Chapter 1- Cassandra

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Cassandra

"Grazie."

Street vendors tried to steal her attention with cheap food and fake Gucci handbags, but Cassandra strode right past their smiling faces. Her new round glasses shielded her eyes from the scorching sun and allowed her to inspect her surroundings without being noticed. She crossed the street to a taxi rank and entered the vehicle. She gave the driver the motel's address in perfect Italian and leaned towards the window to stare at the bustling city of Rome. She watched people crossing the streets, tourists taking pictures of everything they laid eyes upon. She liked Rome. She'd spent many good days in Rome. Today had been a good day. Her newest piece of information revealed that her target was holding a gala to raise money for animal rescue charity. She had already planned his assassination.

When she arrived to her destination, she paid the driver and thanked him, climbing out graciously. The motel was a small and cheap one, just outside the city, far from the suffocating crowd but close enough so she wouldn't look suspicious. She had chosen it for the great cover it offered. Nobody would think to look for her here.

"Yes?" Cassandra said, closing the room door. The static in her ear-piece disappeared, a voice speaking.

"I didn't want to call you," her client said.

"But you did, so what is it?" Cassandra hadn't spoken to her client in two months, ever since he bought her a plane ticket and gave her a hefty deposit for her services.

"I need it done tonight."

Cassandra stretched her neck, flipping out the contents of the bags she carried onto the bed. "And it will be. Mr. Alonzo is having a gala tonight and I can assure you, it will be his last one."

She had been stalling killing Alonzo. He was a man of many secrets and Cassandra needed to know them all before she made a move. They weren't the scandalous kind like most men of his status seemed to have. He was into something shady, with off-shore bank accounts filled to the brim with money even a really good stock broker couldn't make so quickly. After checking his records and doing some spying, he proved to have secrets. Over a few drinks and friendly gossip, she even got his secretary to spill the beans. If she could get Alonzo to give her details tonight, she'd gladly send him into an eternal slumber.

"It better be," the client said, his Italian accent intensifying with anger . "I didn't pay you for nothing."

Cassandra hung up.

All roads lead to Rome. All but hers. With some luck and an effective interrogation technique, she'd be running as far away from Rome as she could in no time. If that meant slumming in village in South Africa for a bit, then so be it. Cassie fumbled with the zipper of her bag. She didn't carry around a suitcase. Everything she owned and needed fit perfectly inside a duffel bag that could be stored in the overhead bins of an airplane cabin. She liked it that way too. There was no way for her things to get lost and she could be conspicuous. It was important she remained under the radar, especially when the police and authorities were concerned.

Tina, her Colt 45, lay atop the bedside table. She ran a finger along the cold barrel, before slipping the weapon inside the black purse she had bought that morning.

After checking that all of her belongings were packed, Cassie slipped into a red dress that had been neatly laid out on the bed. It hugged her chest at the top, the heart neckline accentuating the right places. It widened at the waist just slightly until it reached the floor. The slit of the dress ran high, ensuring she could move comfortably, in case things got out of hand tonight. She applied some red lipstick before upbraiding her white hair and collecting it in a bun at the nape of the neck. The four inch high heels she bought were back, making her just over six foot tall. A single strap wrapped around her ankle. She didn't want her feet to slip out of the show if she had to fight. She turned slightly to inspect the dress from the back. It was backless, revealing her smooth, tan skin. Liking what she was seeing, she smiled at the cracked mirror. That was the one thing no money in the world could buy- her smile. Coy and alluring, just as a smile of a con woman with a gun should be.

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