Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapter 30: Date Planning

LoveWorkAComboOfMadness

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Dale let out a sigh as he thought things over.

He had completed the first step in getting her to agree to a date on Thursday. Now it was just a matter of planning the perfect date to win her over.

He had some ideas of his own, but wasn’t sure which to go with. Of course, that meant needing to consult a friend for advice. However, he knew that he had to watch who he chose to speak to considering the details at hand. Their relationship was meant to currently be a secret, meaning that nobody was supposed to know.

Thinking over the possibilities, it was a question of who could keep the secret the best. The thought process didn’t last long as he came to the conclusion. He thought about going to the boss, but was worried that Rick would tell him old school train of thought. The second person on the list, though, seemed perfect.

This was someone that he had discussed the relationship details with previously, and someone that he had trusted for a long time. Considering that person kept quiet before, he believed that they’d do the same once again.

Once he was done breakfast that morning, he sent a quick text to T.J. asking for him to stop by the motorcoach to chat. The message caught the spotter off guard, but he simply accepted. About 20 minutes later, he had arrived.

“So what’s on your mind?” T.J. asks without any hesitation as he sits down on the couch.

“Angelica,” Dale answers as he sits across from the spotter. An immediate smile forms on T.J.’s face as he knew about the feelings Dale had for the crew chief, and had seen the glances from her in return.

“I know you still have a crush on her, and I know that you want to make it work. However, she told you that she wanted time to get to kno-”

“She told me Friday that she couldn’t bare to keep things where they were any longer and she wanted to take the next step. She wanted to go forth in planning a date next Thursday to see how things go. If it goes well, we’ll move forward. She also added that she wants to keep things quiet right now.” T.J. couldn’t contain himself as the awes escaped his lips in hearing the juicy details. It was great to hear that things were in a positive direction for the pair.

“That’s great – honestly. So did you just call me here so you could tell someone and brag?” Dale chuckles and shakes his head no. He honestly wished it was that easy.

“I’m trying to figure out the best way to go about our date. She’s meeting at my place on Thursday night once she’s done at the shop. I told her to dress causal.” The request seemed valid, given that Dale wasn’t the type to get dressy himself often. Now it was just a matter of finding the perfect fancy date to impress her, but not out of their comfort zones.

“So what did you have in mind?” Dale rummaged over the four or five ideas in his mind, thinking what could work best. Some of them seemed completely silly, others seemed a little more valid. Which would he share first?

“They say to rekindle love that you need to go back to where it began. For us, it sort of took it’s course after we went go-karting. I was thinking of a home cooked meal, casual go-karting trip out, and then desert together afterwards.” T.J. smiled as it seemed simple enough, but yet perfect. It also brought back memories of the story that Dale had told him a couple weeks ago.

“That seems good and fitting. Perhaps letting her win would make things even better.” Dale then gives his spotter a surprise glance at the comment. No matter what type of race it was, whether NASCAR or go-karts, he wasn’t the type to back down. “It’ll make her extra happy.”

“I’m not going to be one of those guys that does that. Besides, it wasn’t winning that got her attention originally.” T.J. shakes his head, agreeing.

“Right – you wrecked her. I don’t think that’s the best way to pick up a girl.” Dale shrugs his shoulder, as it had worked the first time. Though he knew that T.J. was right and it was why going into the night, he was planning on a competitive, but safe round of go-karting. “What’s your second idea?”

“Another thing that people always say is a simple night gives you the chance to talk, and perhaps that’s what we need. We need the time to be more honest to each other about what happened, and why it’s not going to turn out the same. That’s why I thought about doing the meal in, but not going out afterwards.” T.J. thought it over and believed that it could also work. It was a break in communication and feelings that caused the break-up before. Perhaps some reassurance with her could bring everything back closer together.

“But are you ready for that quite yet? Are you both ready to have that type of conversation? It just seems that it worked in helping you find common ground, but what if you throw it away by pushing too hard too soon?” Dale knew that was a possibility, and it was why the worry lingered in his mind. Hence the belief to go with the other idea.

“That’s what I’m debating. That’s why I called you.”

“I can’t make that call for you. I don’t know what you’re thinking or what she is thinking. All I can tell you is that only you both know the answer.”

While Dale was working on details surrounding the date, Angelica was busy in the garage going over her final check list before the race. Glancing over the car and the pit box, it seemed everything was in place. Now if only everything went right during the day it’d be perfect.

Denny Hamlin noticed the crew chief in the garage by herself, glancing at her checklist and back at the car. He also noticed the binder that wasn’t far from her that she kept flipping through at times.

He wanted to follow the advice from his teammates. Getting their honest take on everything that happened caused him to spend some time reflecting on his behavior. It was during that time that he realized just how big of a douche he was being and how things needed to change.

He started off by texting his teammates to thank them for the wake-up call, followed by a call to Kendra.

He apologized for things that had happened between them, and asked for her to be civil for their daughter’s sake. Unfortunately, Kendra didn’t have the best response in return, telling him that she wanted nothing to do with the mistake of a daughter. In that moment he felt rage, but knew that wouldn’t help the situation. so instead he simply accepted her reasoning, explained why she was wrong and told her that if she ever changed her mind, she was welcome to visit.

The only person he had yet to talk to Angelica, and perhaps it was because it worried him the most.

While he had screwed up more majorly with Kendra, his feelings didn’t feel hurt in rejection. Angelica, though, was a different story. He missed their friendship and the times that they had spent joking around. He missed her random text messages, or how she’d sneak up behind him on her way by his stall.

He had planned on talking to her sooner in the weekend, however it seemed each time he approached her, she was busy or he got too nervous and bolted. However, standing there in the empty stall that morning, he knew that he couldn’t let nerves control his actions anymore.

“Angelica?” He calls out, catching her attention as she looks up from her clipboard.  She immediately rolls her eyes before allowing them to drop back down at the board below her.

“What do you want, Hamlin?” She questions in response as he takes a deep breath. There was anger laced in that tone, as well as annoyance. It was certainly not the way he wanted to start off things.

“I wanted to talk to you about things.” She then glances back up with a surprised glance, letting out a small laugh.

“What’s to say that I actually want to speak to you?” A small smile forms on his face as the perfect response forms in his mind. He had to blame their goofy side together for this one.

“You’re speaking to me righ-”

“That doesn’t mean that I want to talk to you, or that I am going to stay here much longer to talk to you.” He freezes upon his response, getting the feeling to kick himself in the ass. Perhaps he had chosen the wrong way to respond.

“I totally understand if you don’t want to talk, however I want you to hear me out, please. I want to apologize. I acted like a total jackass when it came to you. I shouldn’t have said anything. I shouldn’t have allowed my jealousy to do what I did. I shouldn’t have judged you or any of that. I should’ve also taken your advice sooner in realizing what I was doing, and things with Kendra. I’m sorry, Angelica, from the bottom of my heart. I feel terrible for everything and would take it back in a second if I could.” Angelica wanted to keep the bitterness that she had formed, still anger at what had happened. However, she found herself opening up with each bit that he told her.

“Honestly?” He shakes his head yes.

“Honestly. It took a bit of a reality check from Matt and Kyle, but I realize just how much of an ass I was. So I’m here apologizing. I understand if you don’t accept it, but I would appreciate if you did. I miss our fun times.” A small smile forms on her face.

“We do have some fun together, don’t we?” He shakes his head yes, once again. “I’ll give you a chance, Denny. I appreciate the apology and honesty. I’m glad to see that they clued it in for you. Maybe we can get back to the friends that we were. But, promise me – no more bullshit!” Denny could only smile in hearing her response. It was nice to have his friend back.

“That’s a promise. I’m done with causing trouble.” She shakes her head no immediately.

“I don’t believe that as someone has to pick on Joey for us all.”

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