3:45AM

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I checked my phone again, 2AM. A sigh escaped my lips and I dug my hands further into my pocket. Standing on the opposite side of a brick wall was a wild party that separated me and my frineds. Inside the sorority house my friend was drinking away her stress, dancing out her hurt, and hooking up to forget her reality. The wind nipped my ears and I shrank into my jacket and curled my toes inside my Hunter boots. God, I hate being the designated driver. I leaned back into my car and breathed out an air into the wind and watched it dissipate into the black sky. Thirty minutes passed and still no sign of my friend. Meg, where are you? I texted. “It’s 2AM, you asked me to come pick you up and I’m here.” As my thumbs hovered over the send button, the door slammed open and my friend Meg was slumped over a guy. He began carrying her down the alleyway and I called out, “Hey, what are you doing with Meg?” I ran down the street to catch up with the guy who turned around to say, “Oh, shoot. Are you the DD (designated driver)? Saw her passed out in the bathroom, I was gonna take her home.” I recognized the guy to be Don Michaels. He went to our school a couple years a go but then he disappeared and nobody knew when or why, which was strange for a small town like ours. It seemed like everybody knew everything about everyone.  “Yeah, I am, you can just give her to me.” He helped me carry her over to my car and helped me put her in my car. “Thanks” I smiled and turned to face him. He hadn’t changed a bit, still wearing that Def Leppard hoodie he would always wear in high school. There was something about him that I found attractive and so when I would catch him in the hallways staring and I would smile in his direction but he never made a move. This time it was different, he smiled at me and asked, “Hey, do you mind if I catch a ride with you?”


I was driving down route 70 and casually slipped glances at Don who kept furtively stealing glances at Meg. “So you like her, huh” I cleared my throat and asked. “What? Oh na, I’m just worried that she might throw up in your car” and we both shared a laugh. He looked at me for what seemed a little too long and I suppressed a smile as I gripped the steering wheel a little bit tighter. As I was about to turn left onto Flint Street, he asked, “Hey you mind stopping by the brook over there?” “For what?” I asked. “I dunno, you wanna share a drink?” “Sounds good to me” I said as I swerved to a clearing. “Cool” Don said as he rummaged in his back pocket for his wallet. As he went to the convenience store across the street, I turned on the heat for Meg, making sure she wouldn’t be cold, the time read 2:55AM. Just as I locked the doors, I saw him come back with two bottles of Svedka.  “Well, that was fast” I said, checking my watch, 2:56AM. “Short line” he said nonchalantly, shrugging his shoulders. As he shoved his ID in the back of his pockets I caught a glance at it. The guy in the picture definitely did not look like Don. Figures I thought and opened the bottle with the sleeve of my Amherst sweatshirt. I mean I guess that’s cute. He’s a bad boy. We casually talked for a few minutes as we drank the burning liquid. One sip after another, my vision began to go blurry and my words slurred together. It was odd how I seemed to be the only one of us getting drunk. But before I could ask him anything, the alcohol took a toll on me and I blacked out.


My head was pounding as I woke up to fluorescent lights and noticed an IV drip that was attached to my arm. In front of my hospital bed, the time read 10:15AM as my eyes tried to adjust. As I blinked a couple times I woke up to see two officers outside what seemed to be my hospital room window and a nurse who kept glancing over at me. I heard a “Oh, she’s awake” and in came the nurse and the cops. The nurse unhooked me from the IV, “Ms. Brien your blood pressure and heart seem fine, you may leave now,” she said as she looked at the ground. One of the cops approached me and said, “Ms. Brien, you are under arrest for the murder of Meg Ryan.” “Wait what?” I said, “what do you mean murder?” “Around 3:45AM, we found your car in flames. The security footage outside the convenience store caught somebody pouring gasoline all over your car and setting it on fire. A witness said that you were the only one there around that time.” he said. “Wait, what!? No, I was over by the brook drinking with Don, I couldn’t have killed her, she’s my best friend!” I exclaimed as I sat up quickly. “Please put your hands where I can see them please.”  My heart dropped; as he proceeded to cuff me and read me the Miranda rights all I could pay attention to was the clock. 10:20AM- the time I was arrested.


***


“Hold on, Ms. Brien you mentioned Don Michaels in your story earlier ago.” the prosecutor piped up. I nodded, “Yes I did.” His eyes darkened and a smirk appeared on his face. “Ms. Brien, Don Michaels has been dead for two years.” My heart stopped beating and I looked to meet his gaze. “What do you mean?” I asked as my vision began to go blurry. “Mr. Michaels was caught an accident involving a DUI. Which is interesting because when I was working on his case his death read 3:45AM.” He looked at me hard and my lips slightly parted tears began falling down my face. “I- I’m sure it’s a coincidence. “Perhaps,” he said. “Perhaps it is also a coincidence that your car is the exact same 2014, black Macan that killed Mr. Michaels?” He asked as he held a picture up from one of his files. In front of me was a black Macan that had the same scratch below the side view mirror as my car.  Before I could answer, he called in another officer to set up the court date. All I could do was stare at the the Def Leppard sweatshirt that sat in a plastic bag in the bin marked “evidence” and the clock that read 3:45PM, the time that I lost my freedom.






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