. Do you need anything while I am out?”
Amber looked up from computer. “Not that I know of; have fun.” She turned her attention back to her paper hating the fact that she had put it off until it was due. She had done the research, but had not written one word towards the actual paper and that was not like her. She disliked procrastination with a passion.
Amber worked straight for three hours until she was finally happy with what she had typed and started to print it while she looked down at the first page that had printed; realizing that the printer was out of ink. She looked angrily at the printer like it was its fault, knowing that she had not replaced the cartridge after she used the last one she had. There was no way she could get more ink before she had to turn the paper in; the stores did not open until after her class had started. “Dumb luck.”
“What’s dumb luck?” Robin had come into the apartment quietly in case Amber was as-leep.
“I’m out of ink and the stores don’t open until late.” Amber was aggravated at herself for overlooking any detail.
“Don’t I have the same printer?” Robin asked her.
“Yeah,” Amber answered as she looked up, her eyes were tired from the strain of look-ing at the computer monitor.
“Problem solved then, I have extra ink.” Robin told her as she added. “I don’t use my printer as much as you do.”
“You are a life saver,” Amber felt relief wash over her as she watched Robin leave to go to her room to get the ink.
Robin smiled as she handed her the ink and then sat down on Amber’s bed.
Amber started printing out her paper as she turned to Robin. “Thank you. How was Michael?”
“A little better than before he left,” Robin answered. “But he is glad to be back.” She thought of something then. “You don’t have classes on Wednesdays, do you?”
“Tomorrow is Wednesday?” Amber looked at her calendar. “How did I get a day ahead of schedule?”
“Maybe your mind is somewhere else.” Robin said as she got up to go to her own bed-room. “I, on the other hand, have an early class; so I guess I will bid you good night . . . better make that good morning.” She added as she looked at Amber’s clock and walked out the door.
Amber watched as Robin shut her door and lay down on her bed as she looked at the ceiling wondering just where her mind was at. Sitting back up, she looked at her computer and then took the folded up piece of paper out of her jean pocket. Studying the writing as she stood up, Amber folded it back up and laid it on her desk as she grabbed a clean t-shirt to sleep in. It had been a week since the terrorist attacks and a lot had happened since. It had been a long week.
Robin had already left when Amber woke up the next morning. Throwing on her sweat clothes after she ate breakfast; Amber headed off to the campus gym before doing her errands. She never thought about anything in particular as everything was jumbled up in mind. Her thoughts settled back to when she was in high school as she was listening to Pat Benetar on her IPod.
She had been on one date and sometimes she would wake up with a sweat as she would have a nightmare about it. Both her parents had approved of the boy before they left and Amber had evidently had a false sense of security. The boy had turned into something out of a horror story as he would not take his hands off of her even when she repeatedly told him no. It had started off innocently enough, but turned bad quickly after he had talked her into going somewhere private. Amber had managed to tear away from him, running very quickly into a public place. She could not remember how she got home, but she did remember the rip in her shirt.
She shivered as she came out of her thoughts and got off the stationary bike. Grabbing her sports bag, Amber headed out to her Mountaineer to go back to the apartment to take her shower. She did not even notice that Robin had been waving at her.
Robin went over to Amber’s SUV and knocked on the driver’s side window, watching as Amber jumped. Amber rolled down the window as she swiped at her eyes.
“Your cell is off.” Robin told her as she looked at her worriedly. “And Angela is worried.”
“About what?” Amber asked as she came out of her thoughts.
“Where to start,” Robin stared out towards the campus as she watched Michael walk their way. “You didn’t call her this morning and she is feeling sick. . . “
“She’s pregnant, isn’t she suppose to feel sick?” Amber felt angry and she could not figure out why. “Hello, Michael.”
“Hi,” He glanced at the two of them; deciding he needed to leave them alone. “I will wait for over at your car.” Michael told Robin as he walked away after glancing at Amber.
Robin smiled as she watched him and then turned back towards Amber. “Whatever it is that is bothering you needs to come out.” She was very serious, “Right now you should probably call your sister though.”
“I didn’t bring my cell.” Amber started to sound more like herself, “And there is something I have to deal with . . . later.”
“I have two perfectly good ears.” Robin glanced at the shaking hands on the steering wheel. “What are you doing for the rest of the day?”
“Computer store and laundry,” Amber said as she started the engine.
“My last class is over at three.” Robin informed her. “We can talk then.”
“That’s fine.” Amber said as Robin started to walk off.
Before she went to take her shower, Amber called her sister frowning as she read her meter. Angela answered as she poured her some apple juice. They talked for a while as Amber was able to convince her sister that she was fine.
Amber smiled as she headed for the mall to buy ink for the printers and she stopped in front of JC Penny’s looking at the racks of shirts. She decided to look closer and ended up buying a complete outfit, including a pair of boots without even thinking about it. Feeling better, she decided it was to time to take care of her laundry.
Robin was there as she came back from the laundry mat carrying in her basket of clean clothes.
“Feeling better?” Robin asked as she saw her.
“A little. Why?” Amber asked as she took the basket into her bedroom to put up her clothes as Robin followed her.
“Because I have some questions and I might want some answers.” She sat down on the bed as she noticed the new clothes lying on the bed. “Like why you don’t want a relationship. I know you dated quite a bit in high school.”
“Once,” Amber was hanging up a sweater as she looked over at Robin sadly. “One date.”
“But I heard you accept all of those dates when I was over at your house.” Robin was confused.
“I accepted them but. . .” She was still not sure that she wanted to share her secret with Robin but decided it best to get everything off her chest. Every little detail spilled out. “You remember that rumor that went around at school about how ‘loose’ I was?”
“I didn’t believe it.” Robin told her as she listened to every word that Amber had said.
Amber smiled as she finally told someone her secret. “I am glad you didn’t because it was not true. The boys believed it, that was why they called like they did.” She grimaced as she remembered it like it was yesterday. “I managed to convince Angela to go on those dates.”
“How did you do that?”
“You would be amazed at how many headaches a person could have.” Amber picked up the new outfit and took a second look at it. “What was I thinking?”
“Maybe you want to impress somebody.” Robin looked at her with another question in her eyes. “So you are still. . .” She paused looking for the right word, “innocent?”
“You could say it like that.” Amber tried on her new boots as she answered her looking down at them instead of at Robin.
“What about Joey?”
“What about him?” Amber asked as she finally glanced at her.
Robin stood up as she watched Amber take the boots back off, “That is what I asked.”
“I will think about it.” Amber heard her stomach growl as Robin glanced at her angrily.
“You skipped lunch, didn’t you?”
“I really can’t remember,” She honestly couldn’t as another growl made itself heard.
“Dang it, Amber!” Robin went into the kitchen and started fixing supper throwing together a snack for her friend in the meantime. She knew that it had been a very emotional day for Amber so she decided to skip the lecture this time. There was a knock on the door as she was setting the table; she had forgotten that she had invited Michael over for dinner.
Amber had finished her snack and walked towards the door as Robin sat another plate on the table. Michael was at the door with flowers in his hands for Robin as she greeted him. “Hello, Michael.”
“I am glad to see you in a better mood.” Michael had become like a brother to her as his relationship with Robin developed. He kissed her on the cheek as she moved to let him in. He saw Robin smile over at him as she saw the flowers. “There was a guy outside on a motorcycle asking if you lived here.”
“Really?” Amber asked him as he walked over to Robin to hand her the flowers.
“Really. I did not know what to tell him, so I said that I would check.” Michael had seen the look that passed between the girls. “Do you know him?”
“What did he look like?” Robin quizzed her boyfriend.
“Tall, built, tanned, and I think there was a hint of paint on his jacket.” He answered her as he turned away from Amber and winked at Robin.
“How?” Amber had not told him where she lived.
“Maybe Grammy gave him your address.” Robin took another plate out as she told Michael to go invite Joey in. “Don’t start panicking; he is a friend of your family.”
Michael did not have to go far; he had walked with Joey up to the door and told him to wait while he went in to see if she was there. He walked back into the door with the surprise guest as he watched Amber start to withdraw into herself. He wondered if Joey could have been the reason for her mood this morning but did not ask.
During supper he watched the way that Joey had looked at Amber as he drew her out into conversation. Michael looked at Robin questionably as the meal progressed growing puzzled by the way Amber acted.
Robin had Michael help her with the dishes so Joey could spend some time with Amber as she was watching them.
“Why are you acting like a mother hen all of a sudden?” Michael asked Robin as they loaded the dishwasher.
“Do you see the way that Amber is acting?”
“Like there is a brick wall around her.” Michael answered as he put her arms around her.
“There is a good reason for that.” Robin answered him not offering any other information. “If he does not back off a little bit, he is going to be history before he ever goes out with her.”
“Want me to talk to him?”
“I will talk to him.” Robin looked over at Michael and smiled as she kissed him. “Do you mind if we stay in tonight?”
“No,” Michael looked back over at the other couple. “I figured that was going to happen.”
When Robin sat down on the couch with Michael, Joey looked at her. “Grammy showed me the rest of that video that we were watching yesterday.” He was smiling as he looked over at Amber. “The part I did not remember was Angela giving me a black eye because I kissed you.”
“She did?” Amber smiled for the first time since he had showed up, “Served you right.”
Joey stood up as he looked at the clock, “I guess I had better go. It was nice seeing you, Amber.”
Robin stood up to walk him out as Michael started talking to Amber.
Joey looked down at her as she continued to walk with him. “Grammy gave me the address.”
“I figured that.” Robin looked at him seriously. “I just thought that I would give you some advice.”
“What kind of advice?” Joey asked while glancing over at her with a puzzled expression as he sat down on his motorcycle.
“Take it real slow with her, Joey” Robin did not want to see Amber build the wall any taller around her than she had. “Do not ask me any questions, because that is all I have a right to tell you.”
He sat staring at the apartment as Robin made her way back to the door before he brought the bike to life. Joey had already sensed the wall and thought that maybe she had been burnt by one of the many guys that she had dated in high school.
After Michael had left, and Amber went to bed, Robin wrote an email to Angela and Cameron. She told them everything except for what Amber had told her earlier, but she did ask Angela if she remembered the name of Amber’s first date. After signing off, she went to the bed; trying to remember herself. She had become friends with the twins during their middle school years.
The rest of the week flew by as the girls were both busy with their classes and working out in the gym. Before they knew it, it was Friday, and Amber was fidgety as she waited for her sister to arrive. She had already decided to tell her what she admitted to Robin just a couple of days ago. It was time for her to let the past go. She knew there was still more she needed to tell for that to happen, and it had bugged her as she kept that from Robin; only telling her part of the story.
Robin watched her as she was on the phone with Michael going over their plans for the next day and knew there was something else on her friends mind. Amber looked over at the door and smiled as she heard the familiar knock on the door. She threw open the door and hugged her sister as Cameron smiled.
He had the information in his pocket that Robin had asked about and, as the sisters talked; he handed her the sheet that Angela had written. Watching her read the name; he saw her face harden as she crumpled up the sheet and looked back at him.
Amber looked at all of them and asked them to sit down so she could tell them all what was on her mind. As she spoke she watched as Angela grew angry, and Cameron’s hands had balled up into fists.
“There’s more.” Amber added as she looked at Robin. “While you,” She looked at Cameron. “While you were there and looking after both of us, I didn’t worry about anything. After you graduated, he started messing with me in the halls.” She had tears in her eyes as she remembered; trying to will herself to tell them the rest of her story. Amber paced the floor as she took a deep breath and continued. “He never left me alone, so I finally went to the principal’s office. They started watching him and gathered enough evidence to expel him from school.”
Angela was crying for her sister as everything was said, and she heard Amber take a deep breath as her complete secret was finally out in the open.
“That son of a. . .” Cameron stood up as he looked over at his sister-in-law. “Joey was there watching over you as much as I did.” He looked over at his wife, “You didn’t know any of this?”
“No, our lockers were not even on the same floor; let alone the same hall.” Angela admitted. “I remember the headaches and going on the dates.” She looked up angrily, “If I had known I would have taken care of it.”
“Joey was there?” Amber asked Cameron as she wiped the last of tears away from her face.
“He was the skinny kid that was always with me.” Cameron looked back at her, “He was watching you cheerlead on the sidelines during the last football game and that was why his arm was broken.”
“I don’t remember.” She finally sat down next to Angela.
Cameron laughed, “I do. I was watching your sister. I believe you, Amber, were the top of the pyramid.” He looked back at Angela and Robin. “Joey had a serious crush on Amber.”
Robin glanced at her brother when he said that, “Then why didn’t he ask her out then?”
“She was too popular with the guys.” He heard Amber groan.
Angela hugged her sister as she said sadly, “We know better now. I wish you had said something when that was happening.”
“And have mom and dad find out?” Amber asked her seriously. “That probably would have made the situation worse at school.” It was late as they finished talking. Feeling better about herself; Amber excused herself to go to bed.
Angela, Cameron, and Robin looked at each other after Amber had shut the door.