The next morning, after Liam had snuck out
of my window, I went to the kitchen to see
Jake sitting there chatting to my mom.
“Good morning,” I chirped happily.
My mom looked at me a little shocked. “What are
you so happy about this morning?” she asked, smiling.
I grinned and suppressed a giggle; I couldn’t very
well tell her that my hottie of a boyfriend had just given me a
very good reason to be smiling before he climbed back out
of my window. So instead, I just shrugged. “Why not?” I
countered, looking anywhere but Jake. He probably knew
the exact reason for my happy, satisfied face. “So, Jake,
anything you want to tell me?” I teased, sitting down next to
He shook his head, looking confused. “No. Should
there be?” he asked, raising an eyebrow suspiciously.
“You, crushing on my best friend perhaps?” I
suggested, nudging him with my shoulder gently.
He gasped and spilt a spoonful of cereal onto the
kitchen counter; he composed himself quickly and smirked
at me. “I’m not crushing on your best friend. That’s your job,
remember?” he said sarcastically. I couldn’t help but laugh,
him being all defensive wasn’t helping his case, if he felt
nothing for her then he would have just gone along with it or
made some slutty comment.
“Yeah OK. Whatever you say, Jake. I’ve got my eye
on you. Just don’t hurt her,” I stated, grabbing a bowl and
making some cereal.
Liam walked through the door, and I would imagine
that if my face looked like his, then that’s probably why my
mom was asking what I was so happy about. He was
grinning from ear to ear. “Morning,” he greeted, giving Jake
one of those cheesy fist punches on the way past.
“Good morning, Liam. Breakfast?” my mom offered,
holding up some bread.
He nodded, smiling gratefully. “Sure, Margaret,
that’d be great.” He wrapped his arms around me from
behind. “Hey, Angel. I missed you last night,” he purred.
I heard my mom ‘aww’ quietly and I tried not to laugh.
“Oh you did, huh?” I said, slapping his hand as he moved it
down between my legs under the counter.
He laughed and moved to stand next to me.
“Absolutely I did. I liked sleeping in with you the other night.
Maybe your mom will let me sleep in with you from now on,”
he said, looking at my mom hopefully.
“Don’t push it, Liam,” she replied, rolling her eyes.
He laughed. “Hey, it was worth a shot!” he stated,
brushing my hair behind my ears and looking at her a little
“You always were cheeky,” my mom muttered,
smiling as she put three slices of toast in front of him.
“I was just asking Jake about him crushing on Kate,”
I told Liam, wanting to change the subject from my sex life
and him sleeping in my bed. I’d spoken to Liam about Jake
and Kate last night. He said that he hadn’t noticed anything,
but he was going to watch him today for me.
“You’re not crushing on a sixteen year old, are you
Jake? What the hell kind of eighteen year old would even
look at a sixteen year old that way?” Liam asked with fake
shock, using Jakes words from a couple of weeks ago.
Jake glared at him warningly. “Ha ha. You two are
hilarious,” he grumbled, shaking his head as he walked off
to get dressed.
When we pulled into the parking lot at
school, there was a crowd of people
hovering around Johnny’s car. He was
standing there awkwardly, looking really
uncomfortable while the boys talked to him
about his car and the girls flirted
shamelessly, trying to get him into the back
of it by the looks of it. Jessica, as usual,
was at the front.
“Wow, we really have some sluts at this school!” I
whispered to Liam.
He nodded, looking unimpressed. “Yep.”
“Maybe you should go and help him. He looks really
uncomfortable,” I suggested, looking at Liam pleadingly.
He sighed and rolled his eyes at me. “Why must you
be so damn nice all the time?” he asked, kissing me gently
before walking off in the direction of Johnny’s car. I watched
him wave his hand in a buzz off gesture, making half of the
boys walk off immediately. He threw his arm around
Johnny’s shoulder, grinning as he guided him away from
the crowd towards the school, while Johnny looked at him
gratefully. I smiled to myself; I really did have the most
adorable boyfriend in the world.
Kate skipped over to me. “Where’s your hot ass of a
brother?” she asked. Jake cleared his throat behind her.
She turned and grinned at him. “Sorry, I should have said,
hot ass of a stepbrother,” she corrected, winking at him.
His face dropped slightly but he quickly put on a
smirk. “Finally realised I’m not interested but you’re still
trying to get in with the family, huh?” he teased.
She laughed. “Something like that. Maybe I’ve just
gone off of blonds, or maybe you’ve lost your mojo,” she
countered, smirking back at him. I almost choked on my
laughter. Jake loved the chase I could tell, he’d never
wanted anyone he couldn’t have before and I honestly think
he wanted Kate now just because she wasn’t interested. I
dragged her in through the doors and spotted Liam and
Johnny chatting against his locker.
“Hey,” I greeted, smiling as I wrapped my arm
around Liam’s waist.
“Hey, Amber. How are you today?” Johnny asked
“I’m excellent. You?” I asked trying not to laugh as
Liam’s hand slipped down the back of my jeans, rubbing
his hand over my ass softly.
“I’m good.” He nodded in agreement. Kate was
smiling at him seductively next to me.
“I was just telling Johnny about Ice Hockey,” Liam
interjected, squeezing my ass gently. I smiled sweetly at
him as I elbowed him in the ribs. Damn pervert boy! He
pulled his hand out of my jeans chuckling to himself.
“Yeah, I’m going to come to the game on Friday. You
think I could sit with you?” Johnny asked, looking at me
“You can sit with me if you want to,” Kate offered,
licking her lips slowly as she looked him over.
He blushed and smiled at her timidly. “Thanks. I’d
like that,” he agreed quietly.
“Come on then, let’s get to class,” I suggested,
rolling my eyes. Those two were so going to get it on,
because by the look on Kate’s face she wasn’t stopping
until he was hers, and he seemed to like her too. I turned to
walk off but stopped as I spotted Jessica walking up to me
with a hateful expression on her face. She practically threw
a brown envelope into my hands as she glared at me.
“I still think you cheated, but people say that it’s only
fair that you get the money, so there it is, Emo bitch,” she
Holy crap! Did she just give me over four thousand
dollars? I actually won the money?
Kate stepped closer to me. “Jessica, you better
back the hell off before I make you,” she spat angrily.
I smiled happily. “It’s OK, Kate, there’s no problem.
Thanks for this, Jessica,” I said, waving the envelope
“Make sure you don’t lose it,” she stated with a smirk
on her face.
I had no doubt in my mind that she had some sort of
plan that probably involved me dropping this money down a
drain or setting fire to it somehow. Suddenly, I had a great
idea that would seriously piss her off. I grinned happily as I
turned to Liam. I stepped up close to him as I shoved the
money down the front of his jeans, pushing my whole hand
down there too. Liam grunted and looked at me, shocked.
“Look after that for me, boyfriend. I’ll get it out later,” I
purred suggestively, as I pulled him down to kiss me. I
heard people cheer and clap, guys calling things like ‘oh
yeah’ and ‘nice’. I smiled against his lips and pulled back. I
glanced over in time to see Jessica storm off in the
I burst out laughing; Liam grabbed me and kissed
me again, lifting me off of my feet. The bell rang and people
started heading off to their classes. I lingered behind with
Liam, not wanting to break the kiss. I can’t believe I won
four thousand dollars! What the hell can I buy with that?
He put me back down on my feet gently a huge grin
on his face. “That was so funny, her face was a picture,” he
“Your face was a picture,” I countered, flicking his
“Yeah well, I wasn’t expecting you to push money
into my pants like some kind of stripper.” He grinned and
shook his head amused. “So, what are you going to spend
your money on then, Angel?” he asked, as he pulled the
envelope out of his jeans and handed it to me.
I shrugged, grinning. “I have no idea. What shall we
buy? It’s half yours.”
“I don’t need anything, I already have everything I
could ever want right here,” he said, gripping his hands on
“My ass, that’s all you want?” I asked, laughing.
He grinned. “Technically, it’s my ass now, right?” He
smirked at me before kissing my neck.
“For now,” I teased as I pulled away. I fanned myself
with the envelope. “Now that I’ve got what I want, I’m just not
sure there’s anything in this relationship for me anymore.”
He laughed and rolled his eyes at me as he
wrapped his arm around my waist. “Come on, I’ll walk you
to class,” he suggested, leading us down the corridor.
I held the envelope out to Liam. “Will you look after
this for me? I don’t really trust myself with it, I’ll probably lose
it.” I winced at the thought of losing all that money.
He smiled and took it, folding it in half and slipping it
into his inside jacket pocket. “And what if I lose it?” he
I smiled as we reached my class; I pulled him in
close, crushing my body against his. “Then you’ll just have
to pay me in kind,” I breathed, pecking his lips and walking
off into my class quickly.
Jessica glared at me as I walked in and sat down
next to Kate and Johnny in the seat they had saved for me.
Lucky for me, my teacher was late too otherwise my
tardiness would have earned me a detention.
The next month passed really quickly. Liam
was still the most adorable boyfriend in the
world, taking me out on dates and buying
me flowers and chocolates. Jake was still
overprotective as usual, nothing would ever
change there. My mom went back to work
but was due home again in two weeks
because she had to stay on for some
launch of a new product or something. Kate
was still flirting her butt off with Johnny -
much to Jake’s disgust. Liam told me that
he’d spoken to Jake about her, apparently,
he didn’t want to be with Kate, he just didn’t
like the fact that she was falling all over
someone else when she used to be into
him. He felt a little left out apparently. So, to
rectify the problem he slept with a few extra
girls and made himself feel a lot better.
Our relationship with Johnny had changed a lot too.
He was actually a really close friend of mine now; he was
such a nice guy and seemed to be growing in confidence
every day. I think maybe that had something to do with
Kate’s influence. They had been out together a couple of
times, and Kate told me that he’d kissed her last night
which she was positively glowing about. She actually really
liked him, and I think he liked her too, which was sweet.
Johnny had been coming to watch the Friday hockey
games with us and for the last two weeks, he had even
come to our ‘after game party’ for a couple of hours after
too. We never spoke about my father, he never asked me
anything about him and I didn’t bring him up. Occasionally,
he would mention him in passing, something to do with his
life or home and every time it would make me feel sick and
Today was Sunday and I was going with Johnny to
watch him in a skateboarding competition. When he pulled
up just after lunch time, I kissed Liam goodbye and giggled
at his pouty face. “Stop pouting, Liam. I’ll be back in a
couple of hours,” I said, laughing.
He sighed dramatically. “But why can’t I come?
Sundays are my days,” he grumbled, frowning.
I smiled. “Liam, I told you, he could only get one
guest pass. He asked me to go with him! Stop whining. I’ll
see you later,” I instructed, kissing him again as I stood up.
“Love you,” I vowed as I grabbed my keys and cellphone.
“Love you more, Angel,” he called as I opened the
door and ran to the car.
“Hey,” Johnny greeted, smiling, as I got into his shiny
little sports car.
“Hey. You already psyched and ready for the
competition?” I asked, grinning.
He nodded. “Yeah, I’m a bit nervous though. The
new trick that I’ve been practicing keeps going wrong. I’m
gonna look like such a dick if I fall on my face,” he groaned,
“You won’t fall on your face, Johnny. Have some
confidence,” I replied sternly.
He smiled and rolled his eyes, driving us to the
skate park where they had set up a huge half pipe ramp
thing. Johnny had been trying to teach me a few things
about skating but to be honest, like most things sporty, it
just went in one ear and out of the other. If it wasn’t dancing,
then I just wasn’t really that interested.
Usually I liked to watch Liam play, but that was only
to perv on him in his uniform. The ramp they had set up was
absolutely huge. I felt a little sick when I looked at it. It was
so high, at least fifteen foot high on each side. “Um Johnny,
are you sure about this?” I asked, as we walked up to the
signing in booth. Johnny handed over our competitor
passes and we were given yellow wrist bands and waved
“Amber, I’ll be fine, don’t worry.” He laughed as he
dragged me over to the skater area where people were
hanging around waiting to go on and practice.
“Shit, Johnny, it’s so high! What if you get hurt?” I
asked, swallowing the lump in my throat.
“Hey, cut that out right now. You told me in the car to
have some confidence, I expect you to do that same,” he
said grinning at me. Jeez, I had confidence, but that would
hurt if he fell from there! We sat there watching the other
skaters have their turns. The tricks that they were doing
blew my mind, somersaults, handstands, everything that
you could think of.
The whole time I just felt worse and worse. I wasn’t
even sure if I could watch him do it. After about an hour,
Johnny was called up to go and get ready, and my heart
started trying to break out of my chest.
“Oh God. Please be careful,” I begged.
“I’ll try. But if I die, you can have my car,” he replied,
winking at me.
“Only if I can re-spray it pink,” I joked, trying not to
show him I was terrified. He laughed and walked off quickly
to the area to warm up for a few minutes.
When it was finally his turn, I couldn’t breathe. I
watched him climb the stairs to the top of the platform and
position at the end with the board tipped up waiting to go.
He smiled down at me and I tried to smile back - I’m pretty
sure my expression looked more like a grimace though.
The whistle blew, and he tipped off. I squeezed my eyes
shut, listening to the people clap and cheer, but I didn’t want
to see. I knew that the minute I opened my eyes, he’d fall
and break his neck.
After an hour, well, it felt like an hour anyway, it was
probably only about a minute, people were clapping like
crazy so I chanced opening my eyes. Johnny was walking
down the stairs, no broken bones, no blood. I jumped up
and clapped along with everyone else, deciding to pretend
I’d watched. Next time I’d have to tell him I couldn’t come. I
just wasted his spare ticket by not even watching it.
He jogged over and hugged me tight. “That was
awesome!” I chirped enthusiastically.
He laughed and shook his head. “Yeah? Did it look
good through your eyelids?” he asked, laughing harder.
I looked at him apologetically. “I’m so sorry! I couldn’t
watch it, Johnny. I felt so sick. I was so scared, I just
couldn’t,” I said apologetically.
He shook his head. “Don’t apologise, it’s fine. I
landed it though,” he boasted, grinning wildly.
I nodded. “I know, I heard people cheering,” I said a
little sheepishly. I felt incredibly guilty. He’d brought me here
to watch and give him support and I couldn't even do that. I
guess I was a useless stepsister.
We sat back down and he gave me a play by play of
everything that I’d missed while we waited for the scores
and stuff to be counted. Johnny was one of the last to go on,
so we didn’t have to wait too long before the results were
announced. When the guy walked on the stage I gripped his
hand nervously, praying he had been scored well.
“OK, so we had some excellent tricks today. The
judges were very impressed, so congratulations,” the guy
stated on the little platform. “Right so, in reverse order.
Coming in third place with a score of forty-four points out of
fifty, is…. Johnny Brice,” he called.
I squealed and jumped on him excitedly as he
laughed. “Oh God, Johnny, that’s awesome! I’m so proud of
you,” I enthused, almost crying.
He grinned. “Thanks, Amber. I’d better go get my
trophy.” He nodded at the stage. I stood there cheering and
clapping like an idiot while he went up and got his little
silver trophy. He ran back and hugged me spinning me in a
“Johnny, that’s so good. Let me see it.” I practically
snatched it out of his hands and looked at the little silver
trophy with a little man on a skateboard.
“I’m really pleased with forty-four points. That’s my
best score.” He grinned, proudly.
“Hey, shall we go get something to eat to celebrate?
My treat,” I suggested, happily.
“Sure. I just need to get changed first though; I can’t
really go out like this.” He looked down at his ripped t-shirt,
skater shorts and dirty sneakers, pulling a face.
Why the hell would he need to change? “Johnny, I
don’t care what you wear,” I said honestly, as we started
walking back to his car.
He laughed. “Amber, I look a mess. These are my
competition clothes. I always wear the same thing; they’re
like my lucky clothes. They’re all ripped and dirty. Besides,
I’m all sweaty and stuff,” he countered, shrugging. We
climbed into his car. “I’ll just nip home and change, and then
we can go,” he said as he pulled out of the parking lot.
Oh shit! He wants me to go to his house? I started to
feel sick. I couldn’t go, I didn’t want to see my father, I
couldn’t. I closed my eyes, willing myself not to freak out.
Liam wasn’t here so I didn’t want to have a full blown panic
“I can’t,” I whispered.
He glanced at me, confused. “You can’t go to
dinner?” he asked, looking at me like I was crazy, probably
because it was my idea in the first place.
I shook my head. “I can’t go to your house, Johnny.
Please, I can’t see him,” I begged as he continued to drive
in the opposite direction to my house.
“Stephen?” he asked, frowning. I nodded, unable to
speak through the lump in my throat. My hands were
shaking. I closed my eyes and thought of Liam, trying to
stay calm. I thought of the colour of his eyes, how his hair
felt when I ran my hands through it, the sound of his voice.
“You OK?” Johnny asked, sounding concerned.
I nodded weakly. “I don’t want to see him, Johnny,” I
whispered, turning in my seat to look at him.
He was trying to watch the road and look at me at
the same time. “Why not?” he asked quietly. I shook my
head. I couldn’t talk about it, especially not to him, that was
his stepfather for goodness sake, he lived with him.
“I just don’t, please.” I begged him with my eyes.
He sighed and shook his head. “He’s not there
anyway. He went away for the weekend with my mom and
Matt. They’re not due back until late tonight,” he said.
He wasn’t there?
“Are you sure?” I asked, my body was starting to
He nodded and smiled reassuringly. “Positive. They
went to Mersey for the weekend to see my grandparents.
They’re not getting back until like ten or something.”
I looked at him to make sure he wasn’t lying or trying
to trick me or something. He looked like he was telling the
truth. Johnny was a really nice guy, he wouldn’t do
something like that to me, he wouldn’t lie. “OK,” I agreed
He smiled and looked back at the road. “So, do I get
to know why you and Jake hate Stephen so much?” he
asked curiously. I closed my eyes; I really didn’t want to
have this conversation with him, with anyone. Even Kate
didn’t know any details about my father and my childhood.
“Johnny, I don’t want to talk about it. It’s in the past, I
prefer it to stay there,” I replied, praying that he would drop
He nodded, looking a little disappointed and sad.
“OK. Well, if you ever need to talk to me about anything, you
can. You know that, right?” he asked as he pulled onto a
really nice looking street. I nodded looking out of the
window; the houses were huge, with big expensive cars in
the drives. He pulled in to a driveway and I glanced up at
the huge pale blue house. It looked like my dad had
certainly done well for himself.
“You sure he’s not here?” I asked nervously, as I got
out and walked to Johnny’s side.
“I’m sure. The car’s not even here,” he confirmed,
waving at the empty drive. I relaxed and followed behind
Johnny closely, up to the house. I was barely able to
breathe. As he opened the front door I gripped hold of the
back of his t-shirt. He chuckled. “Amber, there’s no one
here,” he assured me, shaking his head as he wrapped his
arm around my shoulders, pulling me into the house. The
house was gorgeous. “Want a drink?” he offered, leading
me into the kitchen.
“Um, sure.” I looked around at all of the expensive
ornaments and furniture. “You could fit my whole house into
your lounge and kitchen,” I said, smiling.
He laughed. “This is house is nice, but it’s too big for
just us. I don’t know why they had to buy such an expensive
“What does my father do now then?” I asked
curiously, as he handed me a can of Pepsi.
“Stocks and shares. He’s some big broker or
something, I don’t really understand it. He makes a lot of
money though,” he said casually.
He was still doing that then, that’s what he did when
we were kids. I didn’t want to talk about him anymore; being
in his house was freaking me out more than enough.
“So, you and Kate, huh?” I teased, trying to change
He blushed and nodded. “She’s nice,” he muttered
I grinned at his blush, he really was adorable. “She
said you kissed her.” I raised my eyebrows excitedly,
waiting for details. I’d had her version of the ‘perfect kiss’
now I wanted his.
He grinned. “Yeah, did she say if she liked it?” he
asked, blushing harder.
Oh hell yeah she did! “Yeah, she liked it a lot,” I
confirmed, waggling my eyebrows at him.
He laughed. “Well thank goodness for that.” He
sounded so relieved that I couldn’t help but laugh too. “I was
thinking about asking her out, properly, you know, being
exclusive. Do you think she’d go for that?” he asked,
looking at me hopefully.
I grinned at his worried face. “Hell yeah she’d go for
that.” Kate really liked him, she would definitely be
He laughed and messed up the back of his hair.
“Awesome! Thanks, Amber.”
“Go get changed then and let’s go eat. I’m starved,” I
instructed, nodding to the hallway.
“OK. I’ll be five minutes.”
I shrugged. “You can shower and stuff if you want, I
don’t mind waiting.”
“Are you saying I smell?” he asked, laughing, as he
made his way to the hall.
“Well, I was trying to be polite,” I joked. He laughed
and skipped off up the stairs.
I sat down at the kitchen counter, happily drinking my
Pepsi, playing with his trophy, when I heard the front door
open and a lady talking. “No, I just need to give him some
medicine and put him to bed,” she said.
I felt my breath catch in my throat.
“Well, he hasn’t stopped fucking crying,” my father
snapped, sounding annoyed.
I jumped out of the chair so fast that I nearly fell over.
I moved to the other side of the counter, needing to put
something between us if he was coming in here. My heart
was crashing in my chest. I couldn’t breathe properly. There
was a door behind me; I grabbed the handle, desperately
wanting to get away before he came in. I couldn’t see him; I
couldn’t let him see me. Rattling the handle I quickly
realised that the door was locked. I could feel the tears
starting to prickle in my eyes.
“I’m sorry, Stephen. I’ll put him to bed in a minute,
he’ll sleep it off,” the lady said quietly.
“He fucking better, he’s giving me a headache,” he
I rammed my hand into my pocket, grabbing my
cellphone. Who I was planning on calling I don’t know. Liam
and Jake were too far away, and Johnny was probably in
the shower. There was no one, no help; I was alone in my
horror. I turned around facing the door, waiting for him to
come in. I felt sick. Oh God, was I actually going to throw
The lady walked in, carrying a whining little blond
boy in her arms, stroking his back soothingly. Her eyes
snapped to me and she jumped a mile, obviously not
knowing I was in here. “Hi, sorry, I didn’t realise Johnny had
friends over,” she said, smiling at me warmly. She was very
pretty, brown hair and grey eyes, just like my mom’s and
mine. I nodded, unable to talk.
“Johnny’s got friends over?” my father asked as he
walked through the door.
I felt dizzy, my legs were weak, he looked almost
exactly the same, just a little older, a little less hair and
more greys. His eyes were hard and stern like they used to
be, not like the photo that Johnny showed me. He hadn’t
changed at all.
He looked at me, his eyes raking over every part of
my body while I just stood there, unable to move, unable to
breathe. I felt like I was a kid again. I was terrified, and this
time I had no Jake to protect me. The man that ruined my
childhood, my brothers childhood, was standing less than
fifteen feet from me.
“Amber,” he said quietly. He smiled and I felt bile
rise in my throat.