“You’d better not!” Liam warned, moving to my side, wrapping his arm around my waist.
My mom looked between the two of us a few times, a shocked expression on her face. Her eyes flicked to Jake, her expression bewildered and confused. Jake nodded somewhat reluctantly. All of a sudden, she started laughing and shook her head. “I should have known! All that teasing and stuff, I didn’t realise it was sexual tension,” she said, laughing harder as Jake snorted angrily.
“I don’t want to know!” Jake growled, covering his ears quickly, shaking his head as we all just laughed.
My mom pulled me into another hug. “I’m so pleased for you, Amber. He’s such a good boy,” she whispered.
“I know he is,” I agreed as she let me go. I took hold of Liam’s hand, pressing my side against his. I couldn’t help but wish I could take him in my room and have him rub his hands all over my body again, I hadn’t been with him since this morning and it felt like forever.
“Congratulations, guys,” she chirped, smiling. Liam squeezed my hand, grinning happily at me, making my heart melt. My mom smiled a little sadly, looking at Jake first, then me. “Guys, I need to talk to you about something. There’s a reason I came back a week early,” she admitted, her voice hard and serious.
Jake stiffened, and his face hardened. “We don’t want to see him if that’s what you’re going to say,” he said sternly, moving to stand next to me protectively.
My mom shook her head. “It’s not that simple. I don’t want to have to say this, he’s put me in such an awkward position and I’m sorry,” she said quietly. Liam and Jake both moved closer to me unconsciously, so I was completely wedged between the two of them. Jeez, what the hell are they getting so worried about? He’s not here now!
“Mom, what are you talking about? I won’t let that as**ole anywhere near Amber,” Jake growled angrily.
She started to cry so I pushed away from the boys and wrapped my arms around her. Crap, this was bad. Whatever it was, she was really upset about it. “What’s wrong?” I whispered, willing myself not to cry too. I hated seeing my mom upset, she was always the strong one.
“I need to sit down,” she said quietly, swiping at her face roughly, wiping the tears away as she took a deep breath. I followed her into the lounge, sitting on the sofa, barely able to breathe. Thoughts of the two of them getting back together, him wanting to move back in, him demanding to see us, even him wanting custody of us, all these thoughts were whizzing through my brain so fast that it made me feel sick. Liam sat next to me, wrapping his arm around me tightly. I pressed into him for support, waiting for her to say it.
“Your fathers moved to this town,” she said quietly.
Jake jumped out of the seat. “Motherfucker! I told him to stay away!” he shouted angrily, looking like he wanted to smash something.
My mom nodded. “Jake, he wants to get to know you two again. He says he’s sorry and that he’s changed. He wants you to give him another chance.”
“You mean he wants another chance to try and rape Amber?” Jake shouted. I flinched as the memories rushed back. Liam’s arm tightened around me, his hands clenching into fists.
My mom shook her head, looking at him pleadingly. “Jake, I don’t like this any more than you do, so please stop shouting at me! I hate that I’m the one to have to tell you this, but it’s not my fault,” she said, crying again now.
Jake sighed and shook his head, kneeling down in front of her pulling her into a hug. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be taking this out on you,” he said, still sounding angry. I pressed my face into Liam’s shoulder, breathing him in. I felt him put his lips on my neck and I concentrated on the feel of his breath blowing reassuringly down my back, trying desperately not to freak out. After a minute of silence, Jake spoke. “Why has he come back? Why didn’t you just tell him we didn’t want to see him?” he asked.
She closed her eyes and smiled sadly. “He remarried. He has a son who’s one, he’s your half-brother. Apparently, the woman that he married has a son already. He’s seventeen. Your father wants you to get to know his new family,” she said, sneering slightly at the ‘new family’ bit at the end.
Holy shit, I had a little brother, and a step-brother?
Jake jumped up. “That f**ker should have been castrated! He shouldn’t be allowed to have more kids!” he cried, gripping his hands in his hair tightly.
“I needed to come back today and speak to you because the elder boy, Johnny his name is; he’s going to be starting your school tomorrow. He knows about you two,” she said, looking at me apologetically.
Jake kicked the coffee table, hard, sending it flying over. Liam jumped up and stood in front of me protectively as Jake shouted profanities and kicked the table over and over again, probably hurting his foot. I stood up and pushed past Liam, batting off his hands as he tried to stop me going near my brother. I grabbed Jake’s arm, making him stop and look at me. His face was pure rage and I think if my father was here tight now, he’d be dead. That man really needed to stay the hell away from Jake. I wrapped my arms around him tightly, knowing I needed to calm him down before he hurt himself. The only way to calm Jake down when he went crazy like this was to make him think I was upset, that usually snapped him out of his rage pretty quickly.
“Jake, stop. You’re scaring me. Please?” I whispered, clinging to him for dear life.
He was shaking with anger as he wrapped his arms around me. “It’s OK. Shh, everything’s OK. I’m sorry,” he murmured, rubbing my back, his overprotective nature kicking in.
“I’m sorry,” my mom muttered, sobbing behind us.
I pulled out of Jake’s arms and went to sit next to her. “It’s OK, Mom. None of this is your fault. We’ll figure it out. Neither Jake or I want to see him, so we just won’t see him,” I stated, pretending it would be that easy.
“What about this boy, Johnny, your stepbrother? He’s going to be at your school tomorrow. He knows who you are but he doesn’t know about what happened back then. Your father told me that his new family thinks that you don’t want to see him because of the breakup of our marriage, nothing else,” she said shaking her head.
Jake laughed humourlessly. “Yeah, why would the spineless bastard tell his new wife that he beat the crap out of his old family for years before finally trying to rape his own daughter? Not something you can bring up in normal conversation is it?” he spat nastily. I flinched again. I hated the word rape, it was awful.
“Jake! Will you stop f**king saying that?” Liam cried, glaring at him angrily as he sat down in front of me, taking my hand.
“Sorry, Ambs, I didn’t think,” Jake mumbled apologetically.
I shook my head and faked a smile. “It’s fine, Jake, don’t worry.” I waved my hand dismissively, pretending that I was unaffected by this whole situation. “What’s the baby’s name?” I asked my mom, wanting to know about the little brother I now had.
She smiled sadly. “Matt.”
I smiled. Matt. It was cute, I liked it. I could feel the hysterics building inside me though and I knew I needed to be on my own. “Well, there’s not much we can do about it now, I guess. We’ll just have to see what this Johnny guy is like tomorrow. But I don’t want anything to do with that man ever again,” I stated matter-of-factly as I stood up. “I’m going to lay down. I have a headache,” I said as I started to walk off. I needed to get out of here before I had a meltdown in front of Jake - that would just make him crazy again.
Liam grabbed my hand. “Want some company?” he asked quietly, looking at me with the puppy dog face. The damn boy knew I couldn’t say no to that face.
“Yeah, OK.” I nodded slightly and started walking off towards my bedroom.
“I’ll just be a minute. I’m just going to help Jake clear up the table,” Liam said, nodding towards the broken wooden mess that used to be our coffee table.
I nodded and walked off quickly. I could hear them whispering behind me, I knew they were talking about me, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care. I curled into a ball on my bed and sobbed as I thought about it. My father was in this town and wanted to get to know us again. He had a new family. I couldn’t help but wonder if he treated them nicely and loved them, and if he did treat them nicely and love them, why the hell couldn’t he have done that to us? Why didn’t he love us?
A few minutes later Liam walked in, wrapping his body around mine, letting me sob on his chest until I fell asleep. The last thing that went through my brain was that I knew everything in my life was just too perfect. I knew I shouldn’t have got my hopes up for a happy ending. I’d never have a happy ending.
~ Liam ~
“What’s the baby’s name?” Amber asked her mom curiously. She was being so calm about it. I knew this was probably killing her inside but she was putting on an act - probably for Jake’s benefit. Her eyes were tight; her hand was holding mine a little too hard for her to be alright.
“Matt,” Margaret replied, looking sad.
Amber smiled. “Well there’s not much we can do about it now, I guess. We’ll just have to see what this Johnny guy is like tomorrow. But I don’t want anything to do with that man ever again,” she stated, as if it just didn’t matter that the man who beat her, sexually abused her for years, and finally tried to rape her, was coming back and wanted to see her again. She stood up and let go of my hand. I instinctively jumped up too. Jake was still really angry, I knew he wouldn’t ever hurt Amber on purpose but if he went off on one she could get hurt by accident, so I needed to be there just in case. “I’m going to lay down. I have a headache,” Amber mumbled, walking off without so much as a tear. This was bad; she seriously was going to freak out any minute I could tell by how her shoulders were hunched slightly.