"I'm sorry about Gideon, he's always been a bit impulsive with the ladies," Cade excused, "I don't think his brain cells relay with his mouth most of the time," he turned towards Amber who seemed fascinated with the sand then what was beside her, him. He stopped abruptly and watched as Amber carried on walking. "Amber." He said a lot louder.
She stopped and turned towards him, "Sorry, what?"
Cade marched towards her, he could feel her flinch beneath his touch, "Amber, is everything okay?"
She looked up at him, "I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?" He wasn't convinced. She was avoiding eye contact with him.
"You shocked us all, especially Gideon. I just wanted to make sure you were okay... y'know, no one is going to hurt you, not on my watch. I just want you to know that, that you're in safe hands with me."
"Thanks Cade," Amber managed to smile. She was about to utter something when she was pushed back towards the sand. She swiped her feet like a fan across the sand, forcing the attacker to fall on their bum in the sand. Amber hoisted herself to her feet and glared down at Lucy, "What is your problem?!"
"You fucking bitch! Who the hell do you think you are?! Keep your fucking paws to yourself!" Lucy yelled as she scrubbed the sand from her clothes.
"My hands have been to myself but why I need to justify myself to you is anyone's guess," Amber replied steely.
"Lucy that's enough!" Cade's voice was rising.
Lucy looked from Amber to Cade, her eyes widening.
"Why don't you save everyone the trouble and leave us be. Your presence is obviously making people uncomfortable. Again, there is no future for us... I don't know how many times, ways, I have to say it but I've moved on Lucy and you have to, too," Cade said gently.
Lucy scowled, "Fine, if that's how you feel. I hope she's worth it." She stomped off in a huff, leaving Cade and Amber standing in front of each other, bewildered by what just happened.
Cade turned towards Amber to see her staring at him peculiarly, "What?" he asked curiously.
"Nothing," Amber said shaking her head, "I'm sorry things turned out sour between the two of you."
"Don't be sorry, I'm not," Cade smiled, "However mean that sounds, it's not meant to be. We were on two different pages before she decided to cheat on me with one of my friends. It was the kick up the backside I needed to end it with her, it was a couple of months ago. I've moved on since then. It's all water under the bridge."
"And what have you moved on to?" Amber asked curiously. Why did she suddenly want... need... him to... and then he surprised her.
"You," he said simply.
"Me?" Amber halted and turned towards him, "Me?"
"Yes, you," Cade smiled back, he felt her flinch underneath his touch when he touched her arms, "I don't want you to feel scared or pressured... I just want you to be honest with me. I know you're only looking to get past one day at a time, I understand that..."
"What is it you're asking of me Cade?" Amber looked tentatively at him.
"I'm more then happy to live each day as it comes, as long as you're the one I get to share each day with Amber," Cade whispered.
"Cade there's so much you still don't know about me, about my past. I have so much baggage, I'd feel like that would be a constant block between us," Amber reasoned as they continued to walk, "I'm not easy, that didn't come out right. I'm just not your normal relationship person. I've been hurt before, both physically as well as mentally. I'm a broken person Cade. I don't trust easily... even coming down here was a big decision."
"And do you regret that decision?" Cade asked.
"No, I've had a whale of time," Amber said.
"Isn't that a good enough reason to maybe try this out... whatever this is...? I really like you Amber, more then you will know, that might sound juvenile to you, but that's how I feel. I don't think it would be appropriate to tell you how much this very minute but I do. Look, I don't want to force this upon you... like I said, I think you could do without the stress, pressure of it all. Think about it, let me know," Cade half smiled.
Cade was an idiot.
Shortly after his confession, things got awkward and Amber asked to leave. He dropped her off at Camelot Castle and watched her disappear up in the lift. When he returned home, he was greeted by Sandy his golden retriever who was as hyper as a pogo stick. He didn't fancy staying at home, grabbing her leash, he decided to take her out for a walk. Maybe the walk would allow him to mull things over before he faced another day in paradise.
Amber was a coward.
A coward with a capital 'C'. She ran when things got tough and she ran because this was new to her- the confession had definitely put a spanner into the works. The works being her complicated, sad life. Her battered and abused life. Her therapist had told her to take each day as it came, but if anything was worth the risk, to face it head on. Life was about making mistakes and learning from them. Was Cade a risk worth taking?
She'd been pacing up and down her bedroom, going through the motions. She had to admit, he was a breathe of fresh air- she hadn't thought about Dan at all in the last two days that she was here, another five and she was willing to be optimistic. She didn't want to consult Millie on this, Millie wasn't exactly forthcoming when it came to her romantic prospects but her friend was just looking out for her- like any best friend would. No, this decision had to be made herself. Amber changed into jeans and a jumper, put on sensible shoes and strolled out the hotel room. She didn't know what she was going to do, but she had an inkling. For the first time in a long time, she was going to throw caution to the winds.
The reception desk wasn't willing to divulge confidential information on the Brown-Evans, so she decided on a walk along the beach instead. It was dark outside and quite windy, all she could hear was the waves rolling in and joining the shore. The sound comforting, reassuring. She should have tied her hair up, if she'd known the wind was going to be this bad. She wondered what it would be like to live here. She'd always lived in cities, populated cities. Cornwall was scenic, beautiful and it's town's people friendly. There was a real sense of community here, give or take a few individuals.
Amber watched the moon's reflection on the water, shimmering like a thousand crystals and in the distance she could hear the sounds of a dog barking, she put it down to her rampant imagination. At times she would lose herself in it, because it was where she felt least threatened. The mind was an interesting thing and she knew above everyone else, it was a definitely complex organ. Her phone started ringing and she took it from the pocket of her jeans,
"Hello?" she said into the mouth piece. She could hear heavy breathing down the phone, "Hello? Is there anyone there?" The caller on the other end hung up.
Amber froze, clutching the phone in her hand. Her heartbeat accelerating. She knew she shouldn't jump to conclusions but she could only think the worst. It had to be him. Who else was it? She scrolled to the phone log, wanting to locate a number but it was withheld. All of a sudden she was at a sprint, running back to the hotel, she could feel the tears streaming down her face. Every scenario running through her head, what if he got an early release for good behaviour? What if he got parole? Her lawyer said he wouldn't be out in this lifetime... what if? She suddenly felt cold, numb and she was shivering in her shoes. Clearing her eyes of tears, she collided with someone and almost stifled a scream when she saw Cade standing in front of her. She had to get away, she bypassed him but his hold on her was unflinching.
Cade looked down into her eyes and saw her falling apart in front of him.
Her face was stricken with tears, her eyes puffy and red and she was literally shivering in his hands. He doubted it was from the cold but he felt like she was about to have an epileptic fit by the way she was convulsing in front of him. She tried to move away from him but his steely grip on her prevented her from moving from him.
"Amber?" he whispered softly, "What's wrong?"
She was stunned into silence and all he could do was take her in his arms and hold her, he could feel the tears cascading down her face as she sobbed her eyes out. Eventually, he ushered her back towards Camelot Castle but she was reluctant to be there on her own.
"Please Cade, please don't leave me alone... please," she pleaded with him.
Something tugged at his heart strings, could he deny this woman this one thing, of safety and security. He'd sworn already he would do everything in his care to make sure she felt that way and there was no way in hell, he was going back on his word.
"You better come with me then," he said and whistled to Sandy to follow.
Cade put the key in the lock and opened the door, the censor lights came on immediately cloaking them in light and he could clearly see how distraught she was. He walked from the door into the spacious living room and ushered her to the couch where she sat stiffly and wrapped a cashmere blanket around her. Sandy bounded in and lept onto the couch beside her, waggling her tail, her tongue lolling out as it inspected the new tenant. In silence he rushed over and made her a hot chocolate, she didn't drink brandy so prising her with some to keep her warm was out of the question. He handed her the mug and she took it slowly and took a sip. The sound of a phone ringing brought her back and she put the mug down on the coffee table and took the phone out and looked stunned at the screen.
Cade took the phone from her and answered the withheld number, there was silence on the other end. He hung up and set it on the coffee table. Immediately it started ringing again and he picked it up again. Again he hung up and diverted it to voice mail. He sat on the coffee table facing her, cupping her face in his hand, "You're safe here Amber, with me. I won't let nothing or no one hurt you, I promise," Cade said. It was a big gesture but he was prepared to go that far with her. Why couldn't she see it?
"You shouldn't make promises like that Braiden," she tried to smile despite how exhausted she looked.
"It's a promise I'm willing to make Amber," Cade said solemnly, "I wish you could understand that."
"This is why I don't want to be with you because you're going to get involved," Amber replied, the threat of tears ready to fall, "I can't have that."
"How do you feel about me, honestly?" Cade asked. He had to know, the question was killing him.
"I haven't been this happy in a long time... but it's not enough," Amber apologised.
"It's enough for now," Cade said as he leaned forward and kissed her forehead, "It's enough for now."