Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapter 31: Race Time

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Standing on pit road prior to the race, the pair simply traded a glance as Kevin Meendering watched with his arms crossed.

“What’s to say that they’re not already together?” Kevin questions, catching Travis’ attention.

“Didn’t you already get in shit from Angelica this weekend?” Travis asks and Kevin shrugs his shoulders. The car chief was right as he had gotten yelled for his comment following the winks.

“But seriously – you have to admit that I was right about that. Then you notice they’re glances here on pit road at each other, as well as that private conversation that we saw earlier. All the pieces are there, Travis.” Travis lets out a sigh as he knew that the engineer was probably correct, given what he had seen as well.

“So what are you thinking that we do? You already tried asking her and got your tail caught between your legs.” Kevin smiles as he glances over at the pair before looking back at his fellow crew member.

“We spy on them this week. If they’re together, they’re going to want to spend together outside of work. That’s going to be the telling sign. I bet we’ll catch them together and then we can rub it in the other guy’s faces.” Travis laughs as he shakes his head in disbelief. He couldn’t believe they were having this discussion.

“So you’re going to spy on your driver and crew chief like you have no life, because you’re noisy and waste your own precious time during the week?” Kevin shrugs his shoulders as he crosses his arms.

“I don’t see you suggesting anything else interesting for us to get into besides video games and go-karting.” Travis lets out a sigh, knowing that he was right as he glances towards the pair. What if the crew member was right?

“Fine…”

The pair then watch as Denny walks over towards them, stopping and giving Angelica’s shoulder a little squeeze.

“Good luck,” he offers as she looks at him with a small smile.

“Right back at you,” she replies. “Hope you don’t mind looking at the tail of a Chevy all day.” Denny chuckles, but knew it was nice to get back to the puns back and forth.

“I won’t mind taking a view of it as I pass your man to take the lead. Hope you both have a good day.” He then keeps walking down pit road, as Dale glances towards Denny’s direction. He then looks back at Angelica curiously.

“Someone is looking a little jealous…” Dale rolls his eyes and shakes his head no. “Alright, I know he caused us both a series of headaches. But he came to me this morning and apologized. A heart-to-heart with Kyle and Matt made him realize that he’s been a dumbass. He is trying to correct his ways, including things with his ex.”

“We’ve heard him say that before, but can he actually follow through?” Dale questions, as he vaguely remembered hearing something about Denny maturing after his incident with Joey, and after the deal broke down with his ex. It wasn’t going to be lost on him about what happened with Angelica in the past, or Denny’s own past for that matter.

“We’ll just have to wait and see right?” She offers. “We don’t know. I told him that I’d give him a chance as I enjoy his goofiness at times, but he better not screw it up. The moment that he does, I will be the first to kick him in the ass.” He smiles, knowing that Angelica didn’t mess around about things.

“I wouldn’t bet against that happening.”

The pair then stand together for opening ceremonies, just like did the previous weekends, keeping a bit of space between each other to exclude a professional relationship. Following the national anthem, Angelica wanted to go for the hug, but held back and simply gave him a fist-pump like the pervious weekends.

She then turned and headed to the pit box, putting her headset on her head as Dale climbed in the car, set for the race ahead.

While the pair had predicted a great race based on how practice went, they struggled throughout the first three quarters of the race with the handling. Dale complained on the radio on a constant basis about the car being loose and it seemed no matter what adjustment that she made under the pit stops, it didn’t work.

They caught a break with a late-race caution and she called the audible, taking two tires while most of the field took four. The result was him getting off pit road in the second spot. Against the field’s four tires, she knew that a win probably wouldn’t happen, but she wanted to see if they could steal a top-10 after running in the teens all day.

It ended up working in their favor as the adjustments got them closer to where Dale wanted the car to be and he was able to hold on to snag a ninth place finish on the day. Three races in the book with three solid finishes had Angelica holding her head high thus far.

“I should’ve went with the other set-up,” she starts as he walks up into the hauler after the race. “I feel terrible. I shoul-” He then cuts her words off with a kiss on the lips. She then stands back after, stunned. She didn’t think they were that far into testing the waters of a relationship, and they were also in a public sort of arena.

“I didn’t want to hear you ramble on about feeling terrible or whatnot so I had to do something,” he tells her. “Sorry if I crossed the line. However, you don’t need to feel terrible. We both decided to go with this set-up as we thought it was the better of the two. We also both discussed the adjustments throughout the race and went the right way with some, the wrong way with others. There’s nothing to feel terrible about. You’re doing a good job, and we’re still getting good finishes. We’ll figure it out together and get those wins.” She found it difficult to take in everything that he was saying as her thoughts were still fixed on the kiss.

“You kisse-”

“And I told you that I was sorry if I crossed the line. I just hated to hear you feel bad about what happened.” She then looks down, taking a deep breath as she thinks it over. She wanted to be mad at him. She wanted to yell at him for crossing the line. She wanted to remind him that they were just at the beginning stages. However, her constant feelings for him left her with nothing to say.

“It stunned me, but it’s okay I guess. Just let’s watch those right now. We’re just starting over and I don’t want to push things too fast. Also, we got to make sure that nobody is watching.” He shakes his head, understanding.

“Like I said, I’m sorry. Are we still on for Thursday?” She smiles and shakes her head yes.

A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 4: Melody Concerns

AVampWolfWedding

Following dinner, Yolanda took the dishes out to the kitchen, with Brad offering to help. Juliette picked up her daughter and took her to the other room, knowing that she needed a bum change.

Danny chose to casually follow his sister, watching her closely. He knew his eyes were set on his sister, but he knew the real interest remained in his niece. He hadn’t seen much of her since Juliette and Brad returned to the normal racing life.

He had thought of going to some races and visiting, but wasn’t sure if he wanted to take that approach. While his sister adapted to being around humans with ease, Danny still had some issues in doing the same.

As a result, he was left to wonder how his niece was doing. He texted Juliette at times, asking for updates and such, in which his sister easily obliged. But it wasn’t the same as getting to see her himself.

The issues during the pregnancy and the fact that she was born premature still lingered on his mind. He found himself wondering at times whether that’d affect her moving forward, whether development delays or something caught off-guard. If you compounded that with the questions considering that she was the first werewolf-vampire baby, worries ranged in any directions as to whether she’d have a normal childhood.

“I can see you watching,” a voice interrupts his thoughts as he glances up from the floor and faces his sister. She had turned her head back towards her daughter, but could feel her brother’s eyes on her. “I can also tell that you’re thinking. Want to share?”

“I’m not thinking about anything,” Danny comments as Juliette rolls her eyes. She could tell when her brother was thinking about something. He had a certain look on his face, and behavior cues when incidents of that nature happened.

“And that’s a lie because I could tell.” She then picks her daughter back up after changing her, putting her against her as she turns around to face him. “So what is it? Does it deal with me? Are you somehow worried about me because you can’t be around me 24/7 like you were for a couple months? Does it deal with Brad? Are you still worried about me dating a werewolf and what can happen, cause newsflash he’s not Jason or any of the others that you’re thinking of. He truly loves me and I thought we had proven tha-”

“You have, without a single doubt in my mind, Juliette.” He then glances down as he didn’t want to say what he was actually thinking about. He didn’t want her to know of his concerns. He was worried that’d create concerns for her, or result in her stating an overbearing argument of defense, as she had in what she thought he was thinking about.

“Well that’s good because I wasn’t going back down that path. I already have enough fun with Brad’s family at times. They’ve grown used to me being with them and having a family with their son, but that doesn’t mean that there always open to me.” She then walks over, not meaning to vent about the family deal, but it felt good to get it off her chest to someone who understood what was going on. “So what is it? It either does with me…or Yolanda….or….”

“Maybe I’m being an overbearing, overworrying uncle but I’m concerned about Melody.” She then looks at him with a bit of confusion.

“What do you mean?” He then lets out a sigh, regretting that he had walked into the room behind her.

“She was born prematurely. She’s the first of her kind. I’m just worried that there’s going to be issues down the road.” Juliette shook her head, understandingly, as she looked at her brother in the eyes. His comments reminded her of a conversation with Brad a couple nights ago.

“Brad and I were talking not that long ago together. I got to thinking about the fact that she’s part werewolf and the whole transformation thing. I asked him about it not that long ago. He says that werewolves don’t learn full skills till they’re two years old and can make it actually happen themselves, but they automatically transfer under the full moo-”

“Are you looking for a babysitter for those races that fall in that window?” She then chuckles, remembering how her and Brad had talked about the possibility of needing someone to watch her.

“It’s funny how we mentioned the possibility of that, and how we both knew that there’d be people on both sides of the family looking to watch her. With all due respect, though, I’d prefer if either Brad’s parents or siblings do as they have practice with the transformation period and understand that behavior.” Danny shakes his head, understandingly. He knew of the dangers associated with that for vampires and knew the least risk was better.

“What else did you guys discuss?”

“I mentioned being overworrying, and he said that it was okay because I care about her and want to do the best that I can. I then asked the same question that you asked me – will there be problems? He told me that there may be some hiccups, so we’ll just have to handle them as they come. He then stated with our determination, we could handle whatever that was.” Danny crosses his arms as he glances into his sister’s eyes.

“Are you concerned at all?” She then shakes her head yes, slowly.

“She’s my daughter. Of course I’ll be concerned as I worry and care about her and want the best for her. It scares me to think what could to come, and what if I can’t handle it? What if it becomes too much? We’ve come close to that before together. We’ve had to take some matters into our own hands. We’ve also, me and you, lost people. I don’t want to do the same…” Danny wraps his arms around his sister and pulls her towards him. This concern and extra bit of emotion pouring out was why he didn’t want to discuss this. He didn’t want it to become too much for her to handle.

“Let me ask you this – have you fought the odds thus far? Absolutely. For that reason, and having the right people around you, you can do it time and time again moving forwar-”

“You said it yourself that there’s reason for concer-”

“Right. It just means that we need to be careful and keep watch as she continues to grow. If anything happens out of the ordinary that neither of us can explain, we can address then and figure out what to do – together with you, Brad, myself, Yolanda, Brad’s family, Edward, Bella – everybody. But you can’t sit and worry about it. You need to live your life for what it’s worth because lady, you got everything in the palm of your hand.” Juliette smiles, knowing that her brother is right. She then glances towards the kitchen at Yolanda.

“Let’s face it. You also have everything in the palm of your hand.” She then looks back at her brother. “You just need to make the right moves to make it happen.”

Back to Square One – Chapter 7: Sleeping in Shop

BacktoSquareOne

Wednesday

Ron walks into the shop, giving a quick wave to a couple crew guys as he walks past them, before walking into his office and closing the door behind him. He then turns the blinds down, blocking the light that threatened to filter it’s way in.

He then sits down in the chair at his desk, putting his feet up as he lets out a sigh.

While he went through the morning like any other – well, this was obviously different due to Greenlee making him breakfast. However, he had acted as though he had gotten the necessary sleep that he needed to function for the day.

However, it wasn’t the truth and he almost brought himself to say something to her before he left the house.

All he could do was picture back to the night before, sitting on the couch in his living room, going back through the details from a couple months ago. He recalled going through how David and Hilary came into their lives. He recalled how David was set on finding Jimmie. He recalled how the racing morning went, including his meeting with Hilary. He recalled how things went following the crash, how he was doing his normal duty and swept up into her arms. He recalled the moments that he remembered from being in her hands.

On the surface, and the appearance that he put on to others, it looked as though he had been able to heal both physically and mentally from what happened. It seemed as it had no effect on him, and life would simply return to normal.

That was far from the truth, though. He found himself still haunted by the demons of what happened. He feared being alone at the track, memory flashing back to the kidnapping. He found himself glancing over his shoulder a lot more, wondering if someone was watching and lurking, ready to mark another move. He also hadn’t slept as much as he wanted the night before, his memory taking him through the events that happened.

Letting out a sigh, he wished that he could say that it was getting easier to deal with. However, that would be far from the truth. He found himself getting less sleep with each night, followed by those fears that he felt being heightened.

He thought about speaking with a friend, perhaps even Jimmie as they were close, but he couldn’t find himself to speak out loud. He could repeat the trail of events that happened. What was needed to be said that would make it easier to deal with?

He thought about taking further steps to deal with it – some in a positive direction of seeing a psychiatrist, or simply voicing his concerns to someone. There was also the negative direction that he thought about, looking for any cure possible to get the sleep that he craved. But he couldn’t bring himself to do that as he knew while times were tough, he’d regret it later as there was a life that he loved living and people who loved him.

He closes his eyes, drifting off to sleep for about 30 minutes, only to awaken at the sound of his door opening. He immediately takes his feet off of the desk, sitting up and facing the driver that stands in the doorway.

“Chad’s been looking for you,” Jimmie starts, eyes locked on his car chief and best friend. “He says that you had a mee-”

“Tell him I’ll be there in five,” Ron cuts Jimmie off as he tries to wipe the sleepiness off like nothing, opening the drawer as he searches for his binder. He knew that he had placed the binder with notes from the previous day’s discussion with the team members in the drawer. They had discussed adjustments and things to do with the car for a couple weeks ahead. He was supposed to debrief Chad and Cameron on that discussion, while taking part in discussions for that upcoming weekend.

“Okay. I can do that.” Jimmie then walks closer to the desk, eyes focused on Ron as he finds his mind scrambling for answers. He could tell that the car chief hadn’t been working before his appearance, but rather looking for some quiet space. He could also see the resemblance of bags underneath the eyes, meaning a lack of sleep. It was that moment that he found himself generally concerned for his friend. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. I just have to make sure I grab the right bind-”

“I’m talking about you, Malec.” Ron grabs the binder out of the drawer, closing it as he looks up at his driver. He knew that Jimmie could see right through any lies that he told and could probably see the sleepiness that he tried to hide.

“Look, I didn’t sleep as much as I would’ve preferred last night so I’m a little tired. Hence why I was trying to grab a quick nap.” Ron then focuses on getting whatever else he felt that was needed as Jimmie crosses his arms. His comment seemed to go with some suspicions that Cameron had shared earlier in the week about how Ron was doing. The engineer had wondered whether the car chief was fine, or something was going on once again. Jimmie quickly brushed it off, knowing that they had all put everything behind them, but found himself curious now.

“Okay. So there’s nothing going on? You haven’t gone back on the pack that we made. You haven’t crossed paths with David or Hilary or anybody related to them. I have nothing to worry about, right?” Ron stands up and shakes his head yes, knowing that those things didn’t hi the needle on the head, as he focuses on the driver. “And everything is cool? You’re not sick or having emotional issues from what happened?” Ron knew that he couldn’t be truthful in stating that nothing of those statements were true, but he wasn’t about to admit it either. Though he knew that he could take a different approach. It was bound to come out that Greenlee was staying at his house.

“Do you remember Greenle-”

“I thought you said that you didn’t go back on our pack!” Ron rolls his eyes as he wished it was that simple, rather than the story that Greenlee laid on his shoulders that night.

“I didn’t, okay? She wanted to get away from some things that happened both in California and Pine Valley, so she came down here. She got stranded on the side of the road and I gave her a lift back to my place last night so she’d have a safe place to stay.” Jimmie didn’t know whether to relax in hearing that or not. He knew of the trouble that she had caused before, and the feelings that Ron had for her originally. “Let me go to this meeting and then I’ll come to your office and tell you everything. Fair?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Jimmie sat back in shock as he listened to Ron divulge on Greenlee’s tale, from start to finish. He also couldn’t believe that despite her questionable past, Ron was set to give her a chance by allowing her to stay at his place and help her find a job. Though with a smirk, he could see why in the long run.

“Nothing happened,” Ron repeated as he noticed the smirk on Jimmie’s face.

“That doesn’t mean that you don’t want anything to happen,” Jimmie comments as Ron rolls his eyes. It seemed that Jimmie wasn’t far from the truth, though.

“I’m not even going to comme-”

“So it is true since you won’t address the issue.” Ron then stares down at Jimmie.

“Do I like her? Sure. Do I still have a crush on her? Sure. Am I going to move on that? I don’t know. Does she know that I have a crush on her? It may have slipped out after she made me breakfast. I’m going to tell you the same thing that I told her, though. We’ll see how our friendship goes, and how the feelin-”

“Famous last wor-”

“I have to think about whether I can put everything that she’s done in the past and trust her, and whether she’s done those games as I can’t have that bullshit again. She also has to think if she wants to love again after what happened with Leo and Ryan, and whether she’s willing to move forward. IF there’s any hesitation, there’s no way that I am doing this. But…maybe…just maybe….you’re god damn right.” Jimmie just smiles as he kicks his feet back, eyes focused on Ron. It was certainly an interesting scenario with her back in play.

“I knew something was there. Now, did you manage to get her a job?” Ron lets out a sigh as he checks his text messages, seeing a decline from both Malcolm and Tyler. Malcolm knew her shady past, and Tyler wasn’t taking on any new hires. “Say, she can work on cars, right? Chad mentioned something about needing a note taker. Perhaps you could throw that out to her. If she says yes, I’ll vouch for her….for now.”

“You’d do that?” Jimmie shakes his head yes.

“Tyler gave Candiss a second chance, and look at where things are now. Perhaps a second chance is all Greenlee needs for you both to be happy.”

The Journey – Chapter 8: Terrors

Lying in bed that night, she kicks her feet back, trying to push out the grasp that holds her close. She kicks harder, while trying to push her arms out as her mind is consumed with thoughts.

“You’re not getting away from me ever again,” she hears in her mind. “You deserve this punishment. You’re a bad little girl.”

“Get away from me!” She yells in the midst of her sleep, continuing to kick her feet as much as she could.

“Your mother never should’ve given birth to you. She should’ve aborted you, or left you some stranger’s doorstep as you’re a rotten, spoiled brat. Face it – nobody is going to save you because nobody loves you because you’re a bad kid. Now do yourself a favor and learn to behave, or make it easy and say bye.”

“I’m not giving up! Let me go!”

Ryan’s eye shoot open as he feels the kicks against him, along with her arms pushing against his as she struggles about in her sleep. It had been awhile since he had experienced this, and he thought that they were getting through these. However, here they were once again.

“Devon,” he whispers lightly as he shakes her body a little.

“Let…me…go…,” she replies, still struggling against him.

“Devon! Wake up!” Her eyes open immediately as she glances at him, eyes wide-open surprised.

“Ryan….” Her voice was shaky and quiet as tears begin to trickle down her face. He immediately brings her as close as he can to him, wrapping his arms tightly around her.

“It’s okay. It was just a nightmare. It’s okay. You’re okay.” He rubs her back, holding her close as a couple more tears begin to fall. The pair remain in that position till she has calmed herself back down, before separating a little. “Are you okay?”

“I thought I was done with those…I thought I was moving forward…I thought I was gong to be able to move on.” He then grabs her hand with his, holding it firmly as she looks into his eyes.

“You will get to that point, okay? But it’s going to take time as you deal with all the emotions and come to grip with it. Remember what the doctor told you? It takes time to heal wounds and make things easier. You may never fully get over it, but you learn how to deal with it. You’re learning, each day. You’re doing getting out more, you’re getting back to being relaxed when you’re home by yourself, and we’re back to where we were. You’ve made plenty of small steps. The rest will come, eventually.” She hoped that he was right as she truly wanted to move on without having those moments with her father weighing on her shoulders.

“I guess thinking about holidays, Easter and family, it just got me caught back up in thinking about my family and how screwed up things are. I have no relationship with either of my parents, and most of my family has made an outkast, not believing what I said. I…I don’t know….” Ryan’s heart could only break in hearing those words as it was still disturbing to see just how many people in her own family didn’t believe her when she expressed what happened.

“I know it’s tough to handle, but you also have to know that you always have a family in me. Plus, my parents absolutely adore you so you’re part of the family already. Then you have Elliott, Bubba, Shelby, Chris, and your girlfriends Jeni & Nells. I know it’s not the same as a family’s love persay, but you’re loved regardless. That’s what you should remember.” She shook her head, knowing that he was right. It felt good knowing that so many people were in her corner, as there were more beyond those that Ryan mentioned.

“I just wish things were different at times.”

“I know, and I understand.” He then rubs her back a little as they get back comfy together. “Now rather than think about the scary things, how about you think about the positives? Think about the fun times that you’re going to have this Easter weekend with my parents, from decorating eggs for the cousins to the fun & games. Think about the fun of getting to spend some time with me without interruptions.” She then turns back to face him, kissing his lips softly.

“I love you, Ryan.”

“I love you too, and I will always love you. Also, know that whenever you want to talk about your feelings, no matter what it is, you can tell me.” She shakes her head, understanding, before getting back comfy.

She slowly lets her eyes close, working at blocking out every negative thought that she can as she looks towards a glorious future with Ryan.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 45: Las Vegas

ShortTrackLovin'

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March 2016 

Alan glances over at Chase with a surprised look as he sees Sarina holding his hand, heading his direction.

“Is something wrong?” Chase questions as Alan glances between the pair.

“So you’re here this weekend?” Alan asks and Sarina shakes her head yes. “I thought he let you off to go play with racecars.” She chuckles as it seemed everybody thought Sarina would be racing every week. However, that was difficult to do without any plans in place.

“No big races happening anywhere so it leaves me no choice but to hang out with him this weekend,” she answers as Chase rolls his eyes. Alan just simply smiles as he glances back at his driver, before looking over at Sarina.

“That’s a good thing. He’s less cranky when you’re around. Practice is in 20.” Alan then heads off, not giving Chase a chance to rebuttle the comment as Sarina looks over at Chase.

“Is there any truth to that?” He looks at her and shakes his head no. “Sure about that?” He then pulls her close.

“I will admit – it’s better when you’re here with me on the weekend as I don’t have to worry about you or feel lonely at all. But, I can also handle being by myself.” She smiles a little as she leans in and kisses his lips.

“But you admit that you were lonely?” A small smile forms as he shrugs his shoulders.

“Maybe…just a little…” A smirk forms on her face.

“Admit it, Chase. You love me.” He then wraps his arm around her waist as they keep walking through the garage.

“I’ve told you from day one that I love you. It was always you that wouldn’t admit it in response. However, I’m glad that you finally did.” She could only smile in response as she was glad, as well.

The weekend started off smoothly, actually much better than last weekend at Atlanta. He felt better about this week’s qualifying effort, seeing as though he’d start 13th for the race that afternoon. Although there was also a small part of him that was upset in the small mistake made to cause him to miss the top-12. But in the end, 13th was much better than 24th like the week before.

He was also pleased with how practice went, feeling good once again about his chances for the race. If he could just put together another solid day like he did in Atlanta, he’d be able to get himself a good finish.

The entire weekend seemed to go smoothly and it was soon race day as he changed into his firesuit. As he gave himself his usual final glance in the mirror, a pair of arms wrapped around him, kissing his cheek.

“I like how you’re not shy to show your affection anymore,” he offers quietly as he turns around to face her. She had to admit that she was opening up more, offering more cuddles and small kisses. Perhaps it was her trust growing him, or perhaps it was for another reason.

“I know what it feels like to be scared and worried about you,” she starts quietly. “I know what it felt like sitting in that plane, wondering if you were okay, wondering when you’d answer me back. I know how my heart stung at Daytona when you wrecked, and how much I paniced to Alan. It made me realize just how much I actually do care about you, and I want you to know that. I also know that we don’t know what tomorrow holds so I better show you how much I care now.” He could only smile in response to her comment, as he held her hands firmly with this.

“I love you and nothing will change that. But you also got to know – I’m not going anywhere so you don’t need to worry.” She smiles in agreement.

“Don’t worry – I’m not. I know that you have some things to do, like winning a championship first.” He shakes his head in agreement, before snagging another quick kiss.

The pair headed out to the gird shortly after, with Chase going through the usual driver introductions before joining Sarina, his parents and the team by the car. He had to admit that opening ceremonies were better this week than last with having a hand to hold, rather than reading a simple text message. It was also nice to give her another kiss and hug before climbing in the car.

The day started off strongly as he was right in having another solid car this weekend. Throughout the race, he kept himself solidly in position for another strong finish.

Then it happened.

Matt Kenseth would get a little loose after trying to get underneath Martin Truex Jr. to pass him, sliding up across the track, right in the path of Chase’s No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Crunch and just like that, the front end of his car was smashed.

He would climb from the car, making the mandatory trip to the infield care center. After getting checked out, he would walk out of the center to the sea of reporters. Taking a deep breath, there as no easy way to say his disappointment.

“Just disappointed, what a fast race car, I appreciate everybody working hard,” he told the reporters. “I feel like we made a lot of gains this weekend. Just a terrible job on my behalf. That is pitiful. We have run three races and finished one. Just a bad job on my end. I ought to know better to miss a wreck like that.”

He then answered a couple more questions before making his way back to the team’s hauler. He heads inside, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. He heads up into the lounge, closing the door behind him. He then flops down on the couch beside Sarina, shaking his head as he puts his feet up.

“I can’t believe I ran into the back of him,” he comments out loud, catching Sarina’s attention. “I should’ve known better.”

“From what I saw live and the replay, it looked like there was no way in hell to avoid that,” Sarina starts, catching his attention. “I’m serious! That was not your fault.” Chase lets out a sigh as he figured most people would have that view. However, he also knew the actions that he took inside of the car.

“I saw him siding up and hit the brakes, and just slid right into the back of him. I should’ve kept my foot in it and tried to go around him. I should’ve went to the bottom. I could’ve gott-”

“Should have, would have and could have. You don’t know for sure as you may have still caught the corner of his car, or maybe hit him even harder. You don’t know. Stop beating yourself up. I know that you want to do well and not have days like this, but they’re not always your fault. You’ll get them next week.” He lets out a sigh as he glances down at the bottle of water. Perhaps she was right. Maybe for once, or once again, he was taking it a little too harshly.

“It still sucks.” She then wraps an arm around him and lays her head against him.

“I didn’t say that it didn’t suck. We both know it does. I’ve been in your shoes before so I understand. At least you know you have fast cars and were doing well before that happened.” He shakes his head in agreement.

*************************

“What the….?” Chase questions out loud as he reads his twitter feed. He had been randomly scrolling twitter later that night as he laid in bed and noticed some odd tweets.

“What is it?” Sarina asks as she glances over, interested. She had been focusing on playing Candy Crush but didn’t like the unease in Chase’s voice.

“Something’s happened….” He then closes his twitter app immediately, flipping to his text messages. He then sends a couple of messages out to a variety of crew guys that he had in his phone, an unease feeling taking over.

“What’s happened?” Sarina could only worry about this point without any response from Chase in regards to any of her questions.

“A couple crew guys tweeted about having to make an emergency landing in Memphis.” Sarina immediately feels the unease that Chase is feeling in hearing those words. The last time she heard words in relation to that resulted in her crashing into the ground. It also didn’t help either of them that their sabotager was still on the loose. “Okay, that was Josh (Kirk). Everybody is okay.”

“But what happened?” Chase sends another message back to Josh in relation to that, as the pair sit there waiting for a response.

“He said the pilots made the decision to make an emergency landing due to smoke in the cabin, believing there was an electrical problem. The other team plane is already on its way to pick them up from Memphis and get them home.” The pair then glance at each other, unease and worry filling them both.

“You don’t think that Harr-”

“I’m already texting Kendall, and then I’ll text Josh so he can be aware of our suspicions.” Sarina slowly shakes her head in agreement as she lays back down, setting her Ipad aside. There was no way that she could concentrate on those candies now.

“How would he access the pla-”

“The same way that he accessed my plane.” Sarina swallows a lump in her throat, realizing just how easy it seemed that this guy could make things happen.

“Why would he go after the team though?” Chase shakes his head, unsure of the answer. Though he could only wonder as to the possibilities of why this Harry Butler guy was after him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Come in!” Chase announces without glancing towards the door. He had gotten the call from the front desk about Kendall coming to see him, so he knew that it was her at the door. He was interested to see her in regards to what had happened a couple days ago.

“Mr. Elliott, it’s nice to see you – despite the circumstances,” she states as he takes his eyes off of the computer screen to focus on the FBI Agent. The notes from Alan could wait till later.

“It’s nice to see you as well. I assume that you have some answers?” She smiles and shakes her head yes. She knew that Chase wasn’t one to mess around when it came to the times that she came to see him. He wanted his information and reasons why, with nothing else interfering.

“I do. Your suspicions regarding the team plane were correct. Upon review by the mechanics, there was some unauthorized work done to the electrical system that could’ve resulted in a major fire if not for the pilots landing when they did. We were also able to match the finger prints on the plane to those on yours.” Chase felt himself freeze upon hearing those words. That flight could’ve meant serious trouble for everybody. Now he seriously wanted to know the meaning behind this guy’s motive.

“I don’t get why someone would go after me, and then the team plan-”

“Perhaps your girlfriend is the target and he thought that she’d be on the plane. Perhaps you are the target. Could you think of any reason that someone would go after you?” Chase shakes his head no as it seemed beyond imagination. “There’s also the possibility that his motive could be beyond you, in relation to your boss or someone else.”

“Whatever the motive, it’s been a whole month now since my accident and you haven’t caught him. He’s now put the lives of all our crew members in danger with his latest stunt. When does this end?” She understood his impatience with the situation, given everything that was at stake.

“We are heightening the search in putting more officers on the case, and more eyes on finding him. Normally when we do that, it doesn’t take much longer than that. Furthermore, every driver and team plane that is connected to this tea-”

“You should also include anybody at JR Motorsports as they have a close affiliation with us.” She flips open her notebook, making a note.

“Okay. Every driver and team plane that is connected to Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports will have its own security guard. You and Sarina will still have your own guards. I am also putting a request for your boss, as well each driver on both teams to have a guard at all times. We don’t know who the target is so I want to cover all bases.” Chase shakes his head in approval. “Do you have any questions, or additional requests?”

“Sarina is doing her own late model racing across the country with Ricky Turner and a couple other guys. That involves doing some flying outside of what she does with me. I want to make sure that she’s protected on all basis.” Kendall shakes her head in regards to the concern.

“I would advise working it out to use a private plane at all costs to eliminate the risk. I would also make sure that the private plane you use, whether within HMS or your own means or a friends, has a good security detail to not take any chances.” Chase shakes his head, accepting.

Sarina and Ricky wouldn’t accept a shift on the racing schedule, especially after the win to start the year, despite the threat over their heads. They were racers – they were going to do whatever it took to go racing, and wouldn’t accept anything else. He knew that he could try and tell them no as the boss, but it wouldn’t have them pleased and he didn’t want to do that. Plus, why should they have to change their schedule due to this?

However, he knew how much he found himself worrying when she made the trip to Kern County. He remembered the nerves in hearing about her flight being delayed. Wit the advice from the agent and some thoughts in mind, he knew that there’d be a couple phone calls to be made.

 

The Hendrick Motorsports plane deal – they actually had to make an emergency landing flying home from Las Vegas in Memphis. It was due to a mechanical issue causing the smoke in the cabin, not a sabotage issue as the story describes though.

 

As soon as I heard about it, though, well….the gears started turning……

Falling Deeper – Chapter 6: The Appearance

I don’t want to live this life
I don’t want to say goodbye
With you I wanna spend
The rest of my life

 

Jimmie let out a sigh as he picked up the last pair of pants off of the bed, folded them and placed them in the suitcase. He then glanced up at Candiss, shaking his head as he looked back down at the bed.

“I wish I could just cancel this appearance,” he comments out loud as he zips the bag up. “I want to stay with you.” She smiles as it was sweet to hear him say that, and she agreed with the sentiment.

When they originally started going together, she didn’t mind the time apart as she was the independent type. However, she had grown quite used to laying in his arms and being cuddled, and it made her feel better than she had ever felt before. Perhaps it was finding the lack of love that she had been missing as a child, perhaps it was simply the connection they’d built. Regardless, she didn’t want him to leave either.

“I know, but you know that you have to do this,” she tells him. “Got to keep the sponsors happy so they can pay for that car to go vroom vroom.” He smiles at her comment as he sits down on the bed beside her.

“Okay, fine. I wish that you could come with me then.” Normally when it came to appearances, she would travel with him as she wasn’t up to much else lately. She’d do the odd shift at the restaurant, but her life saw her focused on him now. This upcoming weekend was different, though.

“I wish I could go with you, but Letty and Dom have been planning this trip to come down here for awhile. It wouldn’t be fair to last minute cancel on them, again.” Jimmie shook his head in agreement. He knew that he couldn’t hog Candiss constantly to himself as she needed time with her other friends.

There was also a purpose to the trip from Letty and Dom. They had worked out more details in how to host the race wars event, from what rules they needed to how to make sure things went smoothly. Now it was just about location scouting and date deciding. They had some ideas in mind, in which they wanted Candiss’ opinion.

She also wanted to show them a couple back road locations throughout North Carolina that she had gotten used to street racing on to see if they’d work for that type of event.

“Well then at least you’re going to have some comfy while I’m just stuck with myself and Amy,” he states as Candiss smiles. She didn’t mind Amy as she was great at her job in doing Jimmie’s PR and keeping his schedule in line.

“Ah come on, Amy isn’t that bad,” she offers. “She shares some good jokes, and you have a nice friendship. It’s better than being totally alone.” He knew that she was right, but it wasn’t the same.

“But I can’t do this and love every drop of it…” He then leans in and kisses her lips lightly. “There’s nothing like the taste of your lips, that look in your eyes, and the slender body that I am proud to hold every night.” He then wraps his arms around her, kissing her lips once again,

“I also have no complaints about you either…” She lets herself indulge in the kiss for awhile, before pushing him back away from her. “We can’t do that right now. You have a flight to ca-”

“I can dela-”

“You can’t be late for your first appearance, either. I want this as bad as you do, but you know that you need to leave now.” He then lets out a sigh knowing that she’s right as he stands straight up.

“You’re no fun!” He then checks over the suitcase once again, before picking it up off of the bed. He then heads out of the bedsroom, going down the stairs as she follows him each step of the way. She stops at he bottom step as he grabs his shoes, slipping them on followed by a sweater.

“Be safe. Text me once you land, and call me each night. Be good and stay out of trouble. These two days will be over before you know it.” He looks back at her, hoping that she was right in those words as he could only believe at this point that they’d be painful and last forever.

“Don’t miss my call each night. I love you.” He then walks over for a final kiss.

“I love you, too. I’ll be sure to stay out of trouble, and keep the house in one piec-”

“Say that you’ll marry me.” Her jaw then drops at his comment as he focuses in on her eyes. “Say that you’ll marry me and we can be together for happily ever after.”

“Jimmie….” He then grabs both of his hands with hers.

“These past couple of weeks, we’ve continued to grow even closer. When you confessed your latest secret, it made me realize just how much I love you. It also made me realize that I never want to be without you. I always want to be by your side, comforting you, loving you – everything possible. I don’t want to say goodbye. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and there’s only one thing that I need to hear to make that possible.”

She knew that they were not quite a year into being a couple, but there was something about the love that they had for each other. She also knew that after everything they went through together, she couldn’t see herself with someone else.

While she was Ms. Independent and always believed that she’d be a single lady doing her own thing, she knew that was set to change with the next word out of her mouth.

“There’s only one answer that I could ever give you, but I think you know that already,” she tells him as she pulls him back close, kissing his lips once again. “Of course I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

The End

 

I know this ended off rather quicker than expected, but that is just the direction that the story took me. I’ve contemplated writing a sequel directly to this, but I’m not exactly sure the direction that Ron Malec sequel “Back to Square One” is set to take yet.  

So with that said, there will be no direct Jimmie/Candiss sequel, but the pair will probably come up in Ron’s solo story.

Chasing The Love – Chapter 108: XFINITY Race

It seemed just like a blink of an eye, cup qualifying was over and it was time for the XFINITY event that evening. Alyssa headed to the stage for driver introductions, while Chase stood by her car waiting for her. He had done solidly in qualifying, set to start sixth the next night.

Though he was more focused at this point on Alyssa’s night. With her struggles and disappointment thus far during the day, he hoped that the race worked out in her favor.

“Knowing my son like I do, you already have something worked out for Sunday, right?” he hears and smiles as he glances at his mom, giving her a simple shake of the head yes. It seemed all that everyone wanted to discuss with him was his plans for Alyssa’s birthday.

“The day is all planned out, along with her gift,” he states as Cindy looks at him intrigued.

“Can a mother know what the gift is?” He shrugs his shoulders as he thinks it over. It wasn’t something that he had to keep secret as it wasn’t dirty, but he didn’t want to share details either.

“You’ll find out once she has the gift. I don’t want to tell anybody before hand.” Cindy shakes her head, understanding. She trusted her son’s judgment.

“I hope she loves it, but I have a feeling that she will. You probably also have a special day planned, too.” Chase shakes his head yes, still crossing his fingers that everything went as planned.

“As long as the morning goes well and she listens to her dad, it should work out great.” Cindy smiles as she knew there wouldn’t be any issues about Alyssa listening to her father, in being a daddy’s girl.

“It’ll be fine. Just relax and enjoy it, okay?” He smiles as he watches her head down their way.

“As long as she has a good night on track tonight, that’s all that matters right now.”

While the pair united on pit road, shared a couple of laughs before hanging out the car as she did a couple interviews, a pair of eyes glanced over their way, thinking.

“You’re watching them….” Ella comments out loud, catching her little brother’s attention. “I can tell by your eyes. Are you still missing her?” Leo glances down as he thinks it over. It was hard to explain as it wasn’t the typical feelings that you have after a break-up.

“There’s a small part of me that is still heartbroken, but also part of me that is relieved,” he tries to explain. “It just wasn’t working out how either of us thought it would or wanted. Its better that we did things like we did rather than tried to keep it going and ended up hurting each other worse in the end. I’m also glad that she’s happy and has that connection with Chase. I also know that it’ll come eventually for me.” Ella smiles a little as she glances down towards the pair. She had been on the fence originally about their relationship, but it seemed that Chase and Alyssa went together just like peanut butter and jelly.

“So why are you glancing down at them watching?” Leo takes a deep breath as he thinks it over. It was easy to tell in his mind why he was thinking about her as he couldn’t get their recent conversation out of his mind.

“We had a recent conversation together. She wanted to know why we hadn’t been having those friendly moments together, like friends, like we agreed. I told her that it’s tough right now as I’m still heartbroken a little. I told her that it may get better in time.” He takes another glance down at her before looking at his sister. “I’m debating whether right now is the right time, or whether I should wait.”

“You don’t want to do it too soon and make it hurt worse for yourself. You also don’t want to try to push it incase some part of you is saying that it’ll turn into rekindling the magic once again. Therefore, you should wait until the time is absolutely right. Take another couple of weeks and make sure you’re absolutely comfortable.” Leo shakes his head, knowing that his sister was probably right.

The race that night turned out to be one of those barn-burner events that saw everybody on the edge of their seats, watching the battle in the final 20 laps between Alyssa, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

Alyssa entered the final lap running in the second spot behind Joey, having the faster car. It was just about finding the quicker line to get by him. They both took the same line through turns one and two, which allowed her to close the gap down the backstretch.

The pair went into the three and four – Joey taking the bottom, Alyssa taking the top. As they came up off of the corner, Joey came up across her bottom, but she quickly turned the car dead left, going underneath him.

It was a drag race right to the checkered flag, with Alyssa edging him out by a mere purple bumper to snag her third victory of the season.

The team immediately headed to victory lane, with Alyssa joining them after doing a burn-out on the front stretch. She would climb out of the car, arms pumped in the air, with confetti and all sorts of beverages flying every direction on to her.

She then climbed down, big smile on her face, as Chase reached her first, immediately wrapping his arms around her and giving her a kiss.

“That’s how you come back after struggling all day!” He lets out afterwards. “I told you that you had nothing to worry about.” She could only smile in return.

“I guess you were right after all as that car was so fast, I couldn’t believe it,” she offers in response. She then grabs one of the cowboy hats, slipping it on her head. “Looks like you get a little cowgirl to celebrate with tonight.”

“That look fits you, actually.”  He then lets her go as she does her series of post-race interviews for TV and radio. However, he made sure to be right by her side as she went through the motions of the photos on stage afterwards. They also included their favourite usual final photo, as he stood behind her, arms wrapped around her, putting his head on her shoulder. After the photographers were done, Chase pulled out his phone to take a selfie. “I think this is the cutest one to date.”

“That’s what you say every time.” Chase smiles as he goes through, making it his background.

“I absolutely mean it this time, though. You make one very cute cowgirl.” She simply smiles as she twirls around before leaning in for another kiss.

“I guess that means you have to win tomorrow night to match me.” Chase grins as he already had that plan in mind. Texas had treated him well plenty of times in the past, and he wasn’t about to change his ways this year.

“Are you guys done being all flirty so we can go to the Waffle House together?” Ryan questions, catching their attention. The pair smiles as they see Ryan and Karsyn standing there together.

“Are you guys to finally admit that you look cute together and I was right playing cupid?” Chase asks as Ryan just smiles, placing a kiss on Karsyn’s cheek. “Yep, totally adorable.”

“Not as adorable as you though,” Alyssa states. “Are you going to let me get changed first, though?” Ryan thinks it over, shaking his head no as Karsyn and Chase look at him surprised. “Well this’ll be an odd trip to the waffle house.”

“It wouldn’t be the first though.” She shakes her head in agreement.

“You got five minutes girly – no less, no more,” Karsyn agrees as they head back to the motorcoach lot. “Considering that we’re buying since you won, I suggest you agree to those terms.”

“We’ll be ready,” Chase tells her as they split, heading into their motorcoach. Alyssa makes her way to the back, quickly changing, before returning in a t-shirt and jeans. “You’re missing something.” He then places the hat back on her head with a smile.

“Let me guess – I have to wear this hat for the rest of the weekend?” Alyssa asks and Chase simply smiles and shakes his head yes.

“It makes you look so much cuter than you already are.” She then rolls her eyes as the pair head out, meeting up with Ryan and Karsyn.

The night out turned into a fun night, with laughs and jokes as always. As they got done, Chase made a quick trip to the washroom while Karsyn agreed to pay the bill. That left Ryan and Alyssa heading outside first together.

“That move you pulled on Joey was awesome,” Ryan compliments her as she looks over with a smile.

“They always say that you should go where they ain’t and that’s what I did,” she tells him as she thinks over the advice that Cameron gave her. “Can I ask you som-”

“I’m not divulge a single detail about your birthday, not that I know anything.” A smirk forms on her face as she could see right through that. There were obviously plans in place for her birthday from her dad and Chase, and Ryan knew about them.

“Not even a single clue since I kicked your ass tonight?” Ryan laughs and shakes his head no.

“If anything, you should’ve let me win so you could get a clue.” She then looks at him surprised.

“Hell no!” He then laughs as he keeps his eyes on her.

“I’m not telling you, sorry. You’re going to just have to wait and see, but I can promise that you’ll enjoy yourself.” She smiles as she knew that he was right.

Her dad and Chase hadn’t ever steered her in the wrong direction before.