Today's Reading

Which seems fine with Greg, far as I can tell. One time I had him on my list and followed him, figuring anyone who seems that perfect had to have secrets. Secrets that a good investigator should be able to uncover. But I ended up spending the entire time bored out of my mind. No matter when I followed him, after or before school or on the weekend, he'd always end up with Amy somewhere along the way. They'd meet with friends at McDonald's, Hardee's, the mall, or they'd just hang out together, always holding hands as if letting go might cause the world to explode. The one time they went to her house, Amy's mother was there to greet them. I'm sure she had chocolate chip cookies and milk ready. And they probably sat with just the right amount of space between them on the sofa while watching TV. After a week, I'd had enough. I decided they were as boring as they looked.

But maybe I was wrong. He starts moving again, and again I follow him, keeping pace. If he's on his way to see Amy, it's not at her house; he goes right by there without stopping. No cookies for Greggie today.

His house is just a couple of blocks farther, but he passes that as well, not even bothering to go inside to drop off his backpack.

We reach Fast Food Row, with one greasy franchise after another, but none of them interest Greg. And now we're leaving the places where Milton High kids tend to hang out and are entering territory I'm not as familiar with. We're approaching the edge of town, passing stretches of empty lots, a few lonely businesses, and the occasional abandoned building or three. With nobody else in sight for blocks, I give him more space, ready to duck behind a structure should he start to look back. There's been talk of renovating this part of Milton for the last few years, but nobody has gotten around to doing it. Why would Greg be walking here?

Maybe he doesn't have a destination in mind. Maybe that phone call made him so mad he just needed to walk off his anger, though it clearly hasn't worked.

Greg stops so abruptly I'm worried he's seen me. I hide behind the nearest building. He's looking in my direction now, and I prepare to run around to the other side of the building if he starts toward me. But after a few seconds, he looks the other way. Like he's looking for something. Or someone. Someone he's meeting? Who could be meeting him way out here?

All kinds of possibilities run through my mind. He's here to buy drugs. He's an athlete, so maybe it's steroids, and he comes all the way out here so no one he knows will see him. Or it could be worse than steroids. Could perfect Greg Matthes be a secret drug addict?

He's standing in front of what used to be Miller's Park, an abandoned Little League field that was torn down several years ago, after the newer, more modern park was built across town.

I'm not tall, I don't carry extra weight, and I do walk a lot, but following Greg all the way here at the pace he set has left me out of breath. But now that we're stopped, Greg looks more winded than I am. His perfect blond hair is plastered to his forehead and sweat shows on his muscular arms and legs, I can see wet spots on his shirt, and yet he looks like a model in a TV commercial. Meanwhile, I'm sure my sweaty stick arms, skinny legs, and damp T-shirt make me look like I'm in need of CPR.

Still, he shouldn't be that out of breath. Unless he's like this because of what's bothering him. Right now he looks more worried than angry.

He stands there for another minute, still glancing around. Then, taking one more deep breath, he turns and walks into the old park.

After letting him disappear, I cautiously follow. Once I see what's inside, I realize how hard it will be to stay hidden.

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