19 July 2012

Amber's Advocate

Chapter Fourteen


     "I can't believe you persuaded me to put this drivel on," Cade grinned as he stole a glance at his girlfriend who was currently singing to N'Sync in the car.

      "Y'know you secretly love them... everyone does, they're my guilty pleasure," Amber smiled.

      "Next thing you'll be telling me is you're Miley Cyrus' number one fan!" Cade quipped, then saw the seriousness written all over Amber's face, "You gotta be kidding me?  Miley?!"

Amber held the serious face for as long as she could and then laughed, "You're so gullible Cade... eeurgh, I have standards you know!"

      "I would never have guessed," Cade said, edging the car forward slowly. He was rewarded with a smack on his arm.  And as if reading her mind, he leaned forward and kissed her.  She kissed him back and then there was a barrage of honking behind them,
      "Give a guy a break-" he whispered and sped down the motor way. 

They got to London a few hours later, Cade pulled up near the pavement and helped her with her hand carry as they both got out of the car.  The weather was warm and sunny. Cade set her bag by the stairs of the town house and peered down at her.  God, she was beautiful he thought. 
       "Thank you for such an amazing time Braiden," Amber smiled cheekily
       He touched her nose with the tip of his finger, "You really ought to stop calling me that, but I'll let you off on this occasion if you do me one thing?"
        "And what's the thing?" Amber asked amused.
        "That you give me a kiss and have dinner with me tonight," Cade said as he leaned forward.
        "That's two things Cade, my, you're getting very greedy now," Amber giggled.
        "I only feel greedy, when it comes to you," Cade replied, giving her a quick peck on the lips, "Let me know how you feel about dinner tonight, I know it's been a pretty crazy couple of days. I've gotta get to work right now to do something but I'll call you later."
         And with that, he disappeared into his car.

Amber walked through the door and immediately froze, she squinted at the sound of barking and as if someone flicked a switch, the dog stopped barking.  
       "So you found Shadow then?" Millie smiled from the lounge.
       "Shadow?" Amber asked as she sat beside Millie, the dog now sitting at their feet, "He's a bit too white to be called Shadow, no?"
       "Yeah, that's what I liked about him.  He looks all soft and cuddly, but he's apparently got a fierce bite," Millie put her laptop to the side, "Listen Amber, don't be alarmed okay, the last thing I want to do is worry you..."
       "Millie, I'm a big girl... I can handle it, just tell me what's going on."
       "There have been a few attempted break-in's, nothing too serious but y'know with Liam being away, he didn't want to take any precautions with us, so that's why Shadow will be a permanent fixture here.  He's a trained specialist."
      "Oh, so this dog knows how to wield a gun and protect us then?" Amber said, feeling vulnerable.
      "No, he can't do that but he has been trained to the highest level. He knows who our friends are, from our foes.  He's a trained security guard dog. I'll have to teach you the commands, they're very straight forward... I think there is a sheet lying around somewhere.  So enough about me, dish..." 
      Amber smiled to herself.
      "Stop being so coy, tell me!" Millie said, pinching her.
      "Oww!" Amber yelped as she caressed her pinched arm, "Okay, okay, I'll tell you!"
      "Don't leave anything out... I want the details!" Millie said clapping her hands in excitement. 

      Cade was hunched over his computer in the office, he was still technically on holiday but what was meant to be a twenty minute job had turned out to be a four hour stint.   Maybe the job actually was a twenty minute thing but his mind kept wondering elsewhere.  Elsewhere, was images of Amber in a wet suit, of her curled up on his couch in Cornwall, a blanket they shared on the beach under the stellar sky by camp fire.  She was taking up residence in his head.  No wonder, he felt distracted, not that he was wishing it any other way.  Hell no! He really liked her, which reminded him to give her a call.  He picked up his mobile and called, she picked up on the second ring and he heard the excitement in her voice, which only added to how he was already feeling about her.
        "You calling about dinner, I presume," she asked.
        "Yes and to say hello," he smiled into the receiver, "Have you thought much about joining me for dinner?"
        "As a matter of fact, I have," Amber replied.
        "So, what's the verdict?" Cade asked, "Hey, what's that noise in the background, you got a dog or something?"
        "Yes, that's Shadow... he's been brought in because there have been some attempted break ins here."
        "Break ins... do the police know?" Cade asked, gathering his stuff together.
        "Yes, they do but it's being taken care of... Liam's beefed up security and Shadow has been brought in," Amber's tone had turned down a notch.
        "Are you worried, about the break ins?" Cade tentatively asked.
        "To some degree yes," Amber replied, "So, what time are you picking me up for dinner?"
        "How about seven thirty, that okay with you?"
        "Sounds perfect, see you then Cade," Amber said and hung up. 
         Cade walked into the town house, he was greeted by Millie and a very large white dog.
        "You've got a great house here," he said.
        "Thanks, I think so too.  Millie's going to be a few minutes," Millie said walking ahead, "Would you like anything to drink? You can come into the kitchen if you want?"
        "Thanks," muttered Cade following her past the lounge and into the kitchen.
        "I'm sure Amber's told you about what happened to her and you know as a friend that I worry about her and the company she keeps..."
        "I won't hurt her if that's what you mean," Cade said.
        "That's what they all say, they won't hurt her... but they do in the end..." Millie said.
         Cade was about to respond when Amber strode in, "This is really uncalled for Millie, I told you already, I'm a big girl I can handle myself."
        "I don't want you to be hurt, banged up and bruised," Millie stated, "I can't help but worry about you."
        "I would never hurt her, never hurt her physically or in any other form... I care too much for her to ever risk something as stupid as losing my temper or using my fists, men who use their fists on women are bastards.  And if I ever get a hold of that bastard who hurt you, not only am I going to give him a taste of his medicine, I'm going to kill him!" Cade said, "You have my word."
         Cade watched as Amber stepped back a look of horror on her face, "No Cade, please don't."
         Millie looked at Amber, "Amber calm down, it's going to be okay."
         "I don't want violence anymore... I won't have it... if this is ever going to work out, I don't want to talk about violence or that it has to be the focus of everything... I just want to move on from that point in my life okay? I don't want it to overrule who I am, so the both of you just please stop talking as if I'm some fragile little thing," Amber spoke abruptly.
         Cade and Millie simultaneously murmured, "I'm sorry."
         "Apology accepted," she smiled, "I'd really like it if you two could get along." She hugged Millie and tugged Cade towards the door.

         Cade opened the door to his flat and ushered Amber in, she paused in the hallway to look at the vinyl records on his wall.
          "Why do you have framed vinyl records on your wall?" Amber said peering at them closely.
          "Because I love good music," he offered as he looked at them.
          "I love good music too," Amber replied.
          "N'Sync and Backstreet Boys? I don't think I have any of those up here," he mimicked, "I put them up here because these are first editions, much like you get first edition books... I like first edition vinyl."
          "Hey! Don't knock BSB and N'Sync okay?" Amber giggled, "Besides is this for show off purposes or what?"
          Cade paused recalling a memory, "When I was growing up in Cornwall, my grand mother introduced me to the fifties, sixties and seventies music... you could say that was a big introduction into the music hall of fame.  I loved just sitting in the living room with her, listening to the golden oldies and her talking to me about her life.  This is mostly reminds me of her, when she died she left me her entire collection.  Some of it is worth thousands of pounds but I don't have the heart to sell it off, they're too precious."
         "Oh, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to come across as assuming..." Amber felt an apology bubble to the surface.
         "Don't worry about it, come on, come and see the rest of the flat," Cade ushered her in.
         Cade's flat was nothing like the town house, it was messy, male and somehow strangely comfortable, all under one roof.  He had a flat screen above the mantel piece with a stack of DVDs just below.  A simple iPod speaker stand.  A black couch with several throws in a multitude of colours flung over it, an antique armchair that looked misplaced but fit perfectly with all the modern amenities. 
        "Would you like anything to drink?" Cade asked and noticed Amber shiver, "Why don't you take a seat and I'll make you a hot chocolate."  He put a cashmere blanket around her and disappeared into the kitchen to make her a hot chocolate. 
          Amber could hear the kettle and the sounds of the spoons against the mug.  She closed her eyes for a moment and leaned back.  God, she was dog tired.  He wouldn't mind it if she slept a little.  Closing her eyes and leaned sideways and fell asleep as soon as her head hit the cushion.


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