Rosemaria, forcing herself to follow the speed limit, wound her way through mild freeway traffic to her house in Simi Valley. The sun was coming up over the mountains. Time was flying by. She quickly unlocked the front door and raced to her room. She tore off her jeans and sweatshirt and changed into the one business suit she owned. Next, she slipped into her black flats as she opened her dresser drawer and pulled out her black, one-piece ski outfit, which she had worn exactly once when a date had talked her into going with him to Mammoth Mountain to ski. Being a very solicitous type, he had bought her a woolen ski cap when they got up there because of snowstorm warnings. That would come in very handy now. It covered her entire face except for her nose, mouth, and eyes. She would cover her eyes with her sunglasses. She ran into the spare bedroom that was now her father’s office, pulled back his chair, flipped up the rug, and loosened a couple of floorboards to reveal a small safe. She used her birthdate as the code to open it up and took out her father’s Beretta and suppressor. She wished she had gone to the target range with him more often, but at least she knew how to use it. She shut the safe, put back the floorboards, rug, and chair and was tempted to get the rest of the supplies she needed from the garage. But her father might notice they were gone and figure out what she had done if, God willing, he survived his ordeal. Before leaving her phone in her desk drawer, she used it to look for a beauty supply store near Santa Clarita. She stuffed her jeans, sweatshirt, ski clothes, tennis shoes, gun and suppressor into a backpack and checked her wallet to make sure she had enough cash to buy what she needed. She hurried out to her car, drove a few blocks, and stopped at a gas station beside a clothes donation box. She looked around for cameras aimed in her direction and, seeing none, grabbed a skirt that had to be at least a size 13 and a bulky cable-knit sweater. After digging around in the box for a few minutes, she found the prize she was looking for—a huge straw hat. She still needed a burner phone, dark make up, and surgical gloves. She would have to wait until stores opened to find those.
As she headed for Santa Clarita, she prayed that the address the DMV had given her for Sidney Robbins, the owner of the car, was accurate and that he was the person she was looking for. After reaching Santa Clarita, she drove through a middleclass neighborhood until she saw a house for sale. She stopped next to the sign, took a couple of the realtor’s cards from the clear plastic box attached to the post, and tucked them into her purse. She was halfway to her goal.
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