Lila didn’t like admitting it, but for the first time in her life, she was really scared. She sat down on the edge of the bed and stared at her reflection in the mirror hanging above the dresser. She had just stood in a hot shower for twenty minutes, trying to decide what to do, and her hair and body were still wrapped in the thin, cheap, white towels that belonged to the tacky little motel in Oxnard, where she had checked in an hour ago.
What was the best thing to do now?
She could say that she and Stan had had another fight and she took a drive up the coast two days ago and slept in her car in a rest area and then checked into the motel today. It sounded strange even to her but, oh well…then she’d say she had been too depressed and tired today to watch TV, so she had no idea of what had happened. That would have to do. It was plausible. Josh and Ingrid could back up Stan’s history of abuse, and Ingrid hadn’t been working two nights ago. The only catch was that Neanderthal at the all-night market. But he wouldn’t connect her with anything. People who worked at jobs like that couldn’t have fully functioning brains anyway.
So that would be her story.
She looked at her face devoid of all makeup. She was one of those women who looked almost as good without makeup as with it. Yes, she was very lucky to have what she had, and she would make it work for her, as always. This was an incredible fuckup, but she wouldn’t allow herself to feel helpless and trapped. There was a way out of this, and she would do whatever she had to do. She had let her emotions run away with her. Now was the time for clear thinking.
Lila took the towel off her head and shook her damp hair free. One thought nagged at her constantly. Where was he? He hadn’t answered his cell or shown up at the motel where he usually stayed when he was in town. She had stomped on her prepaid phone and thrown it in a dumpster at a gas station, but she couldn’t use the motel phone in case they traced it later. She’d have to buy another prepaid phone later. She picked up a brush and ran it through her hair carefully and steadily. It would all work out. She could handle whatever happened.
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