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.

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