Amber was dreaming, but like everyone else who dreamt, she did not realise that she had tumbled down the rabbit hole….
‘She was standing alone in a semi-darkened room and mist surrounded her. A single window was positioned above her, allowing a little bit of light to stream down into the room.
“Hello?” she called out nervously, trying to see what lay ahead of her.
She took a few steps forward cautiously with her arms stretched out, not wanting to knock into anything when suddenly she bumped into something soft.
She looked down and gasped. The mist that enveloped the room earlier on began to dissipate to reveal the body of a battered man lying at her feet. He was chained in shackles and curled up like a cat.
Then to her horror, the man stirred. Amber tried to run but for some reason, her movements felt heavy, as if she was underwater. She could hardly move at all.
Help! She wanted to call out but her voice was stuck in her throat.
“Amber…” a dry, hoarse voice called out.
Amber froze, the voice was oddly familiar. Her eyes travelled down to the man’s bruised and bloodied face. The man looked at her.
It was her brother, Anson.’
Amber jolted up from her sleep, her heart still beating rapidly from the nightmare. The blazer which covered her chest earlier on fell onto the carpeted floor.
Where am I? she wondered, confused, a part of her mind still trapped in the darkened room where her brother lay.
“Hello there,” a voice, deep and seductive called out from beside her, startling Amber. She looked to her left and to her surprise, she came face to face with Fabian Williams. He had a bemused look on his face.
Her eyes widened in horror and she gasped, bringing her hand to her mouth as she realized what had happened. She had fallen asleep on her job! First the broken glass and now this! She was going to lose her job.
She jumped straight up to her feet and started to apologize, “I’m so sorry Mr Williams! I shouldn’t have fallen asleep!”
“Call me Fabian, ” he remained seated with an elbow propped up on the sofa and a hand supporting his head as he looked at her with a lazy smile.
“I’m so sorry Fabian!” she corrected herself, bowing down. Her hair flopped over her head.
‘’You snored,” he said simply.
“What?” her head shot up, her hair flipping backwards. I don’t snore! Anson never said anything about me snoring!
Fabian started to laugh. He was having fun pulling a prank on her.
“You went on like a train,” he roared with laughter.
Embarrassed, Amber quickly went to gather her heels only to be stopped by Fabian. He grabbed her hand, sending a tingling sensation throughout her body.
“I had you booked through the night,” he said, still chuckling. Amber looked down at his hand, they were big and warm. A part of her wished for him to keep holding onto her hand. It felt nice having someone like him close by.
“Cecil won’t be bothering us.” He had stopped laughing by now and a dark and intense look replaced his face.
At his words, her cheeks began to flush crimson red and Fabian took her shyness for discomfort. He let go of her hand, much to her disappointment.
“You may go now,” he said simply, startling her. She wished to tell him she wanted to stay, but she certainly could not do that. After all, HE was the customer.
She nodded, feeling dejected and fished for her heels again. Fabian’s dark and intense gaze following her every move as she bid him goodby and moved towards the door.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Amber.”
Tomorrow? Her heart skipped a beat. He wanted to see her again!
It was only much later when Fabian had left that she began to wonder if he said the exact same words to every woman he met.
Amber Banks, you’re just a waitress to him, nothing more, she berated herself even as she peered into the road leading to the entrance of La Fire for her brother. Anson was running late. He had promised to pick her up, it was nearing four in the morning and still, there was no sight of him. Most of her colleagues had already left for home, and the few who remained stood huddled together to keep warm.
Her nightmare from earlier on came back to haunt her, making her worry, Quickly she pulled out her old silver iPhone from her backpack. There were no missed calls from Anson.
Strange, that was unlike her brother. He was normally very responsible and would call her if he was running late or if he couldn’t make it. A gentle breeze blew in her face and Deja Vu washed over her every pore.
Please let him be okay, her hands trembled slightly as she dialled his number. Anson only picked it up on the tenth ring.
“Anson! Are you alright? Where are you?” she was practically shouting into her phone. Nearby, George, the bouncer looked up. She smiled sheepishly at him and moved a few feet away.
Laboured breathing could be heard at the other end of the line. Then a whimper. Something must have happened.
“Anson? Are you okay? Answer me please.”
There was a brief silence on the other side of the line as if Anson was struggling to find the right words.
“Anson?” Amber was exasperated now.
“Amber?” He had been crying. His voice was hoarse and dry, just like in her dream.
“Amber, please….save me.”
A pause. And finally, the revelation.
“I killed someone.”
The journey home for Amber was a daze. She had no idea how she managed to even make it back in one piece. What had Anson done? He normally couldn’t even hurt a fly! There must have been some kind of misunderstanding.Her hands trembled as she fumbled with the keys to the door. They jingled too much and she couldn’t fit the key into the lock.Damnit! Open!Frustrated, she kicked the door only to let out a little yelp.Calm down. I need to calm down.She took a deep breath and slowly inserted the key into the keyhole again, this time, it worked and the door creaked to an open.Although it was nearing dawn, the room was still quite dark and while the windows were left open, Anson had drawn the curtains to a close.“Anson?” Amber whispered, closing the door behind her. Then in the corner of their little room, right beneath the window sill, Amber saw her brother, huddled under the curtain that flap
The line sounded too cheesy to be a threat.“I know what your brother did.”“Excuse me?” Amber frowned into her phone. It sounded like a ripoff from the 1997 horror flick ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’. And because of that, Amber had trouble taking the call seriously at first.Until the caller said, “I can prove his innocence.”That sealed the deal for her. As much as she had tried to encourage Anson to turn himself in to the police, deep down, she had been filled with dread. The alleyway was a blindspot and all evidence pointed to Anson. There were witnesses from the first night when Anson had a heated verbal exchange with the man. And he had touched the knife with his bare hands for goodness sake!So when the mysterious caller dangled the key to freedom for her brother, of course she had to take it. But Amber was no fool, she knew there would be a catch.“Who is this?” she whis
A numbing icy wave washed over Amber upon hearing Liam’s words. They repulsed her. “What do you mean?” she asked, taking a cautious step back, bumping into the door from where they had entered earlier and shredding her palms with her clenched fingernails. Anson instinctively stepped in front of his sister, shielding her tiny frame with his own. His body language practically screamed, ‘Stay away from my sister!’. At this, Liam began to laugh as if Amber had just asked the funniest question. He laughed so hard he had to hold his sides and the siblings stood silently watching him rocking back and forth in his swivel chair, waiting for him to catch his breath. She took his laughter as a sign of him not lusting after her body; which in a way came as a huge relief. Even Anson started to relax a little. Perhaps Liam Smith wanted something menial, like a week of housekeeping perhaps? It was a naïve thought, but for a moment Amber truly thought all would be we
What have I gotten myself into? Amber wondered as she stared at her reflection. In the full-length mirror that hung from the crimson white walls of the dressing room stood a stranger. Is that me? She gaped, peering into the mirror and raised her right hand, waving it slightly. The redhead in the mirror waved back. She could not believe her eyes. Standing in front of her was a beautiful, elegant and sexy looking woman. She blinked, feeling a little like Cinderella. Except Cinderella had never been auctioned off dressed like this, she thought wryly before her reflection tugged at her attention once more. Her eyelashes had been curled up to bring focus to her emerald eyes and while her face had largely been kept to a bare minimum, it was clean and glowy with only a faint red tint to her lips. Her neck looked extra slender, and it was all due to the silken black kimono with gold butterflies that parted suggestively at her shoulde
Fabian Williams was furious. And rightly so. What the hell is she doing?! He had started the day with a blast - his company had successfully acquired the Silverware, a company from New York specializing in virtual reality systems. He even declined the offer to celebrate the victory with Elon Musk just so he could come to the La Fire Club to see her! Elon Musk! He had turned down the great Elon Musk just to find out that Amber Banks was auctioning herself off! Damn it! Has she gone mad?! Fabian stood in a darkened lounge lit with low lights on the first floor of the La Fire Club. The lounge was big as it was spacious, with plush armchairs sprawled around and scantily clad women serving drinks in sheer lacy kimonos. A few men were here, some of whom Fabian knew and some he did not bother to get to know. These men were here for one thing and one thing only. Sex. Fabian himself had been here before, he had even ‘purchased’ a few
Her fate was sealed. A man had offered six million for her body. Had it been a dream, she probably would have woken up laughing. Except that this was real. This was a living nightmare. Amber looked up from the maroon carpeted floor where she stood, shielding her emerald eyes from the glare of the spotlight with her hand only to see an enormous blackened mirror greeting her from the first floor. She quickly looked over at Cecil, biting her lips in anxiety. She could feel her heart beating furiously and it felt like it would burst from her chest at any given moment now. Please let it be Fabian Williams…she willed, ignoring the deafening cheers and applause that came from the all-around sound system. The room’s speaker system was connected to the lounge above and while she could not see any of the bidders, she could hear their every cheer and jeer. She did not like their voices, they all sounded like hyenas creeping in on their prey. Madam Cecil
Fabian Williams stood stoically in front of the door of the waiting room as Cecil chatted non stop. He was not listening to her, she could have been talking about the end times for all he knew, all he cared was taking Amber Banks away from the club. He had to make sure that she was safe.But will she be safe from me? he had to wonder. Two months was not a long time, neither was it a short one. He contemplated whether to put her up in a hotel room or to have her stay at his place.Or you could just send her home, his inner angel with a little halo on its head suggested, flapping its feathery wings. No one would know and you’d be doing her a favour.What?! And let that SIX MILLION go to waste? his little devil complete with horns a tail screamed, shaking its pitchfork in the air. She signed the bloody contract! She belongs to you now! Bring her home and shake her up in bed! Set her world on fire and *poof*, Fabian me
Anson leaned back against the wall where he was sitting, allowing the sheer curtains to flap at his dark auburn hair. Out the window, the moon shone bright like a big ball of night light. This was his favourite spot growing up, he would sit here to read and finish his homework while Amber helped out at the bakery downstairs. It was his go-to place whenever he felt scared and alone.But tonight, this spot provided him with no comfort and the soft touch of the curtains which he used to love gave him no solace. Tonight, he felt only fear, disappointment and anger. Fear of imprisonment, disappointment for not being able to prove his own innocence and anger for not being able to stop Liam Smith from blackmailing his sister.He tucked his face between his knees, hugging himself. He couldn’t just let his sister risk her life trying to steal some blueprint. What if she got caught? What if both of them ended up in prison? He had to do something!Anson did not tell