The Manor; chapter 2

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Clayton McMillen

Hours came and passed. Or it could have been minutes. He'd lost myself in the memories as he had a tendency to do. He always tried to ward them off, but Clayton couldn't. Just like he couldn't ward him off. It went nearly the same every time. Catch his breath as he slammed into a wall, refuse to scream. Refuse to be weak. Punches, kicks, whacks with various objects. The severity of each beating changing with his moods.  

Clayton was laying on the bed, him arms flung back behind my head, not really asleep, but not really awake either. Simply lost, when his door opened. He sat up on one elbow to glare at whoever it was. One of the other delinquents. He'd forgotten her name. She was actually quite pretty, if not a bit skinny for his taste. Willowy though, and tall. With sharp features, waist length perfectly straight, silky black hair and blue eyes that were more violet than blue. Her eyes were dull and sad. The eyes of someone who had lost someone. 

"The doctors are insisting everyone come down for supper," she told him in a quiet voice that sounded as though it were seldom used. He moved to the edge of the bed and looked down, her narrow feet were bare. Guess that meant he didn't have to bother with shoes either. Clayton looked back up to those eyes. The pain in those eyes mirrored his exact feeling at the moment. Loss and longing. 

"What was your name?" he asked her as he stood to put on a tee-shirt.  

"Amber Manett." He nodded and, after he'd tugged the shirt over my head, held out a hand for her to shake. 

"Clayton McMillen," Clayton informed her. She fit a long, slender hand into his own. 

"Well, shall we go downstairs?" she asked me after we'd both let go. "I've already sent everyone else down. You were farthest from my room." He gave an easy shrug and gestured for her to lead the way. We walked out the door, down the hall, down another hall, and to the staircase, into the living room then into the dining room. He really hoped he wasn't going to be required to spend a lot of time about the house. A person could very easily get lost. And Clayton would just be happier in his room. Alone and sulking.  

"Ahh, so you two have joined us," Ruby Stewart smiled. He gave a half-hearted smile back. Amber didn't even attempt a smile. She barely even looked at them, just sat down at the table and looked blankly at the wood grains. Clayton sat in the only chair left, next to her, and copied her. He glanced at the steaming bowls on the table and opened. They all contained different colors sauces with some sort of meat in it. Dr. Stewart clapped her hands and grinned. 

"Indian food tonight!" None of the kids even tried to fake excitement. They all just looked at her like she was crazy. Perhaps she was. What the hell had coach gotten Clayton into?

Amber Manett

Apparently it was her turn to "gather up the kids." More like the delinquents, she thought. It was obvious something was wrong with each of them. She wished that would make her feel better about being here, but it really didn't. She still felt like shit. She still felt useless. And she still wanted a damn drink. The kid, Clayton, juts made her want one even more. With his dark, messy hair and his light green eyes he reminded her so much of Hunter. The height as well. Cayton's features, however, were more chiseled than his had been, his athlete's body more built and darker. She had preferred Hunter's lighter coloring and slimmer build, she thought. 

Amber looked blankly at the Indian food covering the table. Food didn't sound very appealing. The way Clayton was looking at the food as though it were going to bite back, he didn't seem to think so either. In fact, the only two people who looked like they had any interest were those two twins. Amber ignored them, she wasn't concerned with them. She wasn't concerned with anyone anymore. Not a whole hell of a lot mattered without him. 

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