|The first thing I noticed was the heat. My sheets clung to my sweaty skin and the humid air was bloated with tension. A pounding noise sliced through the sleepy fog that clouded my thoughts and I kicked off the tangle of cotton entwined around my legs. Stumbling towards my front door, I dared a glance at the clock in the hall- it read 4:06 A.M.
More thuds, there was most definitely someone at the door. Silently cursing whoever was standing outside, I reluctantly pulled the door open a few inches, peeking around the edge to assess my unwelcome visitor.
“Jesus Sam, took you long enough. Get your shit, we’re going on a road trip!” A doe eyed blond stared at me expectantly from outside and I yanked the door open in surprise.
“Molly? You are aware it’s four in the morning, right?” I glared at my best friend, hoping against hope that this was just an incredibly realistic dream.
Molly pushed her way past me, tripping over the threshold and falling into my arms. I stared at her incredulously, “Are you drunk?” Ignoring my question, she stumbled into my bedroom, and then abruptly turned to face me with a serious look on her face.
“Sam…you’re wearing Spongebob boxers.” Molly broke down into a fit of giggles, her curly hair bouncing as her shoulders shook with a manic kind of laughter.
I glanced down at myself and was surprised to see she was right, in my tired stupor the night before I had donned an old boyfriend’s jersey and a pair of boxers that indeed sported the yellow cartoon character.
“Pack up. We’re getting out of this place, Sam!” I frowned uncertainly, but something in her voice compelled me to start shoving essentials into a worn backpack while she watched from her perch on my bed, hiccuping occasionally. After a few minutes of frantic scrambling, I finally zipped up my now stuffed bag and headed out the door towards my beat up truck.
Molly had her head leaned against the window, glancing nervously at me when she thought I wasn’t looking. Gritting my teeth, I swerved out of the road onto a patch of grass and turned towards the passenger seat. My friend’s face had gone white, and she was clutching the edge of her seat tightly.
“What the hell is going on?” I yanked up her sleeve to reveal a bluish bruise, “Did Eddie do this to you?” She pulled her arm away from me, tugging her shirt back into place. I saw tears well in her bright blue eyes.
“Just drop it, Samantha.” I punched the side of the wheel hard, clenching my jaw against the blinding pain that followed.
“I’m gonna kill him! I swear to God, Molly, this is the last time he hurts you, I’ll kill the bastard-“
“He’s already dead.” Molly looked up at me from under her dark lashes; hot tears spilling down her pale face. She made a sound like an injured animal and started to rock in her seat.
“I didn’t mean to, I didn’t, Sam. You have to believe me!” Molly clutched at my arm, digging her nails in to my flesh. Realization dawned on me, and suddenly the air in the car seemed suffocating, and I had to gasp for breath. Soft sobs emanated from the passenger seat, and the sharp feeling of Molly’s nails disappeared.
“Tell me what happened.” The fury that had overwhelmed me just moments ago disappeared as fast as it had arrived, replaced by a cold and clammy dread.
“Eddie was drunk, he hit me, I pushed him…It was an accident.” Her voice sounded small, pleading.
Clouds the color of Molly’s bruise had gathered over the lightening horizon, a sure sign of a storm. A drop of sweat trickled down the back of my neck as seconds, then minutes ticked by.
“Guess I’ve always wanted to visit Vegas.” I gave Molly a grim smile and pulled back onto the road.