Best of You
Disclaimer: The Young and the Restless is owned by CBS Broadcasting Inc., CBS Corporation and Bell Dramatic Serial Inc. and probably a host of other companies but definitely not by me. No malice or infringement of copyrights are intended by this writing and I will stop if someone just tells me to.
Author's Note: I'm not a devoted Y&R watcher; I'm one of those annoying sporadic watchers that the network hates with the passion of a thousand suns. I'm one of those people that really have no show loyalty and basically jump around depending on my mood and the way the moon rises. But I am a fan of Adrienne Frantz and find that I like her very flawed Amber Moore. And this is me showing my loyalty. (Oh, and I'm also a fan of Daniel Goddard and really enjoyed watching him on Beastmaster. But seriously, who won't love watching him half naked.)
Summery: Amber has a secret and a plan to change her life.
Timeline: I'm going to set this probably about September of 2008. Here's what you need to know: Amber and Daniel's relationship has collapsed due to infidelity (I'm not saying whose). Cane and Lily's relationship has been strained to the breaking point after Lily's miscarriage and Lily's constant absence due to her work has only made things worse as Cane deal with the loss on his own. Adam is the last remaining Newman heir at Newman Enterprises and his relationship with his sister Victoria resembles a war zone in the middle of a hurricane as he continues to operate with a hidden agenda. Victoria's relationship with her father is almost nonexistent now that she's walked away from his company. I'll give you more background as we go.
Amber sat down; more like collapsed but she managed to do it in a chair which could easily be mistaken for her simply sitting down. It was one of those hit by a lightening kind of revelations. And while those aren't always good ones… well, she wasn't exactly sure this was a good one or a bad one. What she did know was that this was unexpected (a very mild description for what it actually was). Of course, nothing this past two months has been expected. And so far, she was batting zero and three when it comes to unexpected events in her life.
A little plastic wand was currently mocking her from where it was still resting on the rug where she had dropped it earlier. Two bright pink lines visible even from where she sat, halfway across the cramp little room from it.
"Oh great," she leaned back and stared up at her ceiling for a moment, hating herself for feeling the tears well in her eyes. "This is just what I need right now!" She gave a quick and vicious howl of frustration and rage then let herself breathe… just simply breathe.
"Okay Amber," she told herself out loud as she tried to calm herself down, "there's absolutely no need to panic. It's not like this is the first time you've gone through this." That actually didn't help. "Okay, so the last two pregnancies didn't go exactly as planned but that doesn't mean that this one is… I mean..." she rolled her eyes at herself. "Okay, stop, you're working yourself up for nothing."
She got up and paced her little apartment. It wasn't nearly as nice as Phyllis' old penthouse but it was hers and hers alone; no bad memories here to taint the place for her "First, you get yourself checked out by a doctor. Those stupid tests may not be accurate," she nodded to herself decisively. "Then you'll figure what to do after that… yeah… that's what you're going to do. Don't panic, this could be nothing."
But in her heart, she already knew it wasn't nothing. It was something. It was a baby.
Cane sat down with his coffee in hand at Crimson Light and replay the latest fight he had with Lily in his mind. It was, once again, about her unwillingness to even talk about the child they had lost. Their on-again/off-again relationship in the last six months has been straining and was beginning to wear him down. The effort it took to be together was now almost painful. They have come together and fallen apart so many times that he's lost count. And in the recent weeks the lack of intimacy, Lily's fear another 'accident' and her absolute aversion to open herself up to him again… it was almost too much for him.
He sighed and sipped his coffee again.
"Have you seen Amber?" Daniel's voice carried a little too far for Cane's liking and against his better judgment, he turned to eavesdrop.
Kevin gave his best pal an annoyed look and shook his head. "For the twentieth time today: no. She didn't show up for work?"
"No," Daniel ran a quick hand through his hair and looked around the café without actually seeing anything. "Mom's pissed and she's not picking up her cell."
"She'd definitely not going to pick up a call from you," Kevin pointed out with a knowing look. Daniel glared back at him.
The little exchange intrigued Cane. He and his ex may not be on the most friendliest of terms but he'd like to think that they weren't antagonist anymore. Kevin's tone of voice suggests that Amber and Daniel's romance seemed to have cooled… or maybe they were just going through a rough patch. Cane couldn't really say considering how little he's been paying attention to his former pseudo-wife's current situation.
"Can you please call her?" Daniel asked a little more forcefully.
"And what am I suppose to say?" Kevin asked sarcastically, "'Hey Amber, you're missing and Daniel is looking for you?' Like that's not going to guarantee that she hangs up on me?"
Daniel held onto his patience with difficulty. "Tell her that my mother is on the rampage and she needs to get to the office ASAP before she gets her ass canned."
Kevin made a face but picked up his phone. Amber couldn't afford to lose that job; she's worked too hard for it. "I told you that working together was going to be a bad idea but would you listen to me?"
"You and Jana are fine working together," Daniel pointed out not so politely.
"Jana and I aren't the same as you and Amber. We don't have that kind of burn everything in our path kind of methods." The phone buzzed in his ear and Kevin held up a hand to stop the retort, "Hey Amber, it's Kevin. Your boss is looking for you and you're going to get yourself fired if you don't show up for work. Call me when you get this." He closed the phone and frowned. "It went straight to voice mail."
Either of them said anything for a moment, both reliving the same nightmare. Amber lived and breathed via her cell phone. She didn't go anywhere without it, not even to bed. The last time she went incommunicado was when she was trapped in a collapsed parking structure. It had not been a good time for anyone.
Grimly, Daniel warned, "If you see her…"
Nodding his head in agreement, Kevin sighed and wiped down the counter. "Ditto." Knocking hands, the boys parted.
Cane turned back to his coffee and silently brood. It wasn't like Amber, at least not in the recent months that he could see, to not pick up her phone… especially for her friends. If nothing, he knew that Amber was loyal to the point of ridiculous. (One of the few qualities he admire in Amber.) And she would never unnecessarily worry her friends. He mind drifted back to a weak moment four weeks ago when he had been drunk, angry and just plain stupid. And Amber… Amber had been there.
Cane's head buzzed with words spoken in anger and pain and Lily's tearful and fuming face screaming for him to just leave her alone. The beer was helping to blur some of the rage but not fast enough for his head not to pound with it. The night had not gone as planned. He had every intention of just having an easy, uncomplicated dinner with the beautiful Lily Winters. But what had actually transpire was a tense and silent meal that had ended with angry tears and accusations of profound bitterness that neither one had realized they had harbored. And now, at nearly midnight, Cane was drinking steadily and listening to the angry music of rebellious teens.
"Cane?" Amber's troubled blue eyes appeared from around the edge of the tall seat in the secluded corner he had commandeered. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he answered darkly without even glancing at her. "Go away."
She stood there, pouted lips parting for a moment to say something but then she changed her mind. She had worn a black and white tee-shirt dress that was too short for her long legs and covered most of her upper body; it was both conservative and revealing at the same time. It was one of her designs; Cane recognized it from a recent magazine layout he had spotted in his grandmother's living room. Kay had been so proud of that issue. After staring at him another minute, she walked away.
That had been a surprised. He's never known Amber to give up so easily. But she did.
Ten minutes later, she was back. Silent but still there nevertheless. When he refused to acknowledge her presence, "Is Mrs. Chancellor all right?"
"She's fine," he answered with forced patience.
"Oh… good," she said then hesitated. "Is it Jill?"
"Is what Jill?"
"Whatever it is that's driven you to drown yourself?"
He glared up at her. The last thing he wanted to do was discuss his problems with his manipulative ex-wife. "It's none of your business."
Amber's eyes were hard to read in the dimly lit room but she managed to convey her outrage and anger with just her body and then she stopped; just simply stopped. She closed her mouth, turned on her heels and walked away. She didn't even look back to see him staring openly at her uncharactistic behavior. It was unlike Amber to be silent about her upsets. But there is was.
Twenty minutes later, she came back again. Cane was drunk as a skunk and attempting to pull his keys from his jean pocket.
"What are you doing?" she demanded.
She shook her head at him. "I don't think you're in any condition to drive."
He staggered to his feet. "Didn't ask for your opinion," and almost dropped his keys.
Amber gave an exasperated huff and grabbed his keys from him. "You can't even stand up straight. You're not going to drive."
"That's not your call," he informed her and nearly toppled himself trying to get his keys back.
"As concern citizen it is," she informed him as she tossed his keys into her purse.
"What are you doing?" he asked angrily. He didn't want to deal with whatever it was that Amber was after.
She sighed and looked around the emptying club. "I'm going to call you a cab."
"I don't need you to…" he finally lost the fight with gravity and fell.
"Oh for god sakes," Amber muttered as she leaned down and tug at Cane's arm. He was too inebriated to protest as she helped him to his feet again, swaying madly and leaning heavily against her. "Oh this is so going to be a bad idea…" she muttered and begin to guide her to the front door, digging for her keys as she went.
It took nearly forty minutes for what should have been a ten minute endeavor to get Cane into Amber's apartment and into her bed. She didn't want Kay Chancellor to see her beloved grandson in this state. She cared too much about the kindly old woman to do that to her. So… with no other agenda than to get him sobered up and presentable before he saw his grandmother, Ambers shoved the man she once loved into her bed, took off his shoes, belt and wallet and pulled the covers over him. Once she had situated him, she grabbed a change of clothes, shut the bedroom door and made her bed on the lumpy couch.
It was almost four in the morning when she was awoken by the sound of a heavy body hitting the ground. She almost didn't identify it until she realized she was sleeping in the living room. Concerned and annoyed, she went into the bedroom and found Cane slowly picking himself up off the floor.
She flipped the light switch.
"Where am I?" Cane asked groggily, squinting at the light.
"My place," she answered carefully, not wanting him to misinterpret anything.
"You're drunk. Kay would be upset if she saw you like this," she explained, not coming any closer than the foot of the bed.
Rubbing his face, Cane looked around the foreign bedroom for a moment. "How did I get here?"
She could already hear the accusations. "Doesn't matter; wasn't easy though."
He finally looked at her, noting the long sleeved pajamas she wore like an armor and then looked at his own rumpled clothes. It would kill him to ask the question but their state of dress said it all.
"Nothing happened," she said quietly, correctly reading his thought and too tired to really care now. "Don't worry, I know where I stand. Go back to sleep, Cane," she advised and shut the light with a sigh. "I'll wake you in the morning."
"What?" barely making him out in the darkness.
"Can you sit with me for a minute?" he asked, patting the space next to him, feeling deeply ashamed for having even had the kind of thoughts that he knew would hurt her. She hadn't tried anything… hadn't said anything of substance to him for months now. He shouldn't have jumped down her throat like that.
There was a silent pause as Amber considered it a moment.
"Please?" he said quietly into the darkness.
A long sigh followed before Amber approached, sat down next to him and said nothing more. She was too emotionally exhausted to fight anymore. She didn't want to do this right now. All she wanted was sleep; something she knew that Cane needed too. "You should get some more rest and let the alcohol burn through your system. Everything will be better in the morning. You can call Lily then."
"How'd you know it was about Lily?"
"Wasn't Mrs. Chancellor and wasn't your mom," she shrugged, "I took an educated guess that it was the third woman in your life."
He was silent, feeling torn with needing to open up and not wanting to open up to Amber. But he was still too drunk and too tired to care much now. "She won't deal with it. Won't let me in and share this with her."
She didn't need to ask what the 'it' was. "It's hard; losing a child. It changes you… not always but it changes you. And it's harder for women then for men, I don't care what anyone says. We're the ones that carry that life."
"Was it hard for you?" he wanted to know.
"Do you still think about it?" knowing that the question was stupid and he shouldn't have asked. Talk about pouring salt into a wound.
Amber smiled sadly, "Yes. Every time I see a baby."
There was an unbearable pain in her voice. Cane remembered the way she had looked when she spoke of the two children she buried out in Los Angeles and the child she considered hers that she lost. Those losses stuck with her everyday. Cane knew that it was painful – he feels it – but he couldn't really imagine what it was like for Amber, having gone through it twice over and had even held her dead baby in her arms. "I'm sorry," he whispered, feeling it for the first time since she told him. Placing an arm around her shoulder, he suddenly regret that he brought it up.
The hold was too familiar so she shrugged his arm away. "Get some sleep, Cane."
"Amber," he reached for her again in the darkness and found her too close. "I really am sorry. I didn't mean to bring up bad memories." He held her against him, suddenly feeling as if he was sharing his loss for the first time. "I just… no one really understands and… I don't want my mom to worry so I can't talk to her about it."
She sighed, allowing him to hold her, to share their mutual understanding of the kind of loss that no time could really ever heal. "It does get easier," she lied for his sake.
He nodded his head, having heard this so many times before. His head was heavy with grief, the kind of grief that he never allowed himself to feel until now. He's always had to be strong, for Lily. Now… now he was letting go. And he cried for a tiny life that didn't even have a chance. His hold tightened as he allowed himself to feel the loss of that hope he had pinned on the baby that never was and will never be.
Amber let him cry. She didn't say anything but let him cry. And when he sat down again, she allowed him to pull her with him. When he cried himself dry and became too tired to sit, she allowed him to pull her into the bed with him; letting him hold onto something solid and anchor himself. And when he woke an hour later, still dazed with pain and needing something more, she allowed him to find comfort in her.
She didn't say a word, didn't even cry when he called Lily's name. She just let him be.
The fusion of guilt he felt for that night had manifested itself into nightmares of Lily finding out. He simply couldn't imagine hurting his girl that way. He had asked Amber outright the next morning if she was going to tell Lily and had felt immediately ashamed when Amber's usually bright eyes dulled and she shook her head. Lily would never hear it from her, she had said. And for whatever the reason, Cane believed her. That was the last time he had any contact with her. It was actually the last time he had given her any thought.
And now, he was worried.
Picking up his phone, he dialed home. "Hey Esther, is my grandmother around?"
"I'm not going to lie to you Amber, this isn't going to be easy," Dr. Keller said quietly as she sat down behind her desk and looked at the sad young woman before her. "Given your medical history, the chances of your being able to carry this baby to term is…" the look in Amber's eyes was terrible. This was always the part of her job she hated. "Well, the odds are against you."
"I know," Amber replied quietly. She's been quiet since Dr. Keller had confirmed the pregnancy. In her head, she had already been preparing herself for this moment. "I'm not terminating if that's what you're getting at."
"I'm not. But I want you to be realistic about this and not get your hopes too high."
"I'm well aware of the risks," she replied before taking a deep breath. She couldn't imagine not going through with the pregnancy, even if it meant chancing her cracked heart again. "What do I have to do?"
"First, I'm going to refer to you a specialist. Someone that is an expert with high risk pregnancies. I don't have to tell you that the next couple of months are going to be crucial and that most miscarriages happen…"
"Within the first trimester," Amber nodded her head and gave a quick smile of resignation, "I know the statistics." She also knew that making it through the first and second, or even her third, trimester does not guarantee her a child.
Keller nodded her head and ripped the page from her notepad. "Prenatal vitamins. Very important, take them like your life depends on them."
She nodded and took the prescription sheet and the card the OB/GYN pulled from her desk drawer. Amber understood the risks better than most and probably was as prepared for this as she was her last two pregnancies. No, that's not true. The last time she was pregnant, she had been happily married and had looked forward to a family… a real family of her own with Rick.
It felt like a lifetime ago.
And now… now she was alone and pregnant. "Maybe it was just as well," she muttered to herself as she tucked everything into her purse. "God knows what I'd do if there was actually a man around. Probably just repeat everything all over again." She almost smirked at that thought then looked down at her stomach. No, she wasn't going to go through that again. She wasn't sure if she could live with another loss in her life. And maybe this would be good. She's already sworn off men. It would just be her and her baby; the perfect combination. No man, no complication, no fights, no stupid moves… no risks.
"Amber?" Adam Wilson, aka Victor Newman Jr., stopped in the hall and looked at the pale blonde woman with her big sad eyes. "What are you doing here?"
For a moment, Amber considered running in the other direction. She wasn't ready to talk to anyone yet and she couldn't think of anyone else she didn't want to talk to more than Adam… except maybe Cane. But running would be a sure tail that something was up. So, consummate conniving little liar that she was, Amber forced a smile onto her face and walked toward him, feeling her heart pound with every step. "Just a check up, the usual rigmarole. What are you doing here?"
Adam eyed her carefully, noting the strain around her eyes though she hid it well, then glanced in the direction she had came from: Obstetrics-Gynecology. "Routine check up, same as you. The company requires their executives to do it for insurance purposes." He shrugged, expressing his disinterest in it. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, why won't it be?" she said it with force cheer.
He gave her a reprimanding look. "You and Daniel?"
Wincing, she took a breath and sighed it out slowly. "It's over, nothing more to see there. Closing the book on that particular chapter of my life." She didn't want to continue the conversation, wishing only to get to the office, finish her day then go home to figure out what her next step is going to be. Because there will have to be a next step.
"I'm sorry to hear that," Adam said unconvincingly, still watching her carefully.
"That's okay," she assured him then moved to leave, "I better get back to work now. Only thing that's really worthwhile in my life anymore." She shrugged, smiled ironically then turned to leave.
"Amber," he stopped her with a quick hand on her arm, "If you need to talk…"
She shook her head quickly. "I'm okay."
"What I mean is …"
"I'm okay," she repeated with a little more meaning this time.
He nodded and let go, watching her as she stepped away and left. He continued to trail her with his eyes, watching the way her legs moved in a quick hurried way, her hand straying to her hair, tucking a lock of spun gold behind her ear. And he remembered the last time he's seen her do that same thing.
The bourbon burned its way down his throat. Indigo Jazz Club was alive with people, music and singles looking to remember or to forget. Adam was there for both reasons. To remember that he was his mother's son and to forget that the was also Victor Newman Jr. The silent and painful battles with his sister was starting to wear at his soul. And while he would dearly love to rip into Victoria sometimes, he knew that his mother would never approve of such behavior. He was a gentleman… that was what his mom had wanted for him to be. And he will fulfill his mother's wishes if it's the last thing he did. But the fights with Victoria were becoming more than he could bear… even after she left Newman Enterprises.
It was ironic really, he hadn't meant to start the fight this time. He had promised himself that he would make every effort to get along with Victoria now that they were no longer clashing in the boardroom. After all, for better or for worse, she was his family now. And what had he promised his mother? That she shouldn't worry about him, that he would stay with family. And Victoria was family. He did want a relationship with her… just not the 'claw until you draw blood' type she seem to be determined to have with him. He's never had a sister before. And he genuinely envied the kind of love and support he saw her give freely to Nick.
Turning Adam observe the quiet blonde by his side for a moment. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul; this soul was bleeding slowly to death. "Bad day?"
She turned big blue eyes to him and smiled rather depressingly. "Bad month but today has been especially gruesome." She eyed the stiff drink in his hand. "You too?"
He whirled the amber liquor in the glass and nodded his head. "It's been a bad couple of months," then sipped the drink slowly. The burning was lessening, which meant that he was finally getting drunk enough to stop feeling the pain.
"I hear you," she replied quietly, thanking the bartender for the funny red drink. "I'm Amber."
"Adam," he replied, taking the hand she held out to him.
"I know," she smiled again, a little less sad and a little more amused. "I'm with Restless Styles."
Dawning came, "Ah." Brother Nick strikes again.
She smiled again, a little more amused again. "He hates your guts you know."
He didn't have to ask who the 'he' was. Shrugging as if it didn't matter, though it really did, he sipped his drink again. "Family, what can you do?"
"A lot," Amber replied quietly, remembering something and allowing it to depress her again.
"You here alone?"
"Yes," nodding her head. "Always alone," she sighed rather resignedly to herself.
Adam understood that only too well. "Me too."
She looked at him again for a moment with soft understanding in her eyes before turning her smile into something teasing as if trying to cheer him up. "What? No hot young thing on your arm? You're ruining my mental image of the privileged son here?" She gave him another smile. "You should be living very Bruce Wayne like."
He didn't say anything, didn't want to get into his sordid life story. But he appreciated her efforts. He returned it with a smile. She seemed to accept it, sipping her girly drink silently next to him, not even bothering with conversation now as if sensing it was not needed or wanted. It was a first for him and it intrigued him. "Let me guess: just out of a relationship."
A burst of pained laughter erupted from her red lips. "Something like that. More like a past relationship come back to haunt and taunt me."
"I'm sorry." And he was.
"Me too," she sighed and tossed the drink back. "Well, it's been swell but…"
He reached over and stopped her, suddenly not wanting to be alone. "Can I buy you another drink?"
She looked at him, then down at the hand on her arm, then back up again. Her hand strayed to her hair and she tucked a blonde lock back over her ear. Something shifted in her eyes. "How about somewhere quieter?"
There was an understanding and an agreement in the one look they exchanged. Dropping money on the counter, he led her out in silence. What was there to say after all? Five minutes later he was checking into the Athletic Club, his companion for the night waiting by the elevators. She hadn't say anything, just simply stopped there as he proceeded to the front desk. Fifteen minutes later they were a tangle of sweaty limbs, bleeding hearts, desperate needs and the taste of alcohol on their lips. Neither of them said anything. It wasn't needed. They understood what tonight was: two angry, sad souls needing a little comfort from each other. No strings, no regrets, no obligations.
Amber was gone by morning. The only evidence of their night was the strands of golden hair Adam found tangles around his fingers.
He had thought of her at odd moments in the last four weeks and on a few occasions even thought of contacting her. But he always managed to stop himself in time. After all, he understand what that night was and had known that they had silently agreed that there would be no talking about it. But he still thought of her; strangely enough, wondered what pains she had been running from that night.
Turning he glanced in the direction she came from again. A tiny kernel of concern wrinkling his brows.
The day had been long and had gotten that much longer once Amber got to the office. Phyllis had been beyond pissed and yelled at Amber for a good fifteen minutes before Nick showed up and interjected with what Amber had attempted to tell his wife: that he had given Amber permission to take the morning off for a doctor's appointment. Phyllis had then spent the next three minutes apologizing; Amber just waved it off, she was too tired to care.
And now that she was back in her own apartment, in the blissful silence of her own space, she wanted to cry. But crying was no good. She had cried enough in the last two months to drown Noah's Arch. What she needed was a plan; plain and simple.
"Okay baby," she said to the region of her belly. "It's going to be just you and me now okay? There will be no Daddy involved because we both know how well Mommy does with a man around in her life. She tends to do really idiotic things and get herself into serious trouble." She smiled rather amusedly at the thought. "Happily ever after is for good girls. And your mommy is anything but a good girl." She sighed and looked at herself in the mirror for a moment.
She was pretty, she knew that, not conventionally beautiful like Lily Winters was. "Girls from the wrong side of the track. That's what you are, Amber Moore. And girls like us don't have Prince Charming riding to our rescue. That's for little Princesses like Lily Winters and Victoria Newman." She glanced down again. "But girls like us learn to survive.
"Well, we're good at that if nothing else. And surviving is very important. And I've always been happier and a better person when I have kids around me so…. You, my baby, are going to bring out the best in me. No more schemes. No more harebrain ideas. No chasing after a man. No chasing after money. This is me taking care of myself and you," poking herself in the stomach. "We're going to be all right: just you and me."
To be continued…