"So how far into the biography are you in?" Amber asked as she nursed a cup of hot chocolate in her cold hands.
"A few chapters in... it's a very interesting read, not really light reading but I like things that stimulate the mind. What were you doing when you got my text?" Cade asked, taking a sip of his ice tea.
"Honestly?" Amber said, thinking again, "I'd just woken up from another bad dream and was getting ready to go out somewhere... anywhere."
"Well, I'm glad I texted then," Cade smiled, "The last times I've met you, it's been late at night... I guess you don't sleep well then?"
"I don't usually sleep at all... I've been on sleep medication, y'know to help me get back into a pattern but my eyelids drop but my brain stays awake, it's the awake part that really gets to me. The part where I can't seem to shut off."
"I can't say I can relate I'm afraid and I'm sure you're pretty pissed at people telling you, "it'll be okay with time"- because who knows whether it will be. People usually say that when they have nothing better to say... which reminds me, I apologise about what I said to you yesterday at the restaurant, y'know when I was feeding you all that shit."
Amber shrugged, "It's fine. Sometimes I forget what people say or that I'm in conversation with them. Don't get me wrong... there's a part of me that's lost a part of me on the way and... I guess I'm always trying to find her. I've never been like this, I've always been the life and the soul of the party... I've never been this quiet..."
Cade reached out and touched her arm, he felt her flinch underneath his touch, "You don't have to justify yourself to me or anyone Amber."
"That's the point... no one understands what I've had to deal with... no one can understand how it feels. It's just in my nature now to justify everything."
"Okay, I understand," Cade said, removing his hand from her arm, "Would you like anything to eat?"
"I'm good, thank you," Amber smiled, "So, what have you got planned for the next couple of days?"
"It depends really," Cade replied.
"On what?" Amber looked thoughtfully at Cade.
"You," Cade's response hit home.
"Me? What have I got to do with anything?" Amber looked shell shocked.
"I'm taking a couple of days to see my parents, to surf..."
"You surf?" Amber spluttered.
Cade grinned, "Yeah, I don't surf as much as I'd like to, for the fact I live in London and the only surf around here is found in a bottle of laundry liquid, but I do. Why don't you come with?"
"Come with you? To meet your parents?" Amber said, shock registering all over her face.
Cade put his hands up, "Oh God no, you think me inviting you down to Cornwall is to introduce you to my parents, oh no... we're friends here Amber, entirely friends. Shoot! I should have made myself clear from the beginning... I always seem to presume people know what I'm talking about but... no, well... if you would like to come down, meet my folks... or y'know, get away... maybe even surf, you're more then welcome. It's completely up to you, no pressure, no nothing."
Amber looked him in the eyes, she must have startled him but she hadn't meant to. Even with Dan, he hadn't made any inclination to introduce her to his family, so this 'friendly proposal' had taken her by surprise. She was in two minds. Hadn't they established their friendship? Of course, he had been patient, a real gentleman, a complete contrast to how he had been when they had first met, but going down to Cornwall just didn't sit well with her right now. Maybe it was the spontaneity of the proposal, who knows, "I'll let you know."
Cade smiled, "No problem, no pressure like I said, okay? If you change your mind or just want to come down for the day, you only need to call Amber."
"Thanks Cade," she smiled, "When are you planning to set off?"
"Funnily enough, later on this morning," he smiled.
"Shit, shouldn't you be asleep now... or at home packing?" Amber said horrified looking at the coffee shop wall.
"Don't worry about it, I'll grab some winks when I get there," Cade smiled, "But thank you for worrying."
Amber blushed and looked away, was she worried? I guess you could say she was, "Were you born there?"
"No, I moved there with my parents when I was young... it's been home pretty much ever since," Cade offered.
"So, what is it that makes it home?" Amber sipped her hot chocolate.
"I can time travel back to being me... being a kid... there's no pretences y'know. I can be me and the people there know me, so I don't feel as if I have to put on an act," Cade said.
"And are you putting on an act?" Amber asked.
"I'd like to think not but I am with you," Cade looked her straight in the eye.
"With me? I don't understand," Amber frowned, "Have I done something wrong? I don't need your sympathies Cade..."
"I wasn't offering you my sympathies... I can tell you're afraid Amber but I can also see you fighting back each passing day, well if you can call the days that I've seen you anyway."
"So what do you mean... you're not putting on an act but you are with me, that doesn't make any sense?" Amber said leaning forward and clasping her hands together.
"Don't worry about it Amber... I'm not... I really ought to get back, can I walk you back home?"
"I think I'll stay here for a while, thank you for coming down," Amber stands up and gives Cade an awkward hug and he smiles.
"Let me know if you change your mind... if not, I'll see you when I get back, I hope," Cade smiles and walks out.
Shortly after Cade left Amber in the coffee shop, she'd stayed for an extra half hour before she decided to head home. Bizarrely enough, she couldn't quite get their conversation out of her head. Why didn't Cade want to answer her question? What act was he playing? And what did he mean? She smiled to herself, it was refreshing to know she was stressing over this little thing then be thinking about the overall picture. She shook herself out of her reverie and focused on the traffic below.
"Didn't you hear me Amber?" Millie said skipping in and noticing the hand carrier on the floor beside her bed, "What's this?"
Amber stood staring at the traffic below, "He's invited me down to Cornwall for a couple of days. Part of me wants to go because I've never been and the other half of me is holding back because, surely there's a protocol for this kind of thing. I'm indecisive as usual."
Millie sits on the edge of the bed, "How do you feel about him?"
Amber spun around, "What's that to do with anything?"
"Simple really. Do you like him or not?" Millie asked.
"The jury's still out on that one. I enjoy his company and he's a really easy person to talk to... "
"The jury's still out on that one. I enjoy his company and he's a really easy person to talk to... "
"You're a big girl, you should go for it!" encourages Millie.
"What if he turns out to be a complete and utter jerk?" Amber asks, "Like the rest of them."
"Hey! Liam's not a jerk!" Millie says in haste, "Besides, you haven't met all of man kind, so you can't comment on each and every one of them. It's just the ones you dated... and I hope Dan burns in hell for what he did to you. So, what's the verdict, you gonna go or what? I think it's a nice offer."
"Yeah, I thought so too. I'm just scared though Millie, what if he talks with his fists... or worse... he's an axe wielding murderer?" Amber says.
Millie shrugs Amber, "You just said he's an easy person to talk to Amber... why would he need to use his fists at all... maybe, y'know to kiss you or something along the lines of some hanky-panky but he doesn't look the violent type, but anyway... as you're obviously going, I ask you only to do one thing for me..."
"Anything," Amber waits.
"Just text or call every night to let me know everything is okay... that you're okay," Millie stands up.
"I'll do that," Amber replies, "Thanks Millie."
"Hey, do you want me to drive you to the train station?" Millie offered.
"That would be great, thanks Millie," Amber grabbed her bag and followed Millie out.
Amber and Millie hugged, "Thanks for dropping me off Millie, I'll call you when I get there and thanks... thanks for being such an awesome friend."
"You know I'm always here for you Amber, call me when you get there.. so I know you made it in one piece," Millie smiled and watched Amber board the train.
Amber looked at her watch, it read twenty to three, she had roughly four hours to kill before she would arrive there. Four hours! She was probably better off taking a plane but she wanted to savour the time before she saw Cade again. Cade... a man who had been occupying her thoughts of late. A man, she wanted to put all her baskets in but was afraid that he would turn out to be like the man she previously knew. She exhaled, taking a deep breathe and closed her eyes. She prayed she didn't wake to a nightmare... she prayed she didn't talk in her sleep and she prayed above all, that her heart wouldn't get broken this time and she wasn't opening herself up for more disappointment.
Amber woke with a start, the chairs beside her were vacated and as she turned around to see an elderly gentleman approach her, "Will you be staying or leaving miss?"
"I'm sorry, I must have dozed off... are we here?" Amber asked.
"Yes mam, we are in Cornwall... do you know where you'll be heading off to?" the gentleman asked.
"I'm going to give my friend a call, his family are here and well..." she fumbled into her bag for her phone.
"And who might your friend be miss?" Amber may have thought he was prying but he seemed like such a sweet man, she didn't have the heart to tell him to mind his own business.
"His name is Cade Brown-Evans..." Amber was babbling.
"Oh you must be talking about young Braiden..." the gentleman said.
"No his name is definitely Cade..." Amber repeated.
"Cade is his middle name, never really liked being called Braiden after his great grandfather and the scandal. Most likely why he left to go to London, probably didn't want that hanging over his head. He comes from a good honest family though, wealthy too... you can find him at Camelot," the man ventured.
"Camelot?" Amber asked confused.
"Camelot Castle, one of many properties his family own," the man chimed, "I'm passing by there, if you would like a lift?"
"That would be great, thank you." Amber asked intrigued.
Cade grabbed his board and dumped it in the back of his dad's truck. He had hung back from the rest of the guys to appreciate what he had been missing for quite some time now... the water. He missed the sounds of the water, the splashing of the water... he just missed seeing the amount of water, however daft that sounded. It was good to be back. He started up the engine and dumped his iPhone on the passenger seat beside him and made an exit on to the road.
He was barely on the road when his phone rang, it was Arthur, he put him on loud speaker;
"Hi Arthur, what's up?"
"Braiden," Arthur began, making Cade wince, he wanted to correct the man who had been working in the castle for more then twenty years, that he didn't like being called by his first name, "There is a young lady here to see you, her name is Amber..."
"Amber?!" Cade pushed on the pedal, "What's she doing there?"
"She was dropped off by Smith from the train station a little over an hour ago," Arthur replied.
"Is she okay?" concern could clearly be heard in Cade's voice.
"Perfect sir, she is with your mother in the coffee room," Arthur replied.
"My mother, oh hell!" Cade hit fifth gear. Not my mother.