Five minutes before we’re supposed to meet up with Amber I’m pretty sure I hear screaming but pass it off as some weird sound in the song, ‘Moves Like Jagger,’ that is blasting over the speakers.
“Do we really have to meet up with Amber and her boyfriend?” Devlin wines as we make our way to the ferris wheel.
“I promised I’d be there Devlin, we only have to stay for a few minutes,” I reply even though I don’t mean it. The longer I get to stay with Amber the better.
After about fifteen minutes of waiting I begin to get worried…Amber doesn’t normally run late. What frightens me even more is the frantic look on Liz’s face as she hurries over. Amber isn’t with her either.
“Have you see her…at all?” I ask, leaving Devlin to stand alone.
“No, she left with Garry and I haven’t seen her since,” Liz answers as we round the corner.
I can see Devlin wandering a few paces ahead of us. She could really care less, “Guys, I think I found her!”
Hurrying up behind Devlin I can see a body curled up in the dirt. Although the shadows can play tricks on people’s minds I’m pretty sure that’s Amber. What the hell happened to her?
Without a word I sprint across the small space, falling to my knees by her side. Instantly I hold her face, turning it gently so that she is looking at me. Her eyes are vacant, staring up at me with no emotion whatsoever. This scares me
“Amber?” I say with desperation.
I watch as her glassy green eyes spill tears, her face crumpling, her breathing uneven. With a bit of an effort Amber pulls herself up, wrapping her arms tightly around me, sobbing into my shirt.
“Amber, please tell me you’re okay. Please?” I plead.
She doesn’t answer. Her sobbing has gone hysterical. Amber shakes her head, not looking me in they eyes.
“Fuck,” I mumble.
I simply cannot help myself, I start to rock Amber…please, please don’t let this be happening.
“What did he do to you?” my voice cracks as I sniff back tears.
Amber shakes her head, tears still streaming down her face as she gasps for breath.
“You have to tell me. Please tell me?”
Again Amber shakes her head, soaking my shirt with her tears. I sniff hoping she doesn’t hear it. Amber can’t know I’m this upset…right now I’ve got to stay strong for her.
“Was he trying to do what I think he was trying to do?”
Amber grabs a handful of my shirt, nodding a little bit. I swallow a lump in my throat almost afraid to ask my next question.
“Did…did he succeed?”
Amber whimpers, pulling her knees up to her chest. I already know the answer but I need to have her confirm it.
“Amber, tell me please?” I sob, not even trying to hold my tears back now. She doesn’t move her head.
“Did he succeed, Amber?”
My worst fears are confirmed as Amber begins crying harder, nodding her head gently against my chest.
My entire body tenses, no…please don’t let this be happening, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”
The word continues to pour from my mouth as I hold Amber close to me, tears streaming down my face. I don’t even care that everyone can see them, “No, Amber. I’m so fucking sorry. This is all my fucking fault. I’m so sorry I didn’t apologize to you sooner. I should have. I was being stupid and stubborn. I’m so sorry.”
The two of us cry together as I pet Amber’s hair, hoping to bring her as much comfort as possible. I have no idea how I’m supposed to help her.
Jonny comes up behind me, patting my shoulder, “I’m going to call the police.”
I nod as Amber squeezes me tightly, “Okay.”
“He said he’d kill me,” Amber says, her words muffled a little bit by my shirt. “He said I deserved it for being such a tease.”
I continue to rock her, sniffling a little as I pet her messy red hair, “I won’t let him hurt you anymore, Amber. We’ll make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone again.”
“He said he’d make you hurt.”
“He won’t. I promise.”
“I know, Ambo. I’m sorry.”
“Please, don’t leave me?”
After a while I gently lift Amber onto my lap, letting her head rest on my shoulder. There is blood covering a good bit of her face. There is a cut on her eyebrow; Amber also has a fat lip. Amber’s left eye is pretty much swollen shut. Garry hurt her. I always knew he did but I never thought I’d come to this. Garry had pretty much destroyed Amber and I don’t know if I’ll be able to fix her. Amber still doesn’t say anything. I notice that there is blood caked under her finger nails. She had tried to fight back but in the end my beautiful best friend just wasn’t strong enough.
For a very long time I just sit there, rocking Amber back and forth as she shivers and continues to cry. Eventually Jonny comes over handing over his jacket. I wrap it around Amber, holding her close, our tears mingling together.
When the police finally show up, they head over to where Amber and I sit. After taking a brief look at Amber they leave us alone, going over to questions Jonny and Devlin.
After a few minutes a female cop comes over, sitting down on the ground so she is at eyes level with Amber, “Sweetie, we’re gonna have to take you to the hospital, okay?”
Amber lifts her head a little bit, “I don’t want to leave Frank.”
The cop looks at me.
“I promised I wouldn’t leave her,” I explain.
“We’re going to have to question you both separately. It’s just protocol. We’ll get her to the hospital and you can take your date home. Change your clothes and you can meet us there,” the cop says.
“I’ll be fine,” Amber tells me though I know she’s just trying to put on a brave face. I don’t want to leave her. I never want to have Amber out of my sight ever again.
“Are you sure?” I ask her.
Amber nods her eyes locked with mine. With no other choice I help Amber to her feet, wrapping my arm around her shoulders protectively. She doesn’t even attempt to stand up all the way, hobbling along due to the fact she is missing a shoe. A few scratches crisscross her arms but they don’t look too bad.
“Can you help me get her to the ambulanc?” the cop asks me as she scribbles something down on a sheet of paper.
“I’m going to carry you, okay Amber?” I warn not wanting to make her uncomfortable.
Amber just nods, appearing not to be paying much attention to what is going on around her. So I wrap my arms around her legs and back, lifting her up bridal style. Amber simply clings to me, her hands locked behind my back, not saying anything.
I carry Amber all the way to the ambulance that is waiting just outside of the fair grounds. I manage to climb into the back of the medical vehicle, placing Amber down on the stretcher. Squeezing her hand I smile weakly before climbing out. I really don’t want to leave her.
“I’ll be with her the entire time,” the cop says to me. “You can come see her when we’re done questioning you.”
I just nod and look back to the ambulance where Amber is lying on her side, with her knees pulled up to her chest, arms wrapped around her body. Although Amber’s hair covers most of her face I am able to see one green eye staring at me. After a few seconds I look away heading back over to Jonny and Devlin.
Jonny hands me the stuffed turtle just seconds before the police call me over, requesting my permission to ask a few questions. It’s not like I’ve really got a choice. I either answer them here or they take me to the station. I answer everything to the best of my ability knowing this will help Amber. Once the cops have my side of the story I’m free to go.
Devlin waits for me by the front entrance. We walk through the parking lot in silence. I wave goodbye to Mikey and Jonny before climbing in the car, Devlin getting in seconds after me. I don’t talk at all until we reach her lit up house.
“I’m breaking up with you,” I say as Devlin gets out of the car.
She sighs, “I figured as much.”