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Yesterday’s rain stopped before morning, but the clouds remained, hanging low in the sky, heaving their bulk overhead. Peter glanced uneasily at them as he went to the backyard and the Ford his dad was restoring. The old softball field where he was to meet Dante was probably a muddy mess. They’d leave obvious footprints again.

The Fairlane had been sanded to the metal and primed a dull gray. Dad had pulled the chrome off, but the aggressive headlights and retro tail fins betrayed its classic pedigree. Dad told him that it would not be the car he learned to drive in, and that it would be a cold day in hell before he’d let him borrow it for a date. Dad said, “A car like this is just two couches on four wheels. I might just as well give you a hotel room key.”

Dad embarrassed him when he talked that way. Dante thought that Peter’s dad was cool, however. “My stepdad doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. Good thing Mom didn’t meet him first, or I might never have been conceived.”

Peter rested his hand on the trunk, checking the area before opening it. He could see the back of his and Christy’s house from here, but tall bushes and privacy fences hid the rest of the neighborhood. No one was out, and he saw no movement at the windows. With a deep breath, he opened the trunk. The duffle bag was where he’d left it. Checking behind him one more time, he opened the bag.

The gun was gone.

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