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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14. Tick Tock Goes the Clock - Chanelle

Over the next few days, a sort of routine is formed.

 

Conor and I are up at sunrise. We meet up, and then head to either the crime scene, or to the police station. It took a hell of a lot of fast talking at first to get into the station. We're not supposed to be there. But since this is the Lawson estate, and things are done differently around here, we're now allowed. I guess that Conor and I are Arran's defence. We spend ten, twelve, sometimes as much as fifteen hours going through CCTV and statements and stuff like that. It's thankless work, but it has to be done. Then Conor takes me home, and I sleep for a couple of hours, before starting the whole thing again.

 

I see Arran as often as I can. Every time I see him, he comments on how tired I look, how pale I am, how I'm steadily losing weight. What can I tell him? I can't tell him that I can't sleep in that bed without him or I'll have nightmares that make me scream out loud in my sleep, how the long days are steadily wearing me down, how I hardly have time to eat, not that I want to. I can't tell him how heavy the burden that I carry is. Conor takes some of the weight, but the burden is still so heavy that I can barely stand. I know that if I fail, then Arran will die. No one should ever have to go through this kind of pain - no one. And I know what I'll do if Arran dies. I know that he'd want me to keep going, but thst would be too hard. Conor is my best - my only - friend, but I'm sure he'd understand. If Arran were to die, I'd make sure that I followed soon after.

 

I wake up as the sun rises, the light hitting my face through the half open curtains. I slowly open my eyes, amazed that I manged to sleep. I slowly lift my head, so I can check the clock. Quarter to six. Normal, but usually I would have lain here and cried until morning. But the hour or so of sleep does make a difference. I still feel horribly tired, but it isn't as bad as it was. I stretch, and sit up. I flick my hair out of my face, and stand up. I dress, deciding to actually make an effort for a change. I pull on grey skinny jeans, a white t shirt that has a black and white picture of Eminem on it, and my purple tartan shirt. I step into my white high tops, and leave the apartment. I try and spend as little time as I can in that apartment. It feels so horribly empty, and every inch of it makes me think of Arran.

 

I step outside. I lift my face to the sky, enjoying the feeling of the cool breeze on my skin. I start walking down the quiet streets. No one is up at this time, apart from Conor and me. The gangs will be in bed till noon nursing hangovers from the night before. That keeps the streets safe, but only for a little while. It's nice to be able to walk down the street without worrying about being killed. I reach the end of the street, where I'm meeting Conor. And he's aready there.

 

He has his face tilted to the sun. The sunlight picks out the golden highlights in his dark hair, and it turns his skin a dusky gold. His blue eyes gleam, and he suddenly looks... pretty damn good. If I wasn't so hopelessly in love with Arran, then I might have liked him. Conor hears me coming. He turns in my direction, and smiles at me. I smile back. A week or so ago, the very thought of him would have had me running away as fast as I could. But now, he's the only thing keeping me sane. He's my best and my only friend.

"Hi, Chanelle." He greets me.

"Hey." I reply. He puts his arm around me, and I enjoy the physical contact. I can't touch Arran anymore - whenever he sees me, an officer is always in the room, and it's against the rules to let me touch him. If I try, the officer comes over and physically pushes us apart. It's slowly corroding my soul not being able to hug him, or kiss him, or even hold his hand. And sometimes he looks so... so beaten that it breaks my heart. And I can't hold him and tell him that everything is going to be ok. Not anymore.

"Hopefully we'll find something good today." Conor says. He amazes me. Every day he says the same thing, has the same hope. I don't know how he does it. I hope as well, never doubt that, but he is so positive. I don't know what I'd do without him.

"Yeah, with a bit of luck." I say, but my voice lacks the conviction that his has. Arran's trial is only three weeks away, and we only have one piece of decent evidence. It's not enough, far from it. Conor looks me right in the eye.

"Don't ever give up, Chanelle. There is evidence out there - we just have to find it." He says, and I believe him, I really do.

 

We arrive at the station, so there are no more oppurtunities for conversation. We are let in, and the days work begins. We watch hours of CCTV, have discussions with the forensic teams, think of reasons. And all of it makes me want to scream with frustration. That's my other half out there, I want to yell. My soulmate. Can we stop pissing about and actually find something that wil save his life and mine too? But I don't. I bite my tongue, hold on to Conor like I'll never let him go, and go along with the pointless charade.

 

This goes on and on until midnight. I glance at the clock, and then at Conor. He is supposed to be reading a forensics report, but his head is on the table that he's sitting at, and he's fast asleep. I don't blame him. He's been up for eighteen hours at the very least. He must be exhausted. I smile. He looks so cute when he's asleep. I stand up, and walk over. I reach out, and lightly shake his shoulder. He groans, and frowns. He opens his eyes, and his expression turns into one of shock when he sees me.

"Hey, sleepyhead." I say gently. He sits up.

"Oh God, I'm sorry." He says frantically, stifling a yawn.

"It's alright. Come on, let's get you out of here." I say, still smiling at him. He drags himself to his feet, and we walk out. We're just about to leave the staton, when I become aware of someone calling after us. Calling my name.

"Miss Redfern! Chanelle Redfern! Conor Mackenzie!"

I stop walking, and turn around at the sound of my name. My name - both first and last - is very distinctive so I'm pretty sure that it isn't another Chanelle Redfern. Wait  - Conor Mackenzie? I look at Conor stunned. He doesn't meet my eyes. He has a hell of a lot of explaining to do.

I turn around to see a young male officer running after me and Conor. He skids to a halt in front of us.

"I thought I'd missed you!" He says, still catching his breath.

"Can we help you?" Conor asks. The officer suddenly takes on a serious expression, and I know that whatever he's got to tell us, it ain't good news.

"Yes. I have news for you. The date of Arran Mackenzie's trial." He says. "It's the fourteenth of October." Conor and I exchange a look.

"That can't be right. That's a week from today. We haven't gathered enough evidence yet. It's not meant to be for another three weeks." Once again, I thank my rarely lucky stars for Conor. I couldn't have said all of that, or so calmly. The officer looks uncomfortable.

"It was moved forward."

"No..." I gasp softly. My gasp doesn't reveal the chaos going on inside. My world was shattered when Arran was arrested. I've managed to pick up some of the pieces with Conor's help. I reassured myself that we'd have enough evidence by the time for Arran's trial. But now my whole world has been shattered again.

The officer says something else, and I think it's an apology or something like that. But I don't hear it properly. I'm too broken to hear anything but the voice of the only sane thing in this mad mad word - Conor.

"Come on Chanelle." He says gently. He puts his arm around my shoulders, and I lean in to him. I go where he leads me without even thinking about it. That's it. It's over. We can't get enough evidence in that time to save Arran. I've let him down, and now he is going to die. Before I know it, I'm at my apartment.

"Are you okay?" Conor asks. I look into his face, and I know if he leaves tonight, I'll go crazy.

"Please don't leave me." I beg him. Conor looks completely shocked, and I don't blame him. I've let him in, not as far as Arran, but I've let him in further than anyone else. But apart from the first time we met, I haven't let him see me cry or be weak. But I can't hide it anymore.

"I'm not going anywhere." Conor says softly, and tears start streaming down my face. I reach out for him, and he meets me more than halfway.

 

Conor takes me in his arms and holds me tight as I lose control and start crying.

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