“Amber, I don’t recommend that you leave the hospital yet,” he stated.
I shook my head. “My mom’s had an accident; I need to get there with my brother. He’s waiting in the car for me, I need to go now. Just show me where to sign.” I nodded towards the clipboard in his hand.
He sighed and passed me the form pointing at the bottom. “This is basically a waiver, saying that I’ve recommended you stay in the hospital and you’re leaving against my orders,” he explained as I signed my name in the three places he pointed. I nodded and passed it back to him, grabbing my bag. “You need to take it easy, Amber. If you start to feel dizzy or weak, then come back in. If you start to bleed heavy or get any strong pains, stronger than normal menstrual cramps, then you need to come back immediately,” he instructed, looking at me worriedly.
I nodded in confirmation. “I will. I need to go. Thanks for looking after me,” I replied, already making my way to the door. I didn’t stop to look back; I walked as fast as I could over to the taxi rank and jumped in the first available cab, giving them my father’s address.
I grabbed my phone and checked the battery, setting up a new family group with Jake, Liam, Johnny, Ruby, and my mom’s numbers in it.
I typed a message to Jake, ready to send it when I got there. I guessed it was about fifteen minutes of fast driving from the police station to my father’s house - that would be plenty long enough to get my father to drop the charges and for Jake to get there before anything happened. At least, I hoped it was.
When the cab pulled up outside his house I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. “You OK there, sweetheart?” the driver asked, looking at me concerned.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks,” I mumbled, handing him the money, taking deep breaths to try and calm down.
I shut the door of the cab and sent Jake the message that I had pre-typed:
‘I’m at Dad’s. Please come and get me, right now. DON’T CALL ME BACK. Amber x’
I knocked on the door and held my breath, waiting for him to answer. The door opened almost immediately. There he stood, the man that made me lose my baby, the man that’s making my boyfriend stand against charges of GBH. His face was a mess. He was right; Liam certainly did a good job. His nose was strapped and swollen, almost every inch of his face was red and sore looking, and he had two wicked black eyes. I couldn’t help but be a little proud of Liam, I knew I shouldn’t be, but my boy was a badass.
He smiled. “Amber, come on in. How are you?” he asked politely.
Is he kidding me? How am I?
I walked past him and ignored his question. “Let’s dispense with the pleasantries. What is it that you want so that you’ll you drop the charges against Liam?” I asked, willing my voice not to betray how terrified I was.
He grinned and turned and walked into the lounge, obviously expecting me to follow. As soon as he was out of sight, I flicked the latch on the door so all Jake had to do was push it open. Then I followed him into the lounge.
Please let this work, please.
“Have a seat,” he instructed, sitting on the sofa and patting the space next to him. I knew I needed to stay on his good side, I also knew I needed to stay as close to him as I could, so I made my way over and sat down, turning in the seat to face him and getting ready to run if I needed to.
“So, who’s baby is it? Or don’t you know?” he asked, sneering at me.
I could feel my anger and grief threatening to spill over because he was talking about my baby. “I lost it thanks to you. Why did you hit me?” I asked, trying not to cry.
He laughed, shaking his head as if I had said something stupid. “You f**king deserved it,” he said angrily.
“You hit me and made me fall and lose my baby. That’s why Liam hit you,” I replied, matter-of-factly.
“That little fucker, he always was trouble,” he growled, his hands clenching into fists.
I gulped. Oh God, this wasn’t working! “It was your fault. You came around to our house wanting a fight, you wanted this to happen,” I goaded.
He nodded; a sly smile crept on to his face. “Yeah, I was hoping to get your f**king brother in trouble, but that little punk from next door stopped him. Jake always was trouble, even when you were kids he used to get in my way,” he barked, shaking his head annoyed.
“Jake used to stop you beating me. He stopped you trying to rape me. Is that what you’re talking about?” I asked. Oh God, please answer the question!
He looked at me angrily. “Rape? Screw that, it’s not rape. You’re my daughter; you owed me for all the shit I had to put up with. You were f**king ripe for the picking,” he stated, looking me over slowly, making my skin crawl.
My hand tightened around my cellphone in my pocket. “You think you can beat the crap out of your wife and two children for years, sexually abuse your own daughter and try to rape me, and that’s OK?” I asked, my voice breaking.
“You lot made my f**king life a misery! You needed a good slap to keep you in line. I was disciplining you, that’s all,” he spat, getting up from the sofa gripping his hands into his hair.
“Discipline? One time you punched Jake so hard in the stomach that he couldn’t eat for a days. You broke his arm, and ribs. You made us all scared to do anything in case we made you angry!” I shouted, trying to provoke him.
He rounded on me and I stood up quickly, needing to be on my feet in case I needed to run. “Jake deserved all of that! I should have f**king drowned that kid at birth!” he shouted, slamming his hand down on the coffee table, making me yelp.
“What about Johnny, Matt and Ruby? Do they need discipline too?” I asked.
He nodded. “Yeah, they all need to learn some respect. Where is Ruby anyway?” he asked, his eyes trying to bore holes into mine.
“She’s gone back to Mersey,” I lied.
He made an angry growling noise and gripped hold of the coffee table, tipping it over roughly. I jerked back as it almost crashed into my feet.
Come on, Amber, you can do this!
“I want you to drop the charges against Liam, and leave town,” I stated matter-of-factly.
He laughed and rolled his eyes. “Right, that’s not going to happen. I tell you what, I’ll drop the charges against that little punk, if you come and live with me,” he bargained, looking me over again slowly. I cringed back, feeling sick and slightly dizzy, then I realised it was because I wasn’t breathing so I drew in a ragged breath.
“No. You’re going to drop the charges and leave town and never bother me or my family again. And when I say my family, I mean Ruby, Johnny and Matt too,” I said sternly.
Oh God, this was going to work! I couldn’t help but smile; I brought my phone from my pocket and pressed send. I laughed quietly before putting my poker face back on.
He was looking at me like I had lost my mind, making it seem even funnier to me. “And why would I do that?” he asked, his voice coloured with amusement.
“Because if you don’t, I’m going to go to the police and tell them everything about what happened when we were kids. Trust me; the time you’ll spend in jail will be a lot longer than the time Liam will get. And, you’ll be in a much worse part of the jail too, where they put the rapists and paedophiles,” I shrugged.
He burst out laughing. “And who’s going to believe a dirty little tramp like you? Knocked up at sixteen. I’m a respected professional. I can afford the top lawyers to rip your case to shreds, and besides, you have no proof. This happened so long ago, it’s your word against mine,” he growled, stepping closer to me.
I felt the bile rise in my throat and I prayed that Jake was close. How long had it been since I sent that text?
“Actually, that’s where you’re wrong. I have your word too,” I corrected, smirking at him as I pulled out my cellphone. He looked at me like I was stupid again. “Clever things phones nowadays, they have all sorts of gadgets in them; cameras, music players, calculators…….. voice recorders,” I chirped, raising my eyebrows at the last one.
I flicked through the menu and played back our conversation that I had just recorded on my phone. I watched his face with a satisfied smile.
“So, who’s baby is it? Or don’t you know?”
“I lost it thanks to you. Why did you hit me?”
“You f**king deserved it!”
“You hit me and made me fall and lose my baby. That’s why Liam hit you.”
“That little fucker, he always was trouble.”
I stopped the recording. “Heard enough, or do you want to hear what else is on here? Can you remember what you said? What you admitted to? Abuse, attempted rape,” I said, grinning like an idiot. He grabbed my phone and dropped it on the floor, smashing his foot down on it, hard. I fought hard against the urge to laugh. “Oh, Daddy, that phone cost me a lot of money. Do you know how much a brand new iPhone costs nowadays?” I asked sarcastically.
He grinned, obviously thinking he had won. “You’ve got nothing now.” He grabbed my wrist and pulled me closer to him.
I laughed and nodded in confirmation. “You’re right. I don’t, but my family do. I sent it to them just now. Five other people have that recording, and if you don’t take your dirty pervert hands off of me right now, that will be going to the police,” I stated smugly.
He slapped me hard across the face, making me yelp as his hand crashed into my already sore skin. I held my face and looked at him; I hated him more than I had ever hated anything in my life.
“You drop the charges right now and leave town and never contact us again! Otherwise, I’ll make sure that all five of those recordings make it to the police. I’m serious, you drop the charges and leave and I’ll let it go. I just want Liam free,” I instructed.
I didn’t care about anything else. We would always have the recordings; if he ever came near us again I had no problem with pressing charges and get him sent away for good. But I couldn’t do that now, Liam would still be facing jail and I couldn’t take the risk of him being found guilty and sent to jail for defending me.