“Hey!” Harlow smacked me playfully. “There will be no puking on me today mister!” The car was filled with laughter and we settled into easy sibling camaraderie. The girls teased me and I gave it right back. We happily strolled through the Pier, just enjoying each other’s company. I really was having a great time with my sisters but it was a struggle to keep my mind off Amber. When we all settled down to eat lunch, they all stared at me in silence.
“What??” I couldn’t stand the looks.
“What’s her name?” Harlow asked.
“What’s who’s name?” I countered. In sync, all four of my sisters rolled their eyes.
“The girl that has you all torn up, dude. Seriously? You wanna play the dodge game with us?” Allegra shook her head, crossing her arms under her breasts. Sighing deeply, I put my cheeseburger down.
“Her name is Amber. I met her a few months ago.”
“And?” Raven rolled her hand, prompting me to continue. Running my fingers through my hair, I slumped back in my seat.
“And I’m in love with her, whether I want to be or not.” Four jaws dropped as my sisters gaped at me. Allegra put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed.
“Why don’t you tell us about her, sweetie. Maybe we can help with whatever’s bothering you.” I relayed the events of the last several weeks and how I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I laid it all out, feeling the oppressive weight of indecision lifting from me.
“Oh honey, don’t let Mom and Dad keep you from experiencing what could be the best thing to ever happen to you,” Raven said. “You aren’t them. None of us are. If you really love this girl, then you have to go after her. Do you really want to look back years from now feeling nothing but the pains of regret that you didn’t at least try?”
“When did you get so smart, Rave?” I grinned. “Thanks girls. You know I love you right?” They surrounded me with hugs and kisses. I made plans for my next move on the way home. I was coming for Amber and I wouldn’t stop until she was mine. Leaning back against the seat, I plugged in my iPod and played my favorite Hammerfall songs. Yeah, I had become a huge fan because…dude…they are badass!
“OMG!” Raven exclaimed. She pushed on my shoulders, shaking the crap out of me. “You guys have got to see this!” We had just pulled into the driveway. She plugged into the SUV’s Bluetooth and a familiar voice sounded over the speakers. I’d recognize that voice anywhere. It was the voice of my angel, Amber. We all crowded around Raven’s phone to watch the video that accompanied the song.
There she was, in all her fiery glory singing her heart out to an old 80’s tune and she was killing it! “Damn this girl is good!” Allegra said. “She’s so tiny!”
“Ridiculously adorable!” Calista agreed. I was smiling like a goof watching my girl perform at a stop light. She literally brought traffic to a halt and looked damn sexy doing it.
“That’s her,” I said. “That’s my girl.”
“Awww!” my sisters responded collectively.
Brock and Amber were now practically inseparable. Even at Aaron’s birthday party, she had clung to him. And he was not complaining one bit. If he could make her feel safe again with his presence, holding her and spending time with her, I’d let him do it for the rest of his life. Their close knit group watched the changes in Amber and worried for her just as I did. I was so thankful my baby had such a wonderful group of friends. She was becoming withdrawn and couldn’t seem to bear being far from Brock. I felt helpless and a mother should never feel that way.
I hadn’t told her that I was working tirelessly with Detective Frazier to make sure that bastard Tristan was put away for good. I spent countless hours speaking with the mothers of the other girls he’d raped and beaten. How had he gotten away with this?! Those poor girls. My heart was broken for them and for their mamas who had to watch their babies suffer. I was watching mine go through the same thing. I just thank God she wasn’t raped. She didn’t need to lose her only parent to a murder rap, even if it was justified.
I was having a really hard time coming to terms that someone had hurt my child so badly. I didn’t worry so much when she was with Brock because I knew that sweet boy would die before he let any harm come to her. But I’ll be damned if I was going to take him away from her. I bent so many of my hard and fast rules so he could be with her as much as possible. I let him move in with us temporarily until Amber was through this trauma. I even let him sleep in the same bed with her to keep her from having nightmares. I’m sorry but when it comes to my daughter, there’s nothing I won’t do to make sure she’s all right. Y’all can say what you want but this is my child. Besides, I was pretty sure Brock was in love with my girl. Just as sure as I was she was in love with him.
I did my breaking down alone. I often left Amber in Brock’s care and would take off on a drive if it got to be too much for me. I didn’t want my angel worrying about anything but getting better. This was one of those days. My sweet little mama always helped with wise words and pouring all the love she could in me through the phone. I really missed her, especially in times like this. But she kept me strong so I could be strong for Amber. We were going to get that little rat prick and I was going to make sure he suffered ten times what my daughter has.