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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16. Witness - Conor

When I wake up, I have no idea where I am.

 

All I know is that I'm warm, warmer than I've been in a long time. I open my eyes, to locate the source of the warmth. What I find surprises me, but in a good way, and I know where I am now.

 

I'm on the sofa at Chanelle and Arran's place. Chanelle is draped over me, her head on my chest, her arm around my waist, her legs entwined with mine, a blanket over her. That explains the source of the warmth. She looks so peaceful when she's asleep. She's no longer constantly on the defensive, she's completely relaxed. I remember what she told me last night. A wave of murderous rage crashes over me, turning my vision crimson, and clenching my fists. I take a deep breath, and force the rage away. I can't get mad when she's here - she'll get inside my head, and talk me out of it. I'll get mad later.

 

Instead, I look down at Chanelle. Hands shaking slightly, I wrap my arms around her, lying my head on the top of hers. I really admire Arran for holding back his rage for so long. I mean, I was almost out the door to go kill Jordan, and the only feelings I have for her are of friendship. Arran, on the other hand, loves her, body and soul. Truthfully, I'm surprised Jordan is still breathing. Chanelle is so strong to have come back from that torture. I hope Jordan burns in hell for all eternity.

 

I remember seeing Chanelle when we were in school. I never actually talked to her, but now I wish I had. Arran noticed her, straight away. He was always staring at her, every time she was near him. I picked up on it pretty quickly. I asked him about it, but he denied that he liked her. I don't know if he noticed, but she was always sneaking glances at him. It was glaringly obvious that they should have been together, even then. I told Arran that she liked him, but he didn't believe me.

 

Chanelle murmurs something in her sleep, and wriggles even closer to me. I lightly kiss the top of her head. For the first time, I consider what could happen if, God forbid, Arran was found guilty. What would I do? What would Chanelle do? How would I live with myself? All I know is that I would look after Chanelle, no matter what it took.

Why am I even thinking about this? Arran is not going to be found guilty.

 

Chanelle mutters something again. As I watch, she opens her eyes slowly. Her eyes widen when she sees that I am still here.

"Hi." I say, smiling at her.

"You stayed." She says.

"Yeah. Sorry, I didn't mean to sleep over." I tell her. I hadn't meant to stay. But when she begged me not to leave her... How could I have said no?

"It's fine. Thanks for not leaving me." She says, and her voice is full of gratitude. I swallow, not sure how to react to this.

"Anytime." I say. She smiles at me, and for a second, I forget about all of the bad things in my life. I forget that my baby brother is being wronged deeply by the people of the law, who are supposed to protect him. I forget that his trial is in a week, and we have almost nothing to defend him with. I forget the feeling of helplessness that had chased me ever since Arran was arrested. For a second, when I'm lost in her smile, everything seems good.

 

But only for a second.

 

"So, we have a week?" She mutters, her smile fading. I sigh, as my vision of the world is slowly polluted by all the bad things again.

"Yeah. Great - that's nowhere near enough time. What time is it?" I ask her. Chanelle checks her watch.

"Five in the morning." She says.

"Listen, I'm going to go see if I can find my friend. He might know something. You stay here, get some sleep. You look exhausted." I say. Only part of it is the truth - I have to get out of here so I can think properly think about what to do next. Chanelle looks exhausted, eyes veined red, pale, dark smudges underneath her eyes.

"Last night is the only night I've slept for more than an hour ever since... well, you know." She says, and even her voice sounds tired beyond belief. How has she been able to live on that amount of sleep? I haven't been sleeping well either, but I can't believe that she hasn't collapsed from sheer exhaustion yet.

"How come?" I enquire gently.

"Bad dreams." She says, shivering. "You kept them away last night." I hold her just a little bit tighter. Poor thing. If I thought that my dreams were bad, then hers must be off the scale.

"Happy to be of service, honey." I kiss her forehead. "Get some rest. I'll be back in a couple of hours, ok?"

"Ok. I'll see you then." Chanelle detangles herself from me. I climb to my feet, and wrap the blanket around her.

"Sleep well, honey. Bye."

"Bye."

 

I walk out of the apartment. Just before I close the door, I take one last look at Chanelle. She's already asleep. She has to be exhausted. At least she'll be able to get some sleep.

 

When I'm outside, I start walking. I don't know where I'm going, but I know it won't be to the prison where Arran is. How do I break the news to him that we only have a week left to save him? How do I tell him that we are running out of time and out of hope? I have to think, I have to decide what we do next. I have to come up with something. I can't ask Chanelle, she's far too fragile right now, and she needs to rest.

 

Oh God, what do we do? What can we do? We can't keep looking through endless hours of useless CCTV, it's not getting us anywhere. We have to do something useful. But I can't think what. Oh, God, if you are really out there, help me. I've never asked for anything like this before, because I didn't believe that God existed. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and times have never been so desperate. God, please, help my brother. He didn't do what people are saying he did. Please, I've just found him after looking for two years, I can't lose him again. I'll go crazy, I'll lose my mind... And then there's Chanelle! He loves her, and she loves him. I've never seen two people more meant to be. If he ends up in prison, or dead, it'll destroy her. Don't let that happen. Chanelle doesn't deserve that, no one does. God, if you can hear me-

 

My prayers are abruptly cut off when I round a corner, and collide with a large, solid body.

 

The impact knocks me off of my feet. I land arse first on the ground. Ouch! I look up at whoever it is that I collided with, scowling, ready to give them a piece of my mind - and then some. But when I see who it is, my anger vanshes like it was never there at all.

"Conor?" Dec says, and he seems very tall from my perspective. "What're you doing down there?"

"It wasn't exactly planned, Dec." I say, giving him a look. Dec just laughs as he offers me a hand. I take it, and my arm is almost yanked out of its socket as Dec pulls me to my feet.

"Where were you off to?" Dec asks. I shrug.

"Anywhere." I say. Dec nods, looking confused.

"What's happening with your brother's trial?" Dec enquires. I tense up.

"We were meant to have a month. But we only have a week." I say, trying desperately to stay in control.

"Oh Conor, I'm sorry." Dec says.

"Did you find anything?" I ask, a sudden burst of hope shooting through me.

"No." The last bit of hope I had withers and dies. My shoulders slump, and I have no idea what I'm going to do now.

"But I think I have something that can help you." Dec says. My head snaps up, the hope returning.

"What is it? No matter how small it is, it'll help."

"The thing is, I think that Jarrod and me might have seen Arran on the night of the murder. At least I think it was him..."

"How do you mean you think it was him? You know Arran!" I exclaim. Dec has known Arran for years, as long as he's known me.

"Keeping in mind that I ain't seen the guy in years!" Dec objects. Oh... I hadn't thought of that.

"Tell me how you saw him."

"Well, on the night of the murder, Jarrod and me were... Um..." Dec blushes, and his voice trails off. I enjoy it for a second - speechless Dec is something to be savoured. And I always thought that Jarrod and him would get together.

"Hooking up, I get it," I fill in. Dec's blush deepens.

"Yeah. Anyway we were um... heading back to my place, and we went past the Lockhart house. We weren't really paying attention to anyone else, and we must have passed a few people. The only reason that I remembered this guy is because he walked into me. Jarrod and me were just passing the Lockhart house, when he came out. He looked really upset for some reason. Anyway, he bumped into me. I got a good look at him, and I'm sure that it was Arran."

"What did he look like?" I ask, not wanting to have false hope.

"Tallish, long black hair, as pale as a ghost, dark grey eyes." Dec says. My heart leaps - there is no one else that looks like that.

"And this was before the fire?" I ask, just wanting to be completely sure.

"Aye, there was no sign of a fire when I saw him." Dec confirms.

"Would you and Jarrod be willing to testify, even though the code of silence says you shouldn't?" I ask, my hands shaking with barely surpressed joy.

"Of course! That code is bullshit anyway."

 

I throw myself at Dec, and hug him tightly, something I don't often do. Dec nearly falls over from the impact, but doesn't complain. When I let him go, he is wearing his familiar smile.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! I owe you something huge." I say, lightheaded from elation.

"It's no problem, man. Arran was a good kid. And you're my best friend, man, what did you expect?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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