The rest of the week had appeared to go smoothly, and before the team knew it, they were off to the race track once again.
This week – it was Talladega.
Jimmie knew the game plan for practice as they did the same thing every year. Single-car runs throughout all the practices in an effort to get the car as fast and comfortable as possible. The theory was less risk then pack packaging, and Jimmie knew how to draft anyway.
However, he still took the same approach in meeting with Chad prior to the first session. He figured it’d be a good time to address other concerns.
“I want to talk you about Greenlee actually,” Jimmie starts, causing Chad to glance over confused. He was already baffled as to why they had met up with plan already in mind, but now was hearing this? He thought things were clear with their new employee. “I just have some concerns about her, if you may.”
“Concerns?” Chad questions, intrigued by his driver’s comments. He had to admit that he had concerns as well, hence the questions asked on Tuesday. “Why weren’t they expressed when I was questioning her?” Jimmie knew that he should’ve said something, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that – especially with Ron present.
“Because I was the one who suggested to Ron to talk to her about the job.” Chad found himself being even more surprised by the minute. He thought the surprises were over when everything came out of the box last year.
“So you suggested her for the position even with concerns? You also didn’t have the heart to say something in front of Malec about these concerns, either. So what the hell are they?” Jimmie knew that he was pegging Chad’s frustration as the crew chief probably wanted to focus on his notes, as always. Perhaps he should’ve discussed this at a different time.
“Ron detailed her background and everything that happened in Pine Valley – per her words. However, I have to wonder if there’s something else going on there. What if something else happened that caused her to run away?” Chad knew that it was a risk in accepting Greenlee already based on her street racing past – but that was cleared by the discussion. He also knew there was a risk based on what Jimmie had just said.
“I’m well aware of that risk and concern, Jimmie. Why do you think I basically said to Ron that his ass is on the line if this doesn’t go according to plan?” Jimmie remembered those words clearly. It was why he had swallowed a mouthful of empty concern on Tuesday.
“But if she doesn’t say something, then how is he to kno-”
“If there was a doubt of worry or thought of your nature in his mind, he shouldn’t have taken the chance that he took. It’s simple as that, Jimmie. You know that we’re each responsible for our actions and who we bring into this team. Rick also made it perfectly clear he wasn’t going to deal with more crap after what happened last year.” Jimmie lets out a sigh, remembering that discussion with Rick very well. He was just glad that he wasn’t fired on the spot.
“Trust me, I remember the discussion. I just wanted to see your thoughts on my thought, that’s all.” Chad understood that as the pair was close and shared everything. However, the one person missing from the discussion was important, too.
“What about Ron? Did you ever feel the need to question him about this concern?” Jimmie knew the answer to that, clearly. Hence why he was having this conversation now while Ron was busy with the crew in the garage.
“I asked him about intentions a couple times already to see where things stood. He didn’t say anything that stuck out. However, it still rang in my mind with the professional connection now. I also, though, didn’t come out and say it as much as I could’ve, to be honest. I may have darted around the bush a little.” Chad understood that, as he knew it’d be tough to directly accuse a friend.
“Well if these concerns are so darting and mind consuming, perhaps you should stop playing games. The only way things are figured out is by finding out answers.” Jimmie knew that Chad was right, but he didn’t know if he could do that.
“I’ll keep that in mind. I better go get changed so we’re ready for practice.” Chad easily accepted as he watched his driver head off with ease.
He was set to return to his work when the conversation found itself replaying in his mind. With no way to block out the thoughts, and wanting to focus on his work, he pulled out his phone and texted Dom.
Since everything that happened, everybody on the team had kept in contact with Dom as part of the friendship grown through everything. Chad knew that Dom had the right connections to people who could get answers, without giving away the reasoning why. If there was anything to worry about, this was the way to handle it.
Once the text was sent and plan was in motion, the crew chief was able to go through the rest of the day with ease, getting the required work done. Practice was as boring as usual, but they got the answers that they needed. Based on what they had done, Chad felt confident that they’d be up front come the final stages of the race.
Meanwhile, Ron had no issue in this weekend including less work than a normal weekend. It gave him more time to spend with Greenlee, explaining things about a race weekend.
He had to admit that it was nice to catch up more with her and spend time with her again. He had honestly forgotten about how strong their chemistry was when they were playing around on the streets.
Truth be told, it was also a good distraction. In the past months, his quiet time at the track resulted in him being worried of a repeat of before or consumed in his own thoughts of fear and wonder. Now, though, he had something else for his mind to focus on – a beautiful young lady – and found himself being able to put the past further away, for now.
Going through the days avoiding it wouldn’t help, he knew that. He knew there’d be a day where he’d have to face these feelings head on. However, for now, that day wouldn’t be today.