Chapter 21: Daytona 500 Ending
With everything that was going on with Angelica and Linsday, it was left to the crew chiefs to hold down the fort. Ron Malec (cc for Kyle Larson), Steve LeTarte (cc for Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Steve Addington (cc for Tony Stewart) all were to keep quiet and not say anything till post-race. They were notified with about 40 laps to go and were told to keep running the show like normal. Each of them was worried and knew their drivers would be mad with them keeping quiet, but understood that it was the best thing to do.
Now with five laps to go, each of them was running upfront and in contention for the win. It was all about who would have the best run at the end and avoid the big wreck they all knew was coming.
“5 to go – you can do this,” Steve told his driver as he swallowed back his own worry for Lindsay and Angelica. “You’ve done well all day. Just keep that car out front.”
“Will Daddy win today?” He heard a small voice beside him and smiled as he looked towards Chelsea. Chelsea had no idea what was going on with the rest of the family. Steve had said that he’d keep tabs on her and make sure that she kept out of trouble, while avoiding the mess.
“Daddy is going to try his hardest. I hope he wins.”
“Me too. I like to party.” Steve then laughs lightly as he watches the field pass by on the front stretch for four to go with T.J. continuing to spot.
“I like to party too. That’s why I like going to victory lane.” He watched the little girl smile up at him.
“Me too.” He then wraps an arm around her, pulling her close to watch the final laps together, silently praying that Angelica and Lindsay are okay.
Dale led the next couple of laps without any problem and soon it was time for the final lap. He led all the way down the backstretch while the field messed around for position behind him. The jocking for position continued through turns three and four and as the field came to the tri-oval, it looked like one giant glob.
“Shit!” Steve yells as he sees the mess unfold in front of him, watching as contact is made somewhere and results in many of the drivers being wrecked as the field crosses the finish line. Immediately, when the wreck is over, he keys his mic, knowing that they don’t need anything else going on. “Dale, are you okay?”
“10-4 I’m fine Steve,” Dale replies after a couple seconds as Steve lets out a long sigh of relief. “Did we win?” Steve shakes his head as he lets the though go through his mind, while glancing at the monitor.
“The scoring monitor says Larson got it with you second. You did an awesome job all day today.”
“Sucks to see that happen at the end, though. I guess that’s what we get with this racing.”
“There was nothing you could’ve done different there,” T.J. adds on the radio.
“Come see me once you get checked out,” Steve instructs, knowing he has news to tell.
“10-4,” Dale replies.
Meanwhile, on track, both Tony and Kyle had got out of their cars and made their way to where Dale still sat in his car. Tony looks in, concerned, having not heard the confirmation like Dale’s team had.
“Are you okay?” Tony asks and Dale shakes his head yes.
“Just a little off but I’m fine,” Dale answers and Tony knows what’s going on immediately by those words. “I’ll be fine. Are you okay?” Tony shakes his head yes.
“Sorry about that contact; Keselowski got into me first,” Kyle apologizes as he looks in. “I was like, ‘Aw shit, here we go again’.”
“It’s not your fault, Kyle. I’m not mad at you. It is what it is.” Kyle smiles, having remembered Angelica saying the same words when their wreck happened at Daytona.
“Now I know where your daughter gets her honesty and forgiveness from.” They all then smile as Dale climbs out, knowing that they’d have a long night with what Tony had already suspected from the crash. However , none of them knew the words that they would hear in the next couple of minutes from Ron about those they care about.
Chapter 22: Post Daytona 500
“Shouldn’t you be celebrating?” Tony asks as he looks over at Kyle, who is standing with him.
“Not when NASCAR wants me to be checked out and I want to make sure you and Dale are okay,” Kyle tells him. “I can’t celebrate after that mess. That was a disaster.” Tony then looks at Kyle surprised.
“You do realize you just won the biggest race of the season?” Kyle shakes his head yes as Dale looks over.
“Then celebrate because you’re okay, Tony is as best as he can be and I’ll be fine,” Dale tells him as Tony walks over, wrapping an arm around Dale.
“Are you sure about your own words?” Tony asks as he thinks back to earlier conversation. “I know we both have thoughts about what it is, but what if it’s worse? We have to know that before we can even move forward.” Dale rolls his eyes as he knows in his mind that it’s probably a concussion and nothing more. Why did Tony have to continue to worry?
“Tony is right,” Kyle adds as he glances over at the pair of them. “Hey, where are Lindsay and Angelica? I thought they would’ve been here wanting to make sure everything was okay.” Dale and Tony glance at each other confused.
“They’re probably waiting for us back at the coach.” Dale shakes his head in agreement, not worried.
“Maybe Angelica got tired or Lindsay felt sick and they went back to the coach early,” Dale suggests. “You worry too much, Kyle. You got to relax buddy.” Tony pats Dale on the shoulder as they look over at the younger driver.
“He’s still young – he’ll learn,” Tony comments and Dale smiles.
“Just like you did?” Dale asks before kissing Tony’s lips.
“Hey now – I love you too much not to worry.”
“Hense why I’m worried about the girls,” Kyle comments as Tony takes a deep breath. It was odd that neither Lindsay or Angelica had stopped by considering the time they’d been there.
“You are right to worry, but it’ll be fine,” Tony assures him as they watch Steve and Ron walk into the room.
“Please tell me that you’re alright,” Steve requests, knowing that there was enough going on without anymore added on.
“Just doesn’t feel right and you know what that means,” Dale comments and Steve rolls his eyes. He knew exactly what it meant.
“Concussion – don’t know if minor or major yet,” Tony adds as he looks at the confused look on Ron’s face. “They need to send him over to the hospital for a CAT scan to see.” Ron takes a deep breath, knowing that he can’t keep quiet much longer.
“Speaking of the hospital, we have something to tell you three,” Ron starts carefully as all three heads look over curious.
“What’s going on Ron?” Dale asks worried based on the tone of Ron’s voice.
“I don’t like where this is going….” Kyle adds, remembering how Ron acted when things went down with Angelica.
“Did something happen to Lindsay or Angelica?” Tony asks and Steve shakes his head yes as he eyes the floor.
“Lindsay is at the hospital after experiencing some considerable stomach pains during the race,” Ron reveals, remembering what Rick had told him and Steve earlier.
“Angelica is also at the hospital for fatigue reasons as she felt faint earlier.” Dale, Kyle and Tony look at each other concerned, each feeling a lump in their throat.
“Have you heard any other updates?” Dale asks as he looks back over at Steve and Ron.
“That’s all Rick told us,” Steve answers as he looks up at his driver. “I was just talking to him and letting him know what I knew about you three.”
“So he’s there with them?” Steve shakes his head yes.
“He is with Angelica while Linda is with Lindsay,” Ron tells them. “Tony and Kyle, if you want to head over, we’ll stay with Dale here.”
“Fuck that shit – I want to see them!” Dale lets out as he begins to look around for a doctor.
“You need to listen to the doctors Dale,” Tony says as he pulls Dale close to him.
“I’m going to see Angelica,” Kyle lets out, feeling his own worry take over him.
“She needs you Kyle and Tony, go see Lindsay,” Dale instructs, knowing that Tony is right. “I’ll be fine with these two twits.”
“Twits?” Ron asks and Dale gives a little wink. “That’s real nice buddy.”
“You know I love you both,” Dale comments. Tony gives him a quick and a hug before heading out with Kyle. “Why does this keep happening to us? Why can’t we just have things go our way for once?” Steve and Ron both shrug their shoulders.
“We’re going to get through it all – no matter what,” Steve comments as he pats Dale’s shoulders.
“I hope you’re right Stevie. I don’t know how much more we can go through together.” Dale looks down, thinking over things as he shakes his head in disbelief over everything. “Where’s that damn doctor? I want to get this done as soon as possible.”
“He’s coming,” Ron assures him. “Just relax buddy.”
Chapter 23: The Baby
“Did you hear from the boys yet on how the guys are?” Lindsay asks as she lies there, shaking her head, not believing the situation that she’s in. “I thought they’d be here by now!”
“Dale may have a concussion and Tony is on his way over here to see you,” Linda tells Lindsay as she sits in the chair beside Lindsay’s bed. “Oh, and TJ has Chelsea.” Lindsay shakes her head, approving. At least the injuries weren’t worse, based on the video of the wreck that she had seen. She also knew that Tony would be a welcome face.
“Okay. I don’t know how I’m going to tell Kyle and Angelica this one.” Lindsay then looks down, feeling tears come to her eyes, only looking up when she sees Tony walk through the door.
“Hey,” he says simply. The last update that he had received was she was there due to stomach pains, but nothing more. He knew that she was pregnant with Angelica and Kyle’s baby, so worry surrounded him as to why her stomach would be sore.
“Hey Tony,” Lindsay says as Tony walks over and she instantly wraps both arms around him.
“I’m going to go see how Rick and Kyle are; I’ll let you both talk,” Linda says before leaving the room and heading to where Angelica was.
“So what do you know?” Tony then sits down, worry increasing by the second as he sees a tear creep down Lindsay’s face.
“Just the fact that you’re here because your stomach was really sore,” Tony tells her, recalling Steve’s words. She then looks down, biting her lip, not wanting to tell him the news herself.
“I lost the baby, Tony….” She lets out as more tears begin to spill from her eyes. She then glances up at him, scared of his reaction. Tony, unsure of what to say, stands up and wraps both arms around her, pulling her close to him as she buries her head in his shirt.
“It’s going to be okay, Lindsay.” She then separates a little from him, shaking her head.
“Angelica and Kyle are going to be mad.” Tony shakes his head no right away, knowing himself how Angelica and Kyle would react.
“No they won-”
“Yes they will! You know how badly Angelica wanted this baby for Kyle.” Tony takes a deep breath, remembering that discussion as he sits on the bed beside her.
“But that was before she knew that she could fight through this. Knowing that she can fight through this and have a baby later of her own totally, she will probably be upset at first, but get over it.” Lindsay shakes her head, totally not agreeing with Tony’s assessment as Tony holds her close to him. “Believe me, Lindsay. We both know what Angelica and Kyle are like and we know that they can’t be mad.”
“Tony…that’s not all, though….” Tony then sits up, now scared of what else she has to say.
“Then what else is there?” Lindsay looks down, feeling scared of saying the words.
“I may never be able to have a baby again, not even one of my own.” The tears then trekked down Lindsay’s face again, not believing the words that she had just spoken, and also scared of the reaction that both Tony & Dale would have. Tony kept her held close, rubbing her back. It broke his heart to hear those words as he remembered hearing Dale and Lindsay talk about having a second child, a brother or sister for Chelsea and Angelica. Though with what she just said, those dreams seemed shattered.
“What was the reason they tol-”
“Something about how my uterus is now shaped as a result of how the pregnancy went with Chelsea.” Tony took a careful deep breath, thinking back to when Lindsay had Chelsea. There were complications that made things testy at times and as he thought it through, it all made sense. “I don’t kno-”
“It’s okay; it’ll be fine no matter what. Sometimes people achieve the impossible and even if you can never have a baby again, be thankful for Chelsea and know that both Dale and I won’t be upset with you. We both love you and nothing will ever change that.” He then kissed the top of her head as she buried her head in his chest.
He continued to rub her back, letting the news sink in. A sense of disbelief washed over him in what he had learned, but he knew he couldn’t be mad. He also couldn’t predict how Dale would react or Kyle or Angelica, but he knew no matter what, they’d get through it.
Chapter 24: Angelica
Kyle walks into the room without a word as he sees Rick sitting there beside Angelica’s bed, holding her hand. He looks over his wife and smiles. By appearance, it looks like she’s just sleeping. The color had returned back to her cheeks and she looked much better than earlier, though there was a tinge of worry in his stomach. Why wasn’t she awake? What was going on? A mix of feelings filled his insides based on the words that he had heard from Ron earlier.
“Hey Rick,” Kyle says quietly as he walks closer to the car owner and Rick looks over at him with a slight smile on his face. “How is she?” Rick takes a deep breath, remembering the doctor’s words.
“They said that she pushed herself too hard today with all that she was doing,” Rick explains. “But she’ll be fine; she just needed some rest and get some fluids back into her system.” Kyle shakes his head, relieved, as he sits in the chair beside Rick.
“I told her that she needed to be careful but she didn’t listen. She insisted that she was fine.” Rick shakes his head, a slight laugh escaping his lips.
“Stubborn as always, stubborn like her dad. She was always stubborn when she was younger. I’d tell her to do something but she insisted on not doing it.” Rick smiles as he looks back at the young girl before him, still not believing how much things have changed since he met her back when she was only 10.
As they sit there in silence, Kyle reaches and takes Angelica’s hand in his own, rubbing the back of it before bringing it to his lips and kissing it.
“When she starts her treatments next month, I want to be able to be there with her so she has somebody when you and Dale are busy,” Rick comments out of the blue as Kyle shakes his head in agreement. “It’s not going to be easy for her but she’s a fighter and I believe she’ll come out stronger than ever. That stubbornness will be useful.” Kyle shook his head in agreement.
“I don’t mind that at all Rick,” Kyle comments. “I know how close you two are.” Kyle then looks back towards Angelica. “When Dale asked you, why did you agree to take her in those years ago?” Rick took a deep breath, knowing his answer clearly.
“Because I knew that he’d regret one day letting her go and understood the fear of what his family would think.” Kyle then looks back at Rick, curiously.
“Why didn’t you force him to just tell them? That would’ve been the easy way out. I mean, they’d find out one way or another.” Rick shakes his head in agreement.
“I know what Kelley and Brenda can be like, and I also know what Dale is like. With all that in consideration, I figured helping him till he was ready to tell was the best thing to do at the time. Whether it was the right decision or not, we will never know.” Kyle smiles as he sits back in the chair.
“It was the right decision because look at how things have turned out now.” Rick looks over at Kyle, smiling.
“You’re right as she has someone in her life that loves her deeply and will do anything for her.”
“Ugh…” they hear and both look towards Angelica, watching her slowly open her eyes. Kyle then stands up, brushing her hair out of her face as she looks towards him and Rick.
“Are you feeling better?” Kyle asks and Angelica shakes her head yes, still feeling a little sleepy. “Good, because you should’ve listened when I told you to take care of yourself.”
“Kyle is right Angelica,” Rick adds. “You scared us both and put yourself in a bad situation.”
“Sorry…” she lets out quietly as she looks down. Kyle, feeling bad that she was upset, wraps both arms around her and kisses her forehead.
“Do you want me to go get the doctor?” She shakes her head no as she keeps Kyle held close to her. “Are you sure? I think it may be a good idea. I thi-”
“I’m fine Rick.” She then lies back in the bed, taking a deep breath. Her body still felt weak as she knew that she wouldn’t be doing too much for the next couple of days and they both were right. She should’ve went and laid down for awhile in the motorcoach after driver introductions, though her want to see the Daytona 500 had taken over at that point.
“So I guess we should reveal the good news. You’re looking at the Daytona 500 Champion.” She then looks at Kyle surprised and Kyle shakes his head yes as he sits on the edge of the bed. “Your dad finished second with Tony somewhere in the top five also.” Kyle then took a deep breath, knowing that they couldn’t keep it hidden from her.
“It kind of ended in a messy wreck when someone made a move behind me and Dale, but everybody is okay.” Rick then stands up, knowing what he wanted to do.
“I’m actually going to go see Dale,” he announces. “I’ll see you after sweetheart. Take care of yourself.” Angelica smiles.
“Yes boss,” she whispers as Rick gives her a hug. Rick then leaves the room as she turns back to Kyle. Kyle then scoots on the bed more, sitting up beside her. “So you won the Daytona 500?” He shakes his head yes. “Then why are you here and not in victory lane celebrating?” He then places his hand on top of hers.
“Because I was too worried about you to celebrate.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “But I guess as the Daytona 500 Champion, I deserve my victory kiss.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to share it with you. Guess we will have to have a party of our own when I’m up to it.” He then smiles as they kiss each other once again.
“I’m fine with waiting for that. As long as you’re okay, that’s all that matters to me. I love you.”
“I love you too.” She then pulls him close, kissing his lips once again. “I can’t get enough of your lips.”
“Then you can kiss me all night if you want.”
“That’s fine by me.” She then lets her tongue roam in his mouth once again, kissing his lips.
Chapter 25: Going Home
In a series of events, everybody had been released from the hospital.
Angelica was told to take it easy over the next couple of days and remember how far she could push her limits. Lindsay had lost the baby and would be sore for the next couple of days with some blood still to show up so to wear pads. Dale, meanwhile, had suffered a concussion as a result of the wreck and would be out for a couple of weeks.
Once they got back to the motorcoach, Lindsay had sat down with Dale and told him the news, fully. She told him about losing the baby and the possibility of not being able to have a baby in the future. Due to the sensitivity of the news, Tony had agreed to tell Kyle and Angelica separately.
As Lindsay finished telling Dale everything that the doctor said, she felt hot tears fall down her cheek once again as she sat on the edge of the bed.
“Don’t cry,” Dale tells her as he pulls her close to him. “Everything will be okay.” He then rubs her back as she lays against him.
“What about Kyle and Ang?” She asks. “They’re going to be mad at me. I lost their baby, Dale.”
“They’ll understand.” She then sits up and looks at him.
“I’m glad that you’re okay after that wreck.” She then grabs his hand with hers. “I should’ve been there for you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I just can’t believe this happened.” He then pulls her back close to him.
“It’s okay, everything will be fine. I had Steve and Ron there for me and you couldn’t help what happened. We’ll get through this. I promise you that I won’t leave your side through this. I love you.” She then reaches up, kissing his cheek.
“I love you too.” She then lies back with him on the bed. “How’s the headache?”
“Tylenol is helping.” They then glance up when they hear the door crack open, seeing Rick standing there.
“Are you both okay?” Rick asks concerned and they both shake their heads yes.
“If it’s okay with you, Rick, I want to take this week totally off to spend with her,” Dale requests and Rick shakes his head yes approving. “Thanks. I’ll know mid-week more about how long I’ll be out for.”
“When do you have to go see Dr. Petty?” Lindsay then asks curiously.
“Don’t worry about all that – just worry about getting better and helping Lindsay right now,” Rick tells him. “If either of you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Linda and I are both here for you.”
“Thanks Rick,” Lindsay and Dale both thank him together before Rick leaves the room.
Over at Angelica and Kyle’s motorcoach, Tony sat across from them on the couch.
“She was scared that you’d be mad at her,” Tony finishes off in telling Angelica and Kyle the news.
“Well I’m upset, I could never be mad at her,” Angelica tells him. “She did this for me. She took a chance on this for me. How could I be mad at her for that? I know it’s not her fault. I know she wouldn’t do anything to put the baby in danger.”
“I’m just telling you her words. That’s what she told me when I went and saw her at the hospital.” Tony then stands up, slowly. “I’m sorry to have to tell you the news….I know how much you were looking forward to the baby. I better go see how they’re doing.” Tony then heads towards the door.
“Tony, thanks for telling me and tell her that I’m not angry.” Tony shakes his head. “I mean it!”
“Thanks for telling us Tony,” Kyle adds as he wraps his arms around Angelica, holding her close as Tony leaves. “Are you okay?” She shakes her head yes, swallowing back her own tears. “We’ll have a baby of our own one day sweetheart.”
“How do you know that?” Angelica asks as she looks back at Kyle. “How can you say that with so much certainty? What if I don’t get better?” Kyle then brushes her hair out of her face, feeling his heart crush by her words.
“I know how strong you are and I believe in you and God damn it you’re going to get through this. You’re going to come out of this deal fine and we’re going to be able to live the life that you deserve.”
“I just want to stay in your arms forever.” She then lies back against him once again, tears falling down her face as he continues to run his hands through her hair.
“You will be able to do that so stop worrying.” He then kisses her cheek as she slightly smiles.
“I wish I could be like you and not worry about it.”
“Then don’t let it consume you. I don’t let the thought enter my mind because I know how strong of a woman you are.” He then kisses her cheek once again before starting to braid her hair.
“When did you learn to braid? I always liked it when Linda braided my hair when I was younger.”
“I learned from my little cousins. Let’s see if I still have the magic touch.”