Going it alone was easier than Kate thought it would be. Her work was solid, if not awe inspiring, and she made a good living. She had been approached a few times with offers of partnership, but she turned them all down. She wasn't looking to get burned again.
Her work may not have been genius, but one thing was clear: she was brilliant when it came to disappearing. She knew Neal was looking for her, and she knew he wasn't having any luck. Mostly, it was exasperating. Didn't the guy know how to take a hint?
Kate knew she could put a stop to it. Call Neal, email him, send him a telegram, whatever, just saying, "You're making me uncomfortable. Stop. It's over." He'd let her go, if she did that. Neal wasn't dangerous or scary, just over earnest and convinced that he could turn any no into a yes as long as he was fantastic enough. But she never did contact him. She told herself it was simply because she didn't want to have to deal with him. Because it would be stupid and kind of pathetic if she dumped a guy and traveled halfway around the world to avoid him, only to wonder what might happen if he found her.
But mostly she didn't think about Neal, or Mozzie, or the life they had together. Kate liked to focus on the now. And the now had plenty to hold her attention. Neal wasn't the only person she had to evade. Cops were an ever present threat, casting a shadow over every decision. But for all his faults, Neal had been an excellent teacher, and Kate had never had a problem staying a step ahead.
Kate liked running. She liked the new places, new people. She liked feeling smarter than the cops. She had never been the type to get easily attached, so it was always easy to leave one life behind and start another.
There had been some early mistakes. Leaving Neal and Mozzie meant working without a safety net, without partners who would pull her ass out of the fire, with either grace (Neal) or a great deal of grumbling (Mozzie). She had to learn how to depend on herself, and was glad she had. This Kate was stronger than the old one. She liked this Kate.
There was more to being a good criminal than getting rich and not getting caught. The perfect criminal was the perfect survivor, and Kate was learning to survive.
She eyed the painting she was working on. Just a few more touch-ups needed, and then she could let it dry. Her buyer would be pleased. She turned to the old duffel bag on the bed. It was time to move on. This painting was a big job; you couldn't forge a Monet and not make few ripples. It would be best to be in another continent when word hit the street.
Kate smiled. She had a good feeling about tomorrow.