Moving Forward – Chapter 28: “Let me focus!”

It seemed the racing season was going by quicker than normal as the month of August was set to come to a close in just over a week. In the same breath, the wedding plans were coming together just as quickly.

Every direction which Dale turned, there was something there for the wedding. Marie wanted him to have an equal say in the wedding, even the general colors and wedding cake design which was normally a girl thing only. He found himself opening folders on a daily basis over the past couple of weeks, choosing and signing off pieces.

That day, it was finalizing the wedding invitations after they spent the past three weeks putting together the guest list.

Closing the book, he wondered whether all the work was worth it. He loved Marie, she loved him, and they loved their daughters – what did it matter if they were truly married? Secondly, being the royal factor, it just seemed like too much work. He hadn’t even read the procedure book yet, but found himself signing on stuff for the big day when they made the announcement.

He then noticed the sticky note that had fallen off, picking it up and reading it.

“Have you told your groomsmen? When are you going to tell them?” He reads out loud. “I don’t want to tell the girls before you tell the guys. We should figure out a time. We should also tell Alyssa about it, too.”

He then grabs a pen and scribbles on the note, messy as possible that the date was up to her before sticking it inside of the folder.

As he closed the folder, he took a deep breath, reopening it. He removed the note, taking another piece of paper and writing out his instructions neatly before reinserting. It wasn’t fair for her to have that messy original note.

It was supposed to be easy planning a wedding. It was supposed to just come together naturally. So why was he getting frustrated over the smallest thing the past couple of days?

Glancing at the notes on the other side of the desk from Greg, he didn’t need to look any further. The past couple of months the on-track results hadn’t gone as they wanted. Between bad luck and struggling to get the car handling and quick, it seemed nothing was going their way. While they opened the year strong with some wins, they hadn’t done anything in the past couple of months.

With the Chase just a month away, it was easy to see where his frustrations were coming from. He wanted to find a way to improve performance on the track, and due to the lack of performance, it was blending into the rest of his life. No wonder he had flipped on Regan earlier that week when he asked a simple question.

He felt bad that he had spent all day working on other things for JR Motorsports and wedding business that he hadn’t looked at Greg’s set-up notes yet to offer some feedback before tomorrow’s meeting.

Taking a deep breath, he knew he couldn’t keep doing things like he was. There needed to be a change, and he had an idea.

He went through the rest of the day as normal – went through Greg’s note and a couple more business stuff before heading home. When he got home, he dropped the folders in the office as Marie had asked him to do previously. He went through playing with the girls, before having dinner together as a family. He bathed Alyssa and Elsa both that night, before reading a bedtime story to Alyssa as Marie gave Elsa her bedtime feeding. Once it was all said and done and both girls were in bed, it was time for the parents to have some time to themselves.

He watches as Marie walks into the office, picking up the folders with her eyes landing on the sticky note.

“Are you sure that I can choose the day that the girls find out and you can tell your guys?” She double checks and he shakes his head yes as he flops back in the chair. “Okay. I may do a girls night early next week then since we need to get shopping for the dresses, and working out everything. That way you can tell the guys and have time to sho-”

“We each just need to get a tux, and a matching handkerchief to the wedding theme color,” he cuts her off. “I’m sure we can do that even right close to the wedding.” She then glances over, surprised by his response. What happened to making sure everything was well in order way in advance of the wedding?

“Are you sure you want to chance leaving it late, though? What about what we talked about? I don’t want things going affray because someone forgot to go sho-”

“Stop your worries about the big day, and realize everything will come together nicely no matter what, even if some things in the planning don’t go as you want. It’ll be fine, Marie.” She then shakes her head accepting as she looks back into the folder. “Why are you obsessed with the planning anyway?”

“Because I love you so much, and I want it to be perfect. I want it to just go the way I want.” He then grabs her hand and pulls her close to him.

“It will go just the way you want. I think what’s happening here is you’re putting too much pressure on yourself right now. You need to relax, and realize it’ll come together nicely. We’ve decided the big things so the small things can come together slo-”

“I haven’t bought a dress ye-”

“You’ll look beautiful in anyth-”

“But I want to look perfect on my day!” She then takes a deep breath as she sits on his knee. “Maybe I am getting a little carried away.” He then smiles as he rubs her back.

“It’s okay. At least you have me to keep bridezilla in line, right?” She then laughs and shakes her head yes. “The main reason I wanted to talk to you, though, is important actually. The past couple of months, you may haven noticed the on-track performance has, well, sucked. With the Chase just around the corner, I was hoping I could get a break from the wedding business to focus solely on raci-”

“Oh, so you’re blaming your poor results on my bridezilla antics?” She then stands up and walks away from him, before turning to face him. “That’s just gonna make me great with your fans.” He then takes a deep breath, resisting the urge to yell back at her in response, even if partially true. The wedding was a bit of a distraction, to be honest.

“I didn’t say that, did I? I just want to be able to get everything perfect with Greg before the Chase starts, and keep it perfect throughout the entire 10 races. I want to be able to concentrate more on everything rather than worrying about other things. I was hoping that you’d understand.” She then lets out a sigh as she glances over towards the stack, before looking back at him. Maybe she had gotten carried away too much.

“Seeing as how the important decisions are made, I am fully capable of doing that for you. Besides, I want you to do the best job that you can on track anyway and if this helps, then I’m a team player. That just means you better be celebrating in November.” He then smiles as he spins around in the chair quickly, celebrating his small victory.

“I’ll do the best that I can. I appreciate this – I really do.” He then pulls her back close. “And I promise you after homestead in November, I will finish up the last minute decisions that you want to run by me, make sure to go shopping with the guys, buy your rin-”

“You don’t have to do that.” He then looks at her full of shock. “I know what you’re like around jewel-”

“I can handle this, in my own way, for you. I also promise, too if you’d let me finish, that I’ll read the procedure book and have it down pat.” She then smiles as she leans in and kisses his lips.

“You have yourself a deal, Mr. Earnhardt.” She then picks up the folders and goes to leave the office.

“Where are you going with those?” She then glances back at him with a smile.

“They’re going in my sole office with my royal stuff, so that way they’re out of your hair so you can focus. I want to make sure you’re not distracted at all so you can get the job done.” He then smiles as he watches her walk away, before glancing at his phone.

He knew it’d be an early night since Greg wanted to meet with him at the shop at 9am to start on their plan to get back on track.

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