Mila got up from the desk, walked over to the dresser, took the ring box out of the bottom drawer, and then took the ring out of the box. She left the bedroom with the ring, padding softly down the hallway and stopping outside Reid’s bedroom door. There was a faint yellow band of light visible beneath his door, but there were no sounds coming from his room. She waited there a minute before walking quietly to the kitchen, where, following Lonnie’s instructions, she disabled the alarm she’d already set. Then she walked out of the kitchen, through the living room, and to the sliding glass door that led onto the deck. She unlocked it and opened it, slowly. She hesitated there, wondering if she should turn on the deck lights, but she decided not to. Some things, she thought, were best done under the cover of night. So she crossed the unlit deck to the set of steps Lonnie had pointed out to her that afternoon, and she started down them. As soon as she did, though, the night seemed to envelop her, and she felt suddenly defenseless in its bigness, and its darkness. Still, she kept going, climbing carefully down the stone steps, whose whiteness glowed faintly in the light of a thin crescent moon, and whose roughness felt cool beneath her bare feet.