Amber tapped her fingers on the screen of Milo’s Ipad, debating wether or not she should log into the Dark Places forum. Milo was out getting takeout from some greasy takeaway place, so she was all alone in the motel room. It was rare, now that she was on the run from her murderous parents, that she got a chance to connect with her old life, her old passions.
She knew she should take this opportunity.
However, something made Amber stop.
What even was her old life?
Her only real friends were online, miles away. She got picked on. She grew up in a loveless home with two parents that didn’t even want her to call them mom and dad.
Amber felt a painful sensation in her chest, like the sorrow and anger was taking physical form and stabbing at her.
She hadn’t really had a life back then, and what she was doing now was barely surviving.
Amber, essentially, was nothing.
She almost slammed the iPad onto the bedside desk and got up to go into the bathroom. Amber locked the door behind her and stood in front of the mirror, looking at herself. She was tired. Dark, ugly bags sat under her eyes. Her hair was messy and looked like a brush hadn’t touched it in days. Amber had some leftover greasy diner food stained on her shirt and- oh my god was that a zit?
She hung her head for a few seconds.
“I really am Amber Loser-Lamont” she muttered, before lifting her head again to look at herself in the mirror.
Locking eyes with her cold, mirror self, a thought crossed her mind.
She could shift right now.
She could see the version of herself that she wanted to see, the version of herself that she loved. The only version of herself that she loved.
Amber slowly watched as her fingernails grew longer, twisting and turning into claws, the skin on her hands turning a beautiful blood red, before something stopped her in her tracks.
How much longer was Amber going to use shifting as a resort for all her problems?
Her skin reverted back to it’s pale, fleshy pink again, her fingernails became stumped and chewed on like she did when she was nervous. Amber’s demon side couldn’t help her. It just made her arrogant, beautiful albeit, but arrogant, and when she shifted back she was still eaten up inside with how sad she was. She thought that somehow being a beautiful demon would be some sad excuse for a distraction from her pain, but every time she shifted back it was the same.
Demon or not, she was still Amber Loser-Lamont.
Sinking to the floor of the bathroom, Amber finally let her grief flood over her. She was too embarrassed to cry in Milo’s company, and she’d been too busy simply surviving every second of her life that she never really acknowledged her grief. Just pushed it down and kept fighting. But now, here on the grubby bathroom floor of some forgettable motel, Amber broke.
She wailed into her hands, raw and ugly sobs breaking from her mouth.
This wasn’t some ‘beautiful’ or ‘poetic’ breakdown like all those pretty people did on the Dark Places. This was untamed. This was heartbreaking. Amber hated it but she couldn’t stop herself.
Tucking her knees up close to her chest, Amber rocked herself back and forth. She felt like a little kid. Surprisingly, she found herself needing her mom. She just wanted to be held. Hell, she couldn’t even remember if her parents had ever even fucking held her as a kid. They’d done the bare minimum of physical contact with her. Amber had a big gaping hole in her soul from where she’d never been loved and right now it was tearing itself wide open, forcing its way out of her in a storm of emotions.
Suddenly, like a gunshot, she heard a loud knock on the bathroom door. Her first instinct was that her parents had found her, Milo was dead, it was over and she was going to be torn to shreds and eaten. She began to wretchedly sob again, not even mustering the courage to shift.
“Amber? Amber?” Milo’s voice. He sounded concerned.
“Hell kid, are you ok? You break something?”
Amber took in a few gulpy breaths, and put on her best ‘I’m okay’ voice.
“Yeah I-I’m great Milo I just.....stubbed..my toe?” Amber sniffled. Even she didn’t believe herself. There was a silence before Milo spoke again.
“You wanna come out and...talk about it?”
He sounded a little apprehensive, but still concerned. Amber knew Milo wasn’t great with feelings, but Amber also knew that he wanted to help. Hurriedly wiping her eyes on her sleeve and blowing her nose on a piece of toilet roll, she unlocked the door and did her best to look Milo in the eye.
Milo stared down at her, his brown eyes calculating.
“Amber?” He said quietly.
Amber couldn’t hold herself together anymore and she began sobbing again, burying her face into Milo’s chest and clinging tightly to him, as if she might fall into nothingness if she let go.
“Oh oh hey now-“ Milo sounded a little startled, dropping the takeout bags and very carefully putting his arms around Amber. Milo smelled like cheap whiskey and the leather seats of the Charger.
They stayed there for a few moments before Amber became acutely aware that she might be ruining Milo’s shirt and she nervously pulled away.
“I’m so sorry” she hiccuped, wiping at her eyes. “I shouldn’t cry I know I’m sorry I-“
“Amber.” Milo sounded almost stern, and it made Amber a little fearful.
“You’ve been through hell, kid. Literally. Damn it, I don’t even know how you’re still doing this frankly. I know I would’ve quit a long time ago. If you’ve come this far and you’re still kicking, you’re damn well entitled to some crying.” Milo gave her a little smile.
Amber felt Milo’s words knock the sharp edges off of her knifelike grief.
“Thank you” she mumbled, snuffling a little. “I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
Milo raised a brow. “Jesus Christ. If you’re saying that to me of all people then you definitely have a problem” he smirked at Amber. She gave him a little half smile in return.
Milo turned to where he’d dropped the takeout bags, picking them up.
“You hungry, kid? Let’s hope my chow mein hasn’t gone cold” He rumbled, taking a few styrofoam boxes out of the plastic bag and setting them on the table.
Amber watched Milo unpack, grumbling to himself, and she felt a little glimmer of hope inside of her. Maybe, just maybe everything was going to be ok.
That is, if she avoids getting eaten by her parents, manages to find a man that’s so impossible to find he almost doesn’t exist and somehow doesn’t manage to anger the shining demon.
Then, things might just be ok.
She wasn’t always going to be Amber Loser-Lamont.
Someday she’d be Amber I’m actually okay now-Lamont.