Arran's Law

Chanelle's boyfriend Arran is accused of murder, and she goes on a one woman mission to clear his name.

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18. Bad To Worse - Conor

I stagger towards Chanelle's apartment, deliriously happy. Dec and Jarrod are going to be witnesses. They are going to testify about what they saw. They might save Arran's life. A smile spreads across my face. I know I must look crazy, but I don't care. The burden has been lifted. The weight is gone, and I can stand straight again.

 

I climb the stairs towards Chanelle's apartment hurriedly, almost falling in my haste. But I just laugh at myself. I'm so happy. Dec and Jarrod are the most amazing people ever. You see, they are going against the code of silence that we live by around here. Normally, if a crime is committed, no one says anything, because they know that the gangs will hunt them down and kill them. So Dec and Jarrod are literally putting their lives on the line for me. I know that if it was anyone else, any other situation, they would have kept quiet. I owe them everything - I owe them my life.

 

I stumble along the corridor towards Chanelle's apartment, eager to give her the good news. Finally, something good to tell her, something good in amongst all the bad. I go to knock on her door, but remember that she gave me a key not too long ago. I was so surprised when she pressed it into my palm. When I had voiced my astonishment, asked her why, she had told me that I was Arran's brother, her best friend, and she trusted me completely.

 

I fumble with the key for a moment, but eventually manage to get the door open. I almost fall flat on my face, looking very much like someone who is drunk.

"Chanelle!" I call, hardly unable to contain my happiness. "Baby, you'll never guess what's happened!" She doesn't reply, and I guess that she must still be asleep.

I walk in, expecting to see her where I'd left her, asleep on the sofa where we both slept last night. But when I fling open the door, high on happiness, she's not there. I frown to myself. Where could she be? I walk right inside, so I'm standing right in front of the sofa. I attempt to push away the faint tendrils of worry in the back of my mind. I look around, puzzled. But then I notice that the bathroom door is open, with the light on. And a pale hand and wrist is lying just outside.

 

Oh, my God.

 

I sprint over to her as fast as I can. She's just lying there, on the bathroom floor... I drop to my knees next to her, lifting her up so I'm holding her in my arms. I sweep her hair back, away from her face, and I realize how cold her skin is to the touch. How long has she been lying here?

"Chanelle? Baby, what happened?" My attempt to rouse her fails, and my panic goes nuclear. "Nelly? Nells, are you alright? C'mon, Nelly, open your eyes!" I run my fingers down her face, and her eyelashes flutter. I almost pass out with relief.

 

"Conor?" She mumbles, looking up at me.

"Hi, Nells. What happened to you? Are you alright?" I ask. As I do so, I take her cold hand in mine, and press my lips to her knuckles.

"You didn't see?" She asks.

"See what?" I enquire, confused. She closes her eyes for a second, as if composing herself. Then she gestures, and I look round. At first, I don't see it, have no idea what she's talking about.


Then I see it.

 

The test. The blue test. The positive test. Oh, God. She's pregnant. No... God, no. Not now. Any other time, but not now. A wave of sorrow crashes over me, and I feel my eyes prick with tears. I'm going to be an uncle. But the father is on trial for a murder he didn't commit. The father - what is my brother, what is Arran going to say?

If this is how I'm taking it, Chanelle must be in agony. I look back down at her, my shock clear on my face. She looks up at me, a single tear trickling down her cheek.

"Already has my sense of bad timing." She whispers. I don't know what to say. So I simply take her in my arms, letting her cry on my shoulder while I only let out the faintest of faint sobs.

I thought things couldn't get any worse. But they did.

 

And I'm scared - terrified - that they won't get better.

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