I found a fast food restaurant and pulled through the drive-through, ordering lunch for Allison and myself. We parked in the back of the lot to eat. Then I searched the car.
I dug through the trunk looking for hidden weapons or anything that might indicate there was something else going on that I wasn’t aware of. Under the thin, grey carpet behind the wheel well I found a .22-caliber rifle. The entire gun was black, like it was for sniping. Except the caliber wasn’t right for a sniper rifle. But Dominic had always preferred the chrome barrels to black.
Allison climbed up front while I checked under the back seat. I found another pistol under each seat. One was a .45, the other a .44. “Allison, do not reach under these seats at all.” I left no room for questioning.
“Okay, Mommy,” she answered, her voice sounding timid and slightly fearful.
“It’s okay, baby,” I said looking up at her. “You should know there is a gun under your seat. So, if you lose something, let me know and I’ll get it for you. Okay?”
“Climb on back here, so I can check up front.”
I found the Baby Eagle under the driver’s seat. Apparently, Dominic had known I would want to drive and was prepared to oblige. I pulled the clip out, checked the chamber, then ran my hand along the barrel. The black metal was cool under my fingers. The textured rubber grips rubbed my palm. The weight of the weapon felt good in my hand. Familiar.
Sliding the clip back into place, I slid the gun back under the seat. Turning to Allison, I told her, “Buckle your seat belt, sweetie. We have to go meet Mr. Dominic.” I turned back to the front and fastened my own belt before starting the car and pulling out.
I felt better knowing more of what the odds were. At least I knew what I had at my disposal, and where to find it should I need it.
We reached our rendezvous point before Dominic, so I parked in one of the three lots facing the intersection.
Five minutes passed, and I began to get antsy. Dominic wasn’t usually late. After ten minutes, I started to worry. What if he got caught? Or worse, what if he tried to steal the wrong person’s car? We were in the sticks, after all. I wouldn’t have surprised if most of the people in the area carried a gun just because. What if he ditched us?
Seventeen minutes after we were supposed to meet, a dark blue Toyota Camry pulled in next to us. Dominic was driving. He signaled for me to follow him, and we headed in the general direction of nowhere.
I followed him for about thirty minutes before we turned onto a dirt road. The road wound through a forest. Several smaller roads, if that were possible, branched off intermittently. Eventually, Dominic turned down one of these roads, and we drove until we found an out-of-the-way pull-off.
Dominic had me park the Mustang as deep as I could get it. When I turned off the motor and climbed out, I couldn’t see the road anymore. Good.
I popped the trunk and helped transfer our bags from one car to the other. I wondered what Dominic would do about the guns since he hadn’t told me about them, but he surprised me. After Allison was tucked into the back of the Camry, he pulled the weapons from their hiding places.
I stood in silence as I watched each gun come out of hiding and get a once-over before he handed them to me. When he pulled out the Baby Eagle, he looked me in the eye for the first time since we’d parted ways. “Here’s your gun,” he said handing the weapon to me and taking the others. “Go in the woods and shoot a couple rounds to get the feel of it.”
“Do you have more rounds?” The one thing I hadn’t found was more ammo. But, if it came to it, we’d need more than what the clips held.
“Of course,” he said with a shake of his head and slight smirk.
I nodded and walked into the trees. About twenty yards in I stopped and looked around for a good target tree. I wanted big and not to far. About fifteen yards to my left was a fat oak trunk. Perfect.
I clicked the safety off, loaded the chamber, and held the gun in front of me with both hands and arms bent. Looking through the sights with both eyes, my focus started at the back of the pistol and traveled down the barrel to the target tree trunk. Blowing my breath out, I squeezed the trigger.
The gun kicked a bit, my wrists and bent elbows taking the shock before settling the sights back where they started. I squeezed out three more in succession, forgoing the breathing exercise. After all, in the heat of battle I wouldn’t have time for worrying about my breathing.
Walking the distance to the target tree, I checked out the pattern my shots had laid out. It was a tight circle the size of a half-dollar.
Content, I headed back to the cars and found Dominic switching out the license plates. He put the plate from the Mustang on the Camry and hid the Camry plates in the trunk. He looked at me with a glowing smile.
“Well? How’d you like ‘er?” he asked.
“Accurate. Easy sights. Not too much kick. It’s a good gun.” I began to close the distance to the car, and he stood. “Thanks,” I added softly. I leaned in and gave his cheek a tender kiss. “I feel better with this.”
“Good.” His arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me close. His warm breath fanned my ear. “It’s hot to see you with a gun in your hands again.”
I pushed against him. “Don’t get used to it. This is only for necessity. I don’t want a gun in my house.” Oh, but it felt so good to hold it, fire it. I had been raised with guns in the house, taught how to shoot when I was just six, but when I left Dominic and the outlaw life we had lived, I left my love of guns behind, too.
“We should get going,” I said to change the subject. “I’ll drive.”