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.
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 flapped gently in the morning breeze.
He was rocking himself back and forth, still holding onto his phone. He did not answer her.
“Anson?” Amber inched forward, not wanting to frighten her brother. He was like a man possessed, and kept mumbling something under his breath.
She finally reached him and crouched down on one knee. “Anson?” she called out again, softly this time, reaching out a hand and placing it ever so gently on his shoulder.
This time, her brother looked up. His eyes were bloodshot and swollen from crying. His face was bruised too.
Her heart broke at the sight of him. She had never seen Anson so frightened before.
“Amber….” The sight of his sister finally brought him out of his trance. He threw his arms around her and started to cry, his tears of fear and confusion flowing freely like a stream. He had only cried once in front of her and that was when their parents died.
“I didn’t mean it…We were just fighting…I didn’t even stab him….but when I woke up he was dead..” he choked in between heaving and sobbing. He wasn’t making any sense to Amber.
Who’s dead?! Where?! When?! Why?! A barrage of questions flooded her mind. She wanted to shake him senseless and scream at him for having done such an inhumane thing but she remained quiet, allowing him to cry and calm down before she opened her mouth to speak. She needed to hear his side of the story first.
Anson cried for a long time and it was only after the sun had risen high in the sky that he finally stopped. The siblings sat next to each other, with Amber stroking her brother’s head as he sat staring at the barren wall which lay opposite them. Amber had pulled back the curtains to allow sunlight to shine into the room. Their heads which protruded slightly above the windowsill cast a shadow against the wall.
“It was the tattooed guy with the gold chain,” Anson finally spoke. He had a distant look on his face as if he was reliving the moment.
No….it was the man who had assaulted her previously. She looked at her brother, her eyebrows knitting together, “Why?”
Then Anson told her his story……
“I arrived earlier at the club earlier, you know, just in case anyone bothered you. There was a bouncer at the entrance but he was busy playing with his phone. I drank too much before coming and had to pee. I didn’t feel like going into the club, they wouldn’t have let me in anyway, so I went to the back alley. It was a blindspot and no one would be able to see me, so I thought I’d release myself there.
I was done and about to leave when I bumped into him, he was drunk and had probably come to pee or puke. I don’t know..but when I tried to leave he started making all those derogatory remarks about you. The things he said…..they were downright demeaning and vulgar. I couldn’t take it. I lost my cool and shoved him in the chest.
He pushed back and we started fighting. Then he pulled out this swiss army knife from his back pocket and started attacking me. I must have stumbled backwards or something because the next thing I knew, I was on the ground lying next to him.
He was lying face down and the knife…it was plunged into his back. I thought that maybe he was alive and tried to pull out the knife. But then I heard a police siren nearby and…and I freaked out. I ran as fast as I could back home. I didn’t know what else to do…” Anson’s lips trembled and he ran his hands through his hair.
Amber hadn’t noticed it before but his hands were stained with blood. The dead man’s blood.
“Oh God…” she took his hand and cradled them in hers. His hands were icy cold.
“We have to call the police,” she whispered. They had to, it was the only way. The right thing to do.
Anson looked at her, terrified, “They’ll lock me up. My prints were on the knife!”
Her heart was beating furiously now, “But you didn’t kill him. It could have been an accident.” She racked her brain, trying to think clearly.
“Anson, I believe in you. But we have to go to the police. If you didn’t do it, they will clear your name.”
“I didn’t do it!” he yelled in frustration, starting to cry again. “I don’t know why he was dead!”
She let go of his hands and grabbed his face, forcing his emerald eyes to look into hers, “I believe you. We need to go and clear your name. NOW. Before it’s too late.”
His breathing was laboured but he understood. He nodded. Amber never lied to him. He trusted his sister with his life.
It took them a good twenty minutes for Anson to scrub off the caked blood and change into a fresh set of clothes. He had broken down twice at the sight of the blood during the scrubbing. Amber had to keep encouraging him, even though deep down, she was scared shitless herself.
They were about to leave for the police station when her phone rang. It was from an unknown number, but she answered it anyway. Had she chosen to ignore the phone call that particular morning, the lives of the Banks siblings would have turned out very differently. But she did, and because of that single phone call, Amber Banks and her brother truly tumbled down the rabbit hole into a living nightmare.
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
Fabian almost laughed.Just what is she trying to do? The redhead had the silliest smile on her face, it was amusingly goofy. She looked like she was trying to pull off a constipated Kardashian look.Still, with his outstretched arm, he pulled Amber out of the car seat and at that moment, he looked down at her feet and saw her torn sneakers - one of her toes sticking out. He’d witness women wearing torn jeans, they were a fashion statement, but torn sneakers? That was a first.She must really be strapped for cash, he thought, making a mental note to get her a new set of footwear in the morning.“Come,” he threw the backpack back at her and she caught it with her hands as though it was a football. He motioned for her to follow him to his front door and as she did, he pressed the button on his car remote – the front lawn parted to reveal an underground hangar.Amber jumped slightly in surprise and bumped into his back at the sight of the