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“Really, Jeremy,” I asked, “whose car is it?”

He swung out of the alley behind my building, headed for the river. “It’s Hugo’s.”

“Your brother lent you his car?” Jeremy’s older brother, Hugo, is a serial monogamist when it comes to cars. He loves them passionately until the next beauty steals his heart. This one is a sleek Maserati Quattroporte Sport. The smooth roar of the engine begged us to open her up, to drive her harder, faster.

The sixty-five mile an hour speed limit was soul-crushing; Jeremy hovered between seventy-five and eighty as we raced north.

“My brother is the one who started this,” Jeremy said mysteriously.

It was three hours before we turned off the highway, following a set of directions Hugo had programmed into the navigation system. Gradually the ground we passed grew snowier, the trees frosted in the darkness.

The final turn brought us up a long, forested driveway. The snow was hard-packed under a fresh dusting; clearly Hugo had made arrangements for the safety of his car.

A small house–a cottage? a cabin?– was set in amongst the trees. The land stopped just behind it. The lake beyond was a smooth, white expanse under the starlight. The sky was clear, Orion in pursuit of his eternal quarry overhead.

We climbed out of the car and walked up a broad set of steps. A porch wrapped around the entire house. A swing lay upside down under a window, chains coiled underneath it. I looked up and found the rings which would hold it in fair weather.

Jeremy unlocked the front door and in we went.